Balancing several offers

Q: I have been job hunting for several months. I have two
offers in front of me, and both are an improvement of my current role. I
am interviewing for a third role this week. How do I keep the first two
offers warm without losing them? I need more time to interview for this
third role.

A: Congratulations on enjoying success in your search. Timing can be tricky in job hunting though, as you have discovered.

First, a question regarding the two offers you have been presented:
have you been given a deadline for a decision? If you haven’t, it is
wise to ask when the hiring representative would like to have a
decision. Explain that this is an important decision and you want to
make sure that you give the offer proper consideration. Obviously if you
can ask for a bit more time on responding to these offers, the better.
Be reasonable however. A requested extension of a few days is
reasonable. A requested extension of a few weeks is not. When you
interview for the third role, ask questions about their timeframe and
any additional steps in the interview process. You may interview for the
third role and decide that it is not as promising as offer #1 and offer
#2. Assess the full offer, not just compensation. Compensation is
important but so are other factors, like benefits, the commute, the type
and variety of work, the workplace culture, as well as the management
style of your supervisor.

Realize though that you are traveling a bit of a slippery slope.
Asking for an extension of a few days may be reasonable, however it also
sends a bit of a message to the hiring representative. Yes, you may
need more information but you also didn’t jump up and down and accept
immediately. Those of us who extend offers would prefer that a candidate
accept immediately. However, we understand that sometimes a candidate
does need more time, more information or to discuss it with a spouse,
partner or another trusted person. It is a bit of a balancing act.

Glad to hear companies are extending offers to candidates. We are seeing that too. It is good news to share!

Pattie Hunt Sinacole is a human resources expert and works for First Beacon Group in Hopkinton, an HR consulting firm. She contributes weekly to Jobs and the Boston Sunday Globe Money & Careers section.