Dealing with 2 job offers at once? Stressed? Don’t know what to do? Read this.

  • May 16, 2019

Received one or more job offers at once? Don’t feel confident on how to best deal with it? Recruiters bullying you to accept theirs? This might help.

The market in Sydney at the moment (and probably elsewhere) for tech is great – most software engineers I’m getting offers for, or talking to in general, seem to be getting 3 or 4 options/offers on the table at once.

Once you’re in this situation, the foot goes down on the gas from everyone dealing with you, everyone wants to be your best mate and starts to hound you.

Think of it as a great problem to have. There are lots of people who can’t find work! So it’s kind of flattering, but, it’s also a stressful time for candidates who are trying to juggle offers, deal with recruiters putting pressure on them to accept theirs and overall – keep everyone happy.

Not everyone is confident and it’s easy to feel guilty when not accepting an offer from a recruiter/business.

I thought I’d share my opinion on what to do as it might add some value if you’re in this situation;

Remove the money

If you have two or more offers on the table; take the money away from it. Take the money away from both offers and think about what’s left;

·     Is the work interesting?

·     Are you going to be mentored?

·     Are you going to be out of your comfort zone? (which you should be – to a degree)

·     Are you going to learn new things?

·     Can you see yourself wanting to work there for circa 3 years?

·     Are you going to get out of bed in the morning, wanting to go to work??

If you receive two offers and one is $5k or $10k more per year, you’re probably not going to care about that money after 6 months+ working there, especially as after tax the difference wont be huge.

What’s going to motivate you is the people, the projects, the learning, the environment, the overall opportunity!

Don’t always accept an offer because the base salary is marginally higher.

Ask yourself if you’re going to be a better software developer, or QA, or whatever you do, come the end of your tenure at the business.

Ask yourself – are you going to be the smartest person in the room? Generally, this isn’t great. You need to learn, regardless of your seniority.

So – if you have an offer and you are in the process for another opportunity that you are keen on – it is totally acceptable to tell the business that offered you first, to respect your time and privacy and that you are in the running for another role that you want to see through.

Accepting a new permanent role is a big deal and you need to make sure you get it right.

I as a recruiter would much rather a candidate took their time, thought about things and accepted an offer because it was the right offer for them.

If I were to apply pressure and bully tactics to a candidate to accept, first off I’ll probably get the opposite result I want because they’ll think I’m a dick, but more importantly – there’s a chance they’ll accept, start, then realise it wasn’t for them after all, work 2-3 months and then quit. All because I bullied them into accepting. This leaves the business they’ve just left pissed off and I have to work the role again anyway?! Not good.


What is important here is if you have 2 or more offers at once, is communication. You must have the smarts/courtesy to keep people in the loop and keep lines of communication open. This is in itself is probably out of your comfort zone but you need to do it. Do not bury your head in the sand and avoid phone calls because you feel embarrassed or awkward.

Going radio-silent isn’t the right way to treat people here, regardless of whose offer you are accepting.

So what are the right timescales?

It’s hard to put a timescale on these things. You cant ask a company / recruiter / internal recruiter to keep your offer ‘on ice’ for 2 weeks. That just creates the impression you don’t want to work there at all.

I would say personally that 2-3 days is about the maximum/average time to keep somebody waiting. In most cases, you will know whether you want that role halfway through the process anyway.

There will be people reading this who think that waiting 2-3 days is too long lol! In reality, the more open you are with communication – the more time you are biding yourself.

When a company offer you as well, they will want to see you accept there and then, because they’ve taken you through the process and feel that you ‘should feel pumped to start with us’.

They need to appreciate though, things just aren’t always that simple when there’s a war for good talent and that you need to do what’s right for you.

One useful tactic is, if you are unsure of which offer to go for, asking that business (or the recruiter) to go back and meet more members of the team for an informal catch up. Go in for a Friday beer or attend a meetup that that business are hosting? Try and meet more of the software development team, more managers, or more people in general (if you don’t work in tech). Try and get a better understanding of what the culture is like and how the people there work.

A few years ago, I witnessed a candidate receive 2 offers, asked to keep them both on hold, then after a week, both companies retracted their offers as they felt the candidate didn’t want it and I feel this is totally fair. So this candidate went from 2 offers – to zero offers overnight.

Again – this is where open lines of communication are important.


Stand your ground, be respectful to everyone, dont go quiet, do whats right for you and work somewhere where you will have fun and learn at the same time.

Hopefully this has added some value? Please email me if you struggle in this situation or are experiencing this now and want some help.

Thanks for reading!

Nick Shepherd