Multiple Offers, The Holy Grail of Job Search
If the ultimate success in search is the acceptance of a great-fit, above-market offer, the penultimate success is multiple job offers in a short time frame.
In a perfect world, your quest would produce two or more excellent offers on the same day. In real life, two in a week would be just fine. If your base comp is solidly into six figures, a cluster of offers in the space of several weeks would do it very nicely. Having two offers on the table at the same time gives you excellent leverage – provided that you would be willing to accept either one.
If you’re thinking about bluffing the first one with a non-existent second one, I’d strongly recommend against it. There’s too much at stake — including your reputation if you’re found out.
With the right experience and resume, using a number of recruiters is one way to get to multiple offers. Don’t dribble resumes to them one at a time. Decide how many recruiters you want to contact and send resumes out in a batch.
You’ll want to have all of your prep work carefully done before making contact, so you’ll be ready for a callback. If you moved just a little slowly with the first recruiter to call, that might help. But watch it: Move too slowly and you’ll look uninterested.
Of course for most job candidates, recruiters simply don’t work. If you’re part of that majority, you can still use the batch processing approach to increase your chances of multiple offers. Make your initial target list 40 instead of four. Move all 40 along through initial research in a week or two.
Plan an intense week of initial networking to get introductions to insiders at your targets. When you get your first introductions to insiders, you might want to set the appointments out a bit so you can get a larger number of inside contacts working simultaneously.
When you are close to your first offer, look at your target list to see which other organizations might be considering you. Even if they’re not admitting to having an opening, express your interest even more enthusiastically.
Of course, when you get your first offer, you should go back to everyone at the top of your list again and tell them the bad news: you may soon be unavailable. Tell them again how interested you are and ask if it’s possible to speed up their process a bit.
The overall message here is simple: In planning and executing your search, don’t just consider effective activities, think also about their timing.
Locating multiple offers is not easy to do. It doesn’t require a miracle, but it does involve a certain amount of good luck on top of a solid plan and a more concentrated effort. The final result may not be the Holy Grail, but it is certainly a blessing – and a significant advantage in salary negotiations.
Orville Pierson is LHH’s Director of Program Design and the author of The Unwritten Rules of the Highly Effective Job Search (McGraw-Hill) and Highly Effective Networking: Meet the Right People and Get a Great Job (Career Press). With over 30 years’ experience in career services, he leads the team that designs LHH’s career transition programs. Orville can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org with comments and questions that might become part of future postings, but he cannot respond to them individually.