Career Advice Tuesday – “Managing Multiple Offers”

June 1, 2010

Dear Infosecleaders:

I am in the process of changing positions and I have been simultaneously involved in multiple interview processes.  The three opportunities are quite different – two are quite similar, while the third one would be a bit of a stretch for my current skills.

Here is where I need your help – the interview processes are at different stages and I am trying to manage them to the best of my ability, without turning any of them off.   One of the companies informed me that they are going to make me an offer next week, one of the other companies (the similar one) the interview process will take 2 additional weeks, as I still have to meet with others, and the third opportunity (the stretch) may take 6 weeks to finish.

Can you give me any advice on how I should handle this?


“Info Sec Pro In Demand”

Dear “In Demand”:

While it is nice to be “In Demand”, I think that you have to take a good look at your situation and figure out how “In Demand” you truly are.  Let me explain.

The way that I interpret  your situation is that you have one solid opportunity that is going to make you an offer, one that is still vetting your talents, and the other that is most likely not to come to fruition.   Keep in mind, just as you are looking at other opportunities, the employers are looking at other information security professionals that most likely have similar skills and credentials.  Granted, they may all materialize, right now you only have one firm commitment – and that should be your focus.

The first thing that I would do would be to evaluate if the offer that you have coming this week .  I would ask myself he following questions: is the  opportunity that is better than your current position, is the opportunity will enhance your career, is the compensation is fair, and is the company is a place where you would like to work.    If the answer to all of those questions are “Yes”, then I believe that you should express your interest in earnest, and get the offer in your possession.

When you are speaking with the company, you should feel comfortable enough to  let them know that you are actively interviewing, this may or may not have an effect on the aggressiveness of the financial terms of the offer.   If you do let them know that you are looking, you should be prepared for the following questions:

1) Is there a certain amount where you will discontinue all other interview processes?  If you do get asked this question – you should be prepared to have a reasonable number to share with the employer.

2) When are you planning to make a decision?  This is a key question.  How you answer it may either result in the company delaying their offer to you (and continue interviewing other candidates) or they may send you the offer and provide you with additional time to make your decision.  You should be prepared for either result – but understand that there may be consequences if you delay – (remember this is the only company that has expressed that they would like to make you a commitment).

As it relates to your other suitors, I think that it is up to you to inform the other parties about your new accelerated time table for decision making and ask them to make adjustments to their interview processes.  If they are willing to do so, chances are they believe that you are a leading candidate and they do not want to lose the chance of employing you.   However, if they drag their feet  – and do not make an attempt to expedite their process, there inactivity is telling you something about either their perception of your skills or how they view the urgency of recruiting talent.

Please keep in mind – you should separate lack of desire and lack of possibility (i.e. decision makers on vacation).  Sometimes no matter the intent, accelerating a recruitment process is just not possible due to external factors.

You can also take this opportunity to let these other suitors know the details of your offer from the original company.  For example, if your current offer (from the first suitor)  is greater than the others have allocated for their positions, they may share tell you that they can not match the terms and encourage you to accept the other one.

In closing, I would advise you to prioritize the opportunities.  It appears that two of the offers are similar- so I would try to see if I could rank them.  If they turn out to be basically even, I would go with the one that has made you a commitment, and thank the other one for their time and interest.

Also, while it would always be advantageous  to have the details of as many offers as possible, sometimes it is just not practical.  I would never advise anyone to  jeopardize a solid opportunity for one that may not materialize.

Remember the old adage .. ” A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush”.  This applies to information security careers as well.

Hope this helps,

Lee and Mike

Posted by lee | Filed Under Advice, Career Advice Tuesday 


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