Figuring out how to tell a company you have another offer can seem a bit uncomfortable at first. For many job-seekers, they fear that doing this will make it seem like they’re playing hardball or being rude.
But it doesn’t have to be that way! This guide will teach you how to inform a potential employer about another offer in a way that’s professional and gives you a chance of receiving a better offer in return.
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The Benefits of Telling a Potential Employer That You Have Another Offer
When you’re applying for multiple jobs, you may encounter a situation where you get an offer from one company while going through the hiring process from another. While you could end your job search and accept it, it might pay to wait it out and tell the potential employer you have another offer.
Here are a few reasons why.
You Might Be Able to Get a Better Offer
The best-case scenario when telling a potential employer you have another offer is that they offer you something better!
When you’re fielding another offer, it shows that you’re in high demand. There are other companies interested in bringing you on, and they could even be a direct competitor of the potential employer you’re interviewing for now. For you, it’s the perfect storm of competition that makes it clear you’re a compelling candidate.
At this point in the process, hiring managers likely know a great deal about your capabilities. You’re still in the running, and the company might have big plans for you. Not only that, but they’ve invested time and money in getting you through the hiring process.
Many aren’t willing to let you go that easy, especially not to another company in the same field. As a result, you could get a fantastic offer in return.
From a job seeker’s standpoint, it puts you in a terrific position. That other job offer acts as a bargaining chip, and you automatically gain more attention. The knowledge of that offer is often enough to compel potential employers to propose a better package themselves.
There are no guarantees, but a potential employer may respond to that knowledge of a second offer by putting a better offer on the table. It could lead to a higher salary, better benefits, and more.
It Could Result in You Getting Hired Faster
Another perk of telling a company you have another offer is that it could speed up the hiring process.
Hiring managers know that job-seekers typically spend months trying to get a job. Time is money, and many candidates prefer to accept the first suitable offer they get. While it’s ideal to wait for an offer you feel is right for you, there’s no guarantee that a perfect opportunity will arise in your time frame. That’s why an actual offer that’s officially on the table is always taken seriously by job-seekers.
Many companies will see that other offer as a risk of losing a great candidate. They understand that time is of the essence, and continuing with a lengthy hiring process could make you accept the other offer.
How a potential employer responds depends on what they think you can bring to the company and how far along you are in the process. If the hiring manager is down to only a few candidates, losing a great prospect at this stage could be a big deal.
If the company is truly interested in hiring you, they may extend an offer much quicker to avoid losing you.
How to Tell a Company You Have Another Offer
If you have to tell a potential employer that you have another offer, consider yourself lucky. You’re in a fantastic place, and while it can seem awkward at first, informing them about the situation can help you.
However, you must communicate this fact strategically. Follow these tips to tell potential employers about your job offer the right way.
1. Keep Things Professional
The most important thing to remember is professionalism. Informing a company of another offer is a delicate conversation. It can backfire if you don’t approach it well, removing you entirely from the running.
Failing to maintain a polite and respectful conversation will always hurt you. Not only will it likely cause the hiring manager to pull you from consideration, but word about a lack of decorum can travel fast, ultimately affecting the other offer you already have.
The goal is to explain the situation professionally and courteously. Don’t brag or put on a pompous attitude. Be respectful of the time and effort the company has shown you this far into the hiring process.
You want to express that you’re still interested in this company and wish to continue with the hiring process. Maintaining professionalism shows how you would act in the workplace and may make the hiring manager want to extend an offer even more.
Show that you appreciate their investment in the process of finding the best candidate and are still genuinely interested in the prospect of working for them.
2. Be Transparent
When telling a company you have another offer, you must be transparent.
The worst thing you can do is to try playing mind games or manipulating either party. Hiring managers don’t have time for that, and being coy about the details of your offer only shows a lack of professionalism. Be honest and open about your thoughts.
You don’t have to lay all your cards on the table. You still want this offer to lead to better opportunities. However, you shouldn’t try to force an offer to happen by playing games or concealing the truth.
