When pursuing job opportunities and balancing multiple interviews and offers with several companies, chances are, you’ll be at a different stage of the hiring process with each one. You then have to maneuver through, hoping that when you reach the job offer stage, all will finalize at the same time and you can easily make an informed decision about your next move. What do you do when that doesn’t happen?
Let’s look at the situation that Steven, the Vice President of Technology at a boutique investment bank, is facing. He wants to make a career move because he’d like to become a CTO and his boss, the current CTO, is not planning to leave the company anytime soon.
Steven has been interviewing at three companies, and each is moving at a different pace through the hiring process. While he has a verbal offer from one company, his first choice is at another organization and they are taking a long time to make their decision. To determine what he should do, Steven needs to take a closer look at his options. Let’s follow him through the process he undertakes to make an informed choice.
How to evaluate multiple interviews and offers:
Job #1: CTO at a boutique investment bank
This job is exactly what Steven wants, and he has had several rounds of interviews that went quite well. The hiring manager said they want to bring someone on board ASAP and they have indicated that Steven is on the short list. However, it’s been three weeks since Steven’s last interview and he has not heard back from anyone, even after following up several times.
Job #2: Head of Technology of a business unit at a large asset management firm
Although not his ideal next step, Steven is considering this role because of it’s increased responsibility and greater compensation. The internal recruiter told Steven that they are at the beginning of the hiring process and the company typically takes a long time to reach hiring decisions for advanced roles.
Job #3: Vice President of Technology at a mid-sized investment bank
This role is very similar to Steven’s current job, but in a larger organization. The CTO here has unofficially indicated that he will be leaving after the completion of a major infrastructure initiative, which is expected to take anywhere from six to 18 months. Steven has a verbal offer for this role and is waiting to get it in writing.
What should Steven do next?
Once he receives the written offer for job #3, Steven should genuinely thank the bank for the opportunity and ask for at least one week to respond. During that time, he should look deeper into the other opportunities he’s considering to gain any additional insight he can about their timing.
Steven should do whatever he can to determine if his first choice (job #1) is a realistic possibility. In addition to following up with the hiring manager, he should reach out to anyone with whom he’s interviewed and had particularly good rapport, to reiterate his interest and ask if they had any insight into the company’s timing for a decision. He should also leverage his network and talk to people who work at the bank (or worked there recently and are still plugged into the community) to gain insight as well.
For job #2, the role at the asset management firm, Steven needs to get a better understanding of the position to see if it’s really something he’d be excited to do. He can request to speak to people on the team he’d oversee. He can also reach out to his network to see if anyone can tell him more about the role and IT strategy of the organization to determine if waiting for this opportunity would be worthwhile.
For job #3, the offer he has, Steven should try to get a better handle on the timeframe of the infrastructure project. If the project takes a full 18 months, a lot could change. Steven really needs to leverage his network to get as much information as possible about the infrastructure project and whether the current CTO really intends to move on.
What happened to Steven?
He received the written offer for job #3 and 10 days to respond with a decision. Steven then spent every free second communicating with people in his network to see what he could find out about what was happening with job #1, his first choice. His efforts paid off because he found out that the bank was in merger talks and put all hiring on hold.
For job #2, Steven talked to people in various aspects of the firm and determined that the role wasn’t a big enough challenge. While a larger compensation package was enticing, the role was not going to provide the professional growth he wanted.
For job #3, Steven dug into his network and found people he knew at key technology vendors that were part of the infrastructure project. He reached out to several current and former employees and got a better sense of timing for the project (expected to be about nine months). He also had dinner with the current CTO and found out that he really wanted to move on and continue his professional development elsewhere.
In the end, Steven accepted job #3, the project took 11 months, the CTO stepped down after seven months… and Steven became CTO.
When interviewing at multiple companies, it is rare that hiring decisions will be made simultaneously. As you pursue your options, doing research and due diligence (especially leveraging your network) can be key in gaining insights to help you make an informed career decision, even in complex situations.