Have a few irons in the fire, but the timing is off… now what?

Dear Dave,

I've been unemployed for the past 9 months after losing my job as an enterprise software sale professional, I've been on multiple interviews, spent numerous hours working on my resume and interview skills, and networked with other sales professionals. As a result, I've landed a couple of interviews and finally have two opportunities that I am really excited about.

This first opportunity has a great company culture. The office is lively, the employees appear happy and the energy is contagious. I met with the sales manager and the sales team. They are all hard workers, friendly and welcoming.

The second opportunity has similar qualities as Job #1; everyone is energetic, positive and there is a great company culture. I really hit it off with the sales manager, I really liked their sales process, and I can see myself working with the sales team.

Job #2 has an edge that leads it to be my first choice. However, the hiring manager from sales Job #1 just told me they would like to offer me the position, but the hiring process for Job #2 is not complete.

The timing is all off.

What should I do? Do you have any advice?


Perplexed Sales Professional

Dear Perplexed Sales Professional,

For the most part, the market has shown some improvement. Although it has been a tough couple of years, your resiliency, persistence and ability to have a positive mental attitude has paid off. You finally have some interesting and exciting new opportunities. Remember, it is an employer's market, has been for the past two years, and hiring managers still continue to be "selective." It is time to make an important decision.

Your predicament is a tricky one. On one hand, after 9 months, you finally have a hiring manager knocking at your door. As an unemployed sales professional, your first instinct is to accept and gain the security of a new job. However, you can't get Job #2 out of your head….

Should you:


  1. Wait and delay the decision with Job #1 as long as you can in order to see if you get an offer from Job #2?
  2. Take Job #1 and stop your job search?
  3. Tell Job #1 that you will need a week to make a decision because you are in the process with another firm?
  4. Tell Job #1 that you have respectively declined as you have Job #2 in the pipeline?
  5. Kindly call the decision maker for Job #2 and educate them on your situation and qualify them on the interest level?


Here is my recommendation:

You can select any one of these choices, but it is my recommendation that you take leadership and devise a plan to manage the timeline of your search. The first step in doing so is to identify what company you want to work for.

If you are certain that Job #1 is right for then do not delay. Close down the process. A bird in the hand is better than two in the bush.

However, if you're uncertain about Job #1, I suggest you set a goal to finish the process with both job opportunities and then decide which opportunity is the best next step for your career.

First, let Job #1 know that you are very interested in their sales opportunity, but you are in the process with other companies at this time. Then, qualify the opportunity by asking specific questions. For example, what is the offer? What is the benefits package? And most importantly, when do you need my decision by? Once you have this information request a written offer to review.

Now that you have a complete understanding of where you stand in regards to Job #1 you have a better understanding of your predicament.

Your next step is to qualify Job #2. Call the hiring manager and explain your situation. Let them know that you have a verbal offer and you are expecting a written offer by tomorrow. Inform them that you need to make a decision in the next 4 days and are calling today to make sure this job is a viable option for you.

Once you have informed the hiring manager about the other opportunity, qualify them. Ask them how many other candidates they are considering? How you compare/rank to the competition? Is your compensation plan in alignment with the other opportunity? And what their time frame is? Once you have this information, close for the next step.

If you are not the number 1 candidate move quickly to close Job #1, get the offer and agree upon a start date.

If you are the number 1 candidate and the money is on target, ask if the hiring authority can make a decision within the next 4 days. If the answer is yes, set up your next meeting and continue through the process.

If a decision cannot be made in the next 4 days don't burn the bridge, but recognize that you must accept the other opportunity. Show your excitement and reduce any complication.

Perplexed Sales Professional, I hope this helps.







Having multiple opportunities and multiple offers is ideal… what would you do in this situation?




Published On: November 10th, 2010Categories: Blog News, Interview Advice

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