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Choosing between multiple job offers can be a delicate and emotionally fraught process. Here are ways to thoughtfully inform prospective employees that you may need to turn their job offer down in favor of another.
Most job applications end in rejection, but sometimes job seekers receive multiple offers and are faced with the tricky choice of choosing one and declining the rest. The challenge becomes this: how can you gracefully tell a job recruiter you have another offer without burning bridges? There are several easy ways to send appropriate notes that won’t damage relationships and we’ll explore them here.
Seekers of employment quickly get used to being turned down by the businesses they apply to. Because of this, job seekers also quickly learn to cast a wide net, sending applications to as many openings as they can find. Flip a coin enough times, after all, and eventually, you’ll land on heads.
Receiving multiple job offers after acing your job interviews can be personally validating, but also a little intimidating. With the right attitude and choice of words, though, you can identify the best position, tactfully tell recruiters about your other job offers, and even use said offers as a springboard to negotiate increases in salary or benefits.
In this blog, we’ll cover:
How to identify the best job offers
How to write emails that decline job offers
How to write emails that tell recruiters about other job offers
If you’ve received a bunch of job offers from company recruiters, the sensible impulse is to choose the best one. That said, how are you supposed to identify the job offer that’s the “best”?
The main benchmark most job seekers use when evaluating careers is the starting salary in the employment contract, but high sums aren’t the only way to evaluate a career’s profitability. When pouring over an employee contract, search for the frequency of payouts, the bonuses for commissions, policies on overtime work, pay rates during leaves of absence, etc. An ideal company salary fairly compensates you for the work you put in, pays for all your living expenses, and gives you surplus income for leisure and long-term investments. Next is the question of benefits – health insurance, stock options, retirement plans such as 401(k), and so on. Compare the special perks each job offer and prioritize the positions with generous benefits, affordable premiums, and minimal out-of-pocket expenses.
If you still can’t narrow your list of job offers, it’s worth researching how prospective companies treat their workforce. Seek out testimonials from current or former employees to learn more about management-worker relations, the potential for career advancement, diversity in the workplace, child care, union representation, the implementation of anti-harassment regulations, and so on. Every professional deserves a workplace that’s safe, welcoming, and fulfilling.
If you feel you’ve hit a wall in your career, don’t despair. Career.io’s Explore Careers tool can help you explore career paths, either within your current industry or in a completely new field, so you can create a detailed career plan to support your professional growth and get you to where you want to be. With a job search function, detailed information and data, and export advice and recommendations, you’ll be able to find your ideal role in a clear, concise, helpful manner.
The Explore Careers tool can also help you navigate multiple job offers, providing you with current salary data, industry trends, and growth potential so that you can make the best choice for you and your career goals.
If you know beyond a doubt which job offer you’ll accept, it’s important to send emails to all the other companies that reached out and inform them that you’ve decided to turn down their job offer.
If written clearly and sent promptly, job-declining emails won’t offend the HR staff who receive them. In fact, most company recruiters appreciate being told you’re going to accept another job offer since they’re free to focus their attention on other prospective employees. “Ghosting” or “leaving them hanging” does no one any favors. The language of your job-declining email, like the language of written resignation letters, should start and end with gratitude. In the first line of the email, thank your recruiter for considering you. In the next line or paragraph, politely inform them you’ll be turning down their job offer. Finally, restate your gratitude for the opportunity they offered and wish the recruiter luck finding the right candidate for the job.
Dear [Recruiter Name Here], First, I wanted to thank you for considering me for the [Job Name Here] position. I’m grateful for the time you took to answer the questions I had about [Job Responsibilities and Benefits Here].
After some consideration, I’ve decided to decline your job offer and pursue another position that better fits my goals.
I greatly appreciate all your help up to this point and hope you find the right candidate to fill your opening.
Explain why you declined
It’s not necessary, but you can tell your recruiters why you decided to go with another position. When explaining your reasoning, your language should be positive, rather than negative, in tone. “This other position fits my needs better” is an honest yet polite explanation. “Your employee contract had the worst benefits,” is needlessly antagonizing, even if it happens to be true.
If you’ve found the job with the best perks, but don’t want to commit to that offer just yet, it’s still a good idea to tell prospective employers about the other job offers you’re considering. If composed tactfully, these sorts of emails can even create opportunities to negotiate better salary offers and gain benefits not included in other job offers.
There are big differences between the languages of “competing job offers” emails and “decline a job offer” emails. The second kind of email lets you gracefully exit the job application process so recruiters can turn their gaze toward other candidates. The first kind of email, in contrast, tells recruiters that you might withdraw from the application process in the near future and encourages them to think of ways that they can sweeten the pot for you.
If you’re in the early stages of a job application – just before or after your first interview – you might want to stay silent about any parallel job offers you’ve received. At that stage of the interview process, hiring managers might assume you’re too emotionally invested in the offers of other companies and prioritize other candidates.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the recent surplus of job openings in the United States (roughly 10.3 million job openings as of October 2022) and how recruiters are trying to draw in hires by creating new incentives. Aside from perks such as flexible work hours, extra paid vacation hours, and publicly advertising their salary ranges, many HR departments have become more open to job-seekers proactively negotiating for better wages and benefits.
When you’re writing a “competing job offers” email, start by thanking the recruiter for their consideration and cite specific parts of the job offer you were excited about. In the next line or paragraph, explain that you’ve received job offers from other companies, but haven’t made a final choice yet. If the recruiter you’re contacting hasn’t messaged you with a formal job offer yet, ask if they can send you one as soon as possible. If they have sent you a job offer, but it comes up short in terms of salaries or benefits, ask if they can match the condition of the other job offers you received. Close the email off by expressing your gratitude one last time and telling the recruiter when and how to contact you on short notice.
Dear [Recruiter Name Here]
First, I wanted to express my gratitude for your input and support throughout this interview process. This [Job Name Here] position is a very exciting opportunity, and I’m interested in learning more about the [Job Responsibilities Here].
I recently received a written job offer from another [Industry Type Here] business offering an annual salary of [amount here] along with [list additional perks here]. Before making a final decision, I was hoping to talk directly with you and discuss whether [Recruiter’s business’ name here] would be able to match this company’s offer. Would you be available this week for a [communication medium here] conversation?
Thank you for your consideration,
When writing emails about job offers from other businesses, never use language that’s prideful, demanding, or accusatory; few hiring managers react well to an email that tries to browbeat or blackmail them into accelerating the interview process or sending more generous job offer. On the opposite spectrum, emails chock full of praise might come across as false or dishonest.
To avoid these extremes, the statements in your emails should always be honest and genuine in tone. When you’re telling a recruiter you’re grateful, give specific examples of what you’re grateful for.
Most modern-day conversations between recruiters and job applicants take place via email. The main advantage of an email is that recipients can craft a thoughtful response on their own time. People who receive multiple job offer emails, however, are faced with a quandary: either take time considering the pros/cons of a position and risk being passed over or send a swift response to an offer and potentially miss out on the better job.
To avoid this dilemma, examine each job offer email to see if the recruiter explained how much time you have to consider before declining or accepting the job offer. If there’s not a specific time frame (or a time frame that’s too brief), send a variant of the “competing jobs offer” email where you thank them for the offer and ask if you could have more time to reach a decision.
Don’t just pick the job offer with the highest salary; prioritize positions with excellent benefits and a proven record for treating their workers fairly.
When declining a job offer, send a message that thanks the recruiter for their time, explains why you chose another position and wishes them luck with their job candidate search.
When composing emails about competing job offers, explain why you’re interested in the recruiter’s job opening, describe the salaries and benefits offered by competitors, then tactfully ask if the recruiter’s company could match them.
Be honest, but use language that is measured and considerate; recruiters should never feel like you’re strong-arming them into upgrading their job offers.
If a job offer email doesn’t offer you a reasonable time frame to consider it, send them a quick reply asking for a deadline that better fits your needs.