You Have Offers. Which One Do You Take?

By Mary Ellen Slayter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, October 29, 2006

So many jobs, so little time.

Having multiple job offers is a great problem to have, but it can still be stressful.

A participant in my online chat learned just how complicated it can be when the opportunities pour in. "I applied for a job a couple of years ago, got it and then turned it down for another job I also was offered. Now I'm looking to move on, and the hiring manager (I still keep in touch with her) for the job I turned down has contacted me about a position opening in their office," the chatter wrote.

The problem? "I'm also in the running for another job at a completely different company that is more interesting to me. I'm running out of reasons and ways to put off the hiring manager I know so I can hold out for this other job I may or may not get. I feel so guilty!"

He or she shouldn't feel guilty, but it's wise to proceed with caution.

"There is definitely a right way to do it and a wrong way," said Brad Karsh, president of JobBound and author of "Confessions of a Recruiting Director."

Here are a few tips for negotiating multiple offers without losing your mind or your reputation:

· Press for more details. Maybe the key to a decision lies in acquiring more information, such as details about the employer's culture or benefits. Salary isn't always the most important factor. What is important to you in your next job? Once you have a firm offer, ask human resources for details about health care and perks. If your concerns are fuzzier, and relate to your long-term prospects at the company, ask for another meeting with your prospective boss.

· Put it on paper. Make a pros-and-cons list for each job. If your list gets unwieldy, consider setting up a spreadsheet. Writing it all down can make the comparison -- and perhaps the decision -- much easier.

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