John Borrowman, CPC
Borrowman Baker, LLC
Don’t laugh. Not getting an offer might be the smarter move. Sounds counterintuitive, though. Why would you not want an offer?
The issue isn’t whether you want an offer, but whether you want an offer right now. Try asking yourself: “Do I want an offer I can say yes to?” In other words: “Am I prepared to say no to any others?” If you can’t say yes to that, maybe you’re not ready to have that offer in your lap.
Once you have it, the clock starts ticking. You know that. Whether the deadline is short (as smart employers insist) or “get back to us when you can”, it’s ticking. If there’s anything else on your plate you haven’t fully explored, you could end up saying no to the offer by default.
On the other hand, if you are a clear yes you can leverage that to negotiate your offer. Wait! What??
Sooner or later, it will be clear that an offer is pending. Maybe they actually say, “We want to make an offer.” Be candid: “I want you to know that I’m attracted by the opportunity here. I know that employers don’t like bidding wars and so I’m going to consider an offer only when I’m ready to say no to everything else.”
They’ll appreciate it. They’ll ask you what you think the timeline will be. You must respond with a reliable date. If you find that you really can’t set one, you may have evidence that this practice doesn’t have the juice to capture your attention. Time to say, “No thanks.” And move on.
Isn’t there the risk of losing the opportunity altogether? Not as much as you might think. The employer has made his choice, remember? There’s a built-in period of time the employer can delay. Why not use that time to complete your due diligence on anything else and then come back (if you choose) to work out compensation details?
Enough is enough, and sooner or later any employer will run out of patience. But if you don’t see enough in Employer A to let go of Employer B, or C, or …. you’re better off not having an offer than saddling yourself with a decision you have to make that is more than likely going to be no in the end.
It’s sort of like the preacher asking whether you “forsake all others”. If you’re not ready to say Yes, maybe you’d better not walk down that aisle.