A Robert Half survey finds that six in 10 workers in a variety of fields and industries say they've received two or more job offers simultaneously when applying for jobs. When weighing their decision, candidates say they look at salary, benefits, advancement potential, commute and the job's responsibilities or challenges.
Those are all important criteria, but it doesn't always make the choice a no-brainer. You not only have to make the right choice for you (and pray you are right) but you have to figure out a way to say "no" to the other offer without sounding like a jerk.
Not sounding like a jerk is very important. Why? Because the world is often very small and you may run across that hiring manager again one day. If you act like a jerk -- and she tells everyone you acted like a jerk -- then you could damage your professional reputation. Hiring managers often talk to one another and if they start telling others about your poor behavior, they may steer clear of you. The one thing we know for sure is that one day the job market will tank again, and where will you be when everyone thinks you're a jerk?
Here is the right way to reject a job offer:
- Don't wait. As soon as you're sure of your decision, tell the hiring manager.
- Don't be chicken. Sending a text is not cool. The person deserves to have a phone conversation, but an email is the next best thing.
- Offer a reason. Job seekers always want to know why they didn't get a job, so have the same courtesy for a hiring manager. You don't have to go into a lengthy explanation, but you can say something like, "The commute was going to be much longer to your company, so along with the salary and benefits they were offering, it just made more economic sense for me to choose them," you can say.
- Be polite. It costs money and time to recruit a candidate, so always be appreciative of that investment: "I want to thank you for the time you spent talking to me and I'd appreciate you also thanking the others who shared their thoughts about the job. I hope one day we run across each other again."