Two Job OffersOne Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish…

Who doesn’t want to have to pick between two job offers? Celebrate…pat yourself on the back. Then dig into the dilemma of making a decision.  

If you have ever been fortunate enough to be in the situation where two or more companies have presented you with a job offer, then you know that choosing between two job offers can be overwhelming, and quite honestly, difficult. 

Before Moving Forward with a Decision…

Have the written job offers in hand. This goes for perm positions where you should expect a written position offer as well as contract positions where you should expect a contract.  

Verbal offers are great, aren’t they?  Often companies will present a verbal offer to test the candidate’s enthusiasm and potential acceptance before processing the paperwork for a more formal offer.  With that being said, if you have received more than one verbal offer…or…have a written offer as well as a verbal one…or…maybe have a verbal offer and are hoping for another, you may want to wait for the paperwork for all job offers before you get too serious about making a decision.  

Upon the receipt of a verbal offer, be sure to thank the hiring manager (enthusiastically) and ask when you can expect to receive a written offer or contract for review.  Showing enthusiasm and expressing your interest isn’t an acceptance, and waiting for a written offer or contract will enable you to step back and truly assess which offer (if either) is best for you.

You are Always One Decision Away From a Totally Different Life

Mel Robbins was right when he said this….So take your time

Be honest with the individual presenting the job offer. It is okay to tell the recruiter or hiring manager that you have another offer or that you have another interview booked and would like to complete it prior to making a final decision.  

If the company is one that supports its team members, they will appreciate your openness. They may not be able to give you the time requested, but nine times out of ten they will honor your request for additional time to make a decision.   

Ensure you Have Gathered the Data Needed to Make a Decision

This actually starts at the interview stage. While the company is interviewing you, don’t forget that you are also interviewing them. Make sure you have gathered the data needed during the interview to make choosing between two job offers easier.  Are you clear on the role and position expectations? Compensation? Team dynamics? Company culture? Career growth opportunities? Support from management? 

Compare and Examine Everything

Most candidates will make their decision based solely on the compensation; however choosing a position based solely on its monetary detail is likely to lead to regrets. 

Instead, when comparing the job offers, be sure to take a holistic approach as there are many other things to consider before accepting one of the two job offers. First off? Know yourself. Are you clear on both your short and long term goals? What are your priorities? What do you want…what do you need? Then, make a Pro/Con list so your decision can be well examined.  Here are some things to consider:

Opportunities for Career Development

Are you interested in learning a new skill or progressing in your current career? You should think about your future goals and decide which job will put you in a better position to achieve them. Perhaps a position where you will be paid less but gain hands-on experience in the field you’re most interested in is more valuable to you long term. 

Team Dynamics

If you have ever worked in a toxic environment, you understand how