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How to Use One Job Offer Against Another

by Ellie Williams

If you’ve received multiple job offers, you can use this to negotiate everything from salary to working conditions. When broaching the subject with prospective employers, don’t make them feel you’re forcing their hand. Instead, express your interest in the position but stress that you need to accept the offer that best meets your financial needs and career goals.

Don’t Bluff

Don’t exaggerate one company’s offer or use it only to get leverage with another employer. One or both companies may realize what you’re up to and possibly rescind their offers. If word of your deception gets spreads to other employers it could damage your professional reputation. However, if you’re genuinely interested in both offers, it’s acceptable to inform employers you have another offer but want to negotiate. If one is your first choice, inform the company so you’ll have more leverage, but only if you're sincere. Do not tell both organizations they are your first choice as a ploy to play them off of each other.

Know Your Worth

As in other business situations, job negotiations often come down to supply and demand. Before you use multiple job offers as leverage, consider what you have to offer. If you don’t have much experience or don’t have a proven track record of producing results, you may not have much bargaining power. However, if you have significant experience or are well-regarded within the industry, employers may happily go the extra mile to win you over. Also consider the typical salary, benefits and other perks for the kind of job you’re applying for, your region and the company to use as bargaining chips as you negotiate. Your experience may convince one company to offer you more benefits than the other.

Assess the Company’s Interest

Even if you bring a lot to the table, some employers won’t want to negotiate or won’t go very far. Pay close attention to how each company offers you the job for insight into how much bargaining power you have. For example, if one employer talks up the benefits of working there, asks you if you’re interviewing with other companies or talks about your future at the organization, he’s likely excited about your potential and open to discussion. However, if the company is slow in making your initial offer or doesn’t seem completely sold on your qualifications, you may be at a disadvantage.

Prepare to Compromise

Be willing to let go of some of your demands to reach an agreement. Being flexible shows employers you’re willing to work with them, making them more likely to agree to some of your terms. Determine which of your requests you’re willing to give up and which are non-negotiable. If something is crucial to your career success or professional fulfillment, you’ll likely regret letting it go. On the other hand, don’t refuse an offer simply because discussions didn’t go your way. If the counteroffer is not what you had in mind, take time to analyze its potential before giving the company an answer.

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