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Career Advice

From Marc Cenedella
Marc Cenedella

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Salary

Should You Tell One Company You're Accepting Another Offer?

Make sure you'll be welcome if you wind up back on their doorstep.

By Lisa Vaas
FILED UNDER: Salary Negotiation.
Salary

Once you’ve received a job offer you plan to accept, one of your duties is to let your other prospects know, if you haven’t already.

How much should you tell them? Read on for advice on how to handle this delicate communication.

If It’s Early Enough, Don’t Bother

Sandra Lamb, a career expert and author of How to Write It, takes a number of factors into consideration when advising her clients on writing this type of letter or placing this type of phone call. Her first consideration is determined by where the job candidate is in the interview process. If the employer hasn’t yet picked finalists for the position, there’s no need to advise the organization, she said.

Bidding War Scenarios

Unsurprisingly, informing companies you’re taking an offer can result in a bidding war. As a rule, Lamb advises clients not to participate in the game, since “It often leaves both organizations feeling a bit manipulated,” she said.

Not all career professionals agree. Jordan Rayboy, president and CEO of Rayboy Insider Search and a member of the Pinnacle Society of executive recruiters, has no qualms about counseling his data storage professional clients to negotiate the strongest possible offer if they have multiple options.

“You have more leverage to negotiate a stronger offer if you have multiple options,” Rayboy said. “I don’t think there’s anything unethical about trying to negotiate the best possible offer for yourself.”

Firm? Put It in Writing

Job candidates typically call, rather than write, to let recruiters like Rayboy know they’ve accepted another offer. That’s because high-stakes recruiting is based on relationship building, Rayboy said.

But if a job candidate is absolutely sure about accepting an offer and nothing will change her mind, it makes sense to put it into writing, Rayboy said. Don’t share details such as why you’re taking the offer or why you’re not taking an offer from the company you’re writing to; simply state that your decision is final, ask the company to please respect your decision and to please withdraw you from the interview process.

“If you’ve got everything you possibly wanted, that’s the way to go,” he said.

If You Want to Play

Job seekers might be faced with a dilemma if they want to work for Company A, but Company B makes them an offer first. In this scenario, if you want to give Company A a chance to make a competitive offer, it makes more sense to discuss it in a phone call, Rayboy said, given you are starting a negotiation process.

He suggests that candidates in this situation say something along the lines of this: “I’ve received an offer, but you’re my No. 1 choice,” to alert them of your preference and educate them enough about the circumstances to make a decision.

Don’t reveal too much about the offer, until Company A decides to make a competitive offer. Then be prepared to discuss the details of what makes the other offer attractive, including salary, opportunities for growth and how well the other offer matches what you’re after; for example, if it’s customer-facing or internal.

Leave on a Positive Note

However firm your decision to accept the offer, make sure to leave on a positive note that you are “looking forward to a possible future positive relationship,” Lamb said.

She provided this example: "Craig, it was truly a wonderful experience interviewing with X Company. I particularly enjoyed meeting you and … You have a terrific team, and one that offers a great opportunity. I look forward to our business paths crossing at some point in the future … I wish you every success with your new product manager."

Lisa Vaas covers resume writing techniques and the technology behind the job search for TheLadders.

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