If you’re considering taking that other offer, let the hiring manager know. Express that a position at their company still interests you, but the other offer is compelling enough to consider. Talk about what makes the other offer compelling! It could be salary, bonus, PTO, job responsibilities or other perks that make the other offer more appealing to you. This could make the hiring manager take action to avoid losing you.
On the other hand, you should also let the hiring manager know if you’re more interested in working for their company if that’s the case. Doing so might seem like it removes your bargaining power, but that’s not always true. It could show that you’re invested in more than money and want to put your all into this opportunity.
Let the company know of your preference and your willingness to negotiate. That honesty and transparency go a long way.
It’s also wise to be clear about timelines. If the other offer expires within a few weeks, bring that up. Give the company that courtesy, and it could pay off handsomely.
3. Show That You’re Grateful for the Opportunity
Always express your gratitude.
Whether you stick around for a better offer or choose that first opportunity, going through the hiring process is a big deal. Companies invest in hiring the best people possible. It’s a monetary and time investment that companies don’t always get back.
Show your gratitude for their consideration. Staying in a company’s good graces is crucial regardless of what you choose to do. You never know how things will work out in the future, and you could very well end up interviewing with this same potential employer years in the future.
Leave a good impression now! It could pay off later and help you make valuable connections that further your career.
4. Don’t Use the Other Offer to Pressure Them
Our last tip is an important one. You know that having another offer is a valuable bargaining chip, but don’t try to pressure the company into making quick decisions.
It’s up to the hiring manager and the company to extend a better offer or speed up the hiring process. Some businesses won’t be able to do this, and that’s fine.
Don’t make the mistake of coming in hot and thinking that the other offer is an excuse for aggressive negotiations. That’s not the way to go about the situation, and attempting to do this will likely backfire.
Once you let the potential employer know about another offer and do your part to express continued interest, it’s out of your hands. What the company does in response is not up to you, and it’s not wise to try and force anything.
It can feel a bit awkward when telling a company you have another job offer, and how you inform them matters.
To make things a bit easier, use these examples as inspiration when crafting your email.
This first example is simple and straight to the point. The candidate is professional and doesn’t use the other offer as an excuse to make over-the-top requests. Instead, it comes off as a courtesy that hiring managers may see as a reason to make important decisions about the candidate’s potential.
“Hello Mrs. Smith,
I’m writing to update you about my job search. I recently received a job offer from another marketing firm here in Chicago.
The position at your firm still interests me greatly, and I thank you for your consideration. I’d like to continue interviews and get a hiring decision from you as well.
However, I will need to provide a final decision to the other potential employer within two weeks. I wanted to provide an update and discuss whether we’d be able to complete the remaining interviews within that timeframe.
Please let me know. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and continue discussing the opportunity at your firm. Thank you for your time.
Our second example is similar. However, this email expressly states continued interest in the position. It’s more transparent, letting the hiring manager know that they’d prefer to get a job in their company rather than the other company that made an offer.
“Dear Mr. Booker,
I’m looking forward to our interview next Wednesday for the marketing specialist position at your company. I wanted to inform you of some recent developments in my job search. I’m also in the process of interviewing with other companies and recently received an offer for a similar role.
I’m still very interested in working for your company because your company mission aligns well with my own. Please let me know if there’s anything else you need from me before our interview. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and discussing this role.
Thank you for your time,
Our final example lays the additional offer on the table. It’s one of the more transparent responses, but it still leaves the door open for the hiring manager to counteroffer or take steps to speed up the hiring process.
“Hello Mrs. Johnson,
Thank you so much for our recent interview. I enjoyed discussing the HR specialist position at your company and look forward to additional meetings in the future.
Since my last interview, I received an offer for a similar role at another firm here in Dallas. They are offering a starting salary of [OFFER AMOUNT], and I have roughly two weeks to make a final decision.
I’m more excited at the prospect of working for your organization and team. I feel that my experience would be better utilized at your company. I wanted to discuss if it was possible to complete my remaining interviews within two weeks. I’d love to get a hiring decision from you within this timeframe to make the right decision.
I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Now that you know how to tell a company you have another offer, we hope the process doesn’t seem as intimidating anymore!
As long as you approach it with professionalism and transparency, there’s nothing to be nervous about. In fact, it could end up working out in your favor.
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.