It is a positive sign when a call comes in asking for
help in what to do with competing job offers. A
recent B.S. in engineering received a second offer
from a small engineering manufacturing firm
where he is currently working as an intern. [He
had originally received an offer to start at a hardware
manufacturing plant of Fortune 500 June 5.]
What factors should he consider?
What should he do, in what order?
While he tried to hide it, his heart was clearly with
the second offer, although its starting salary is
$10K lower. The cost of living appears to be lower
and no move was involved. These things are usually
what mid-career people would consider significant,
so it was interesting that this recent grad prized these.
We ran down the list of things to consider–
1 2 3 and what stood out were
- starting date (June 5 vs. April 25
with time off, no pay for a planned trip to Europe for
10 days in May) [This starting date and time off seems
to make the first year’s salary difference disappear.],
- no health and disability insurance coverage for the first
month in one position [Higher salary offer- insurance
begins after 1 month.],
- no vacation until after the first year anniversary [both,
with a wrinkle in 4 personal days granted in the 2nd.].
Some features of one seemed to be matched by
equivalent features of the other, like 401K in one
and profit sharing in the other.
Since things seem hard to compare, you can see
why he called looking for help.
The first company is a large, international company
with many locations and an impressive recent
earnings sheet record. The second offer was a
privately held company.
Decisions are emotional tug-of-wars, especially
where there might not be a clear winner. As we
always say, salary is only one component of a
Where does this fellow’s heart belong? Which
place would he look forward to rising every day
and head off to his goals and career? He was
strongly attracted by the second offer, but wanted
a way to make the decision seem a good choice.
He should get back to the second company
and tell them he really would like to work there.
It would be an easier choice if their offer was
comparable. What might be their best offer?
Have ideas in mind of what would be meaningful.
Go to ACS Salary comparator for ballpark
estimates [which I did for him.] of salary and
go to other sites for benefits.
Ask to get the negotiated agreement, if
changed in any way, in writing. It is significant
to have things in writing and companies are
understanding. Thank them.
In a professional and friendly conversation
contact the first company and tell them that
you have received a competing offer and
wish to decline their offer.
He thought that he should contact both the
hiring manager and human resource
professional, since they were terrific
We then did a mock conversation and
practiced doing this, especially dealing
with what changed his mind. Again,
realize decisions are emotional in nature and
we rationalize them with data. He should not
have to say clearly the job description did not
match his desires or did not want to leave home.
These although true do not reflect well on
the job seeker in his situation.
Note: Have the desired job offer in hand
before rejecting a valid offer.
Write a formal letter of acceptance and
rejection to each company.