By Kimberly Lucas
he job market is turning. For some, this not only means an opportunity, but quite possibly multiple opportunities. Managing the interview process, keeping on top of where you are in the process, and ultimately, receiving multiple offers can be a stressful time in your career. The way you handle yourself during this juggling act will have a far-reaching impact on your reputation in the future. Here are some suggestions to help you navigate these tricky waters.
- Identify your objectives. It’s easy to get caught up in the “shopping” process when you are getting a lot of interest in your resume. Make sure you’ve clearly outlined the role you are looking for – including company culture, industry, scope of responsibilities, salary and benefits – before you begin your search. When the right position presents itself, be prepared to accept an offer rather than waiting for something better.
- Be up front with the recruiter or HR contact. If you are being courted by more than one company, a little bit of transparency will go a long way. Be up front with the recruiter or HR person you’re working with. Let them know that you are actively in the process with another company. You don’t have to give details, but be courteous and let them know what the timing looks like and when you expect the other company to make a decision. This could help move the process forward in your favor.
- Don’t make it a bidding war. This is not an auction, this is your career. It is simply rude to bid one offer against another. If you genuinely want to make a counter-offer then do it – but only once. Make sure you are prepared to walk away or accept the job based on the outcome. If you ask for more, then you are obliged to accept if the company comes back with what you’ve requested. Anything less will damage your reputation.
- Be respectful of your references. Your references are golden. Don’t expect your references to accept more than two phone calls per search. These are busy people and are happy to help you – unless it becomes a burden on their time.
- Evaluate each opportunity on its own merit. This goes back to knowing what you are looking for (see tip #1). The best way to evaluate opportunities is to make a spreadsheet of your criteria and then grade each position independently. This can be very revealing, especially when you are being courted heavily by one or two companies. Make sure you are being true to your career objectives and not getting caught up in the hubris of being in demand. When it comes to your career, making a decision with your heart instead of your head is a really bad idea.
And finally, don’t get a big head. We’ve been through a really bad recession and many of you have been recently unemployed. It will happen again. So remember to stay real and balance your enthusiasm. Yes, you are good at what you do, but you have to keep developing yourself as a professional. Your career is a journey, not a destination – and you haven’t yet arrived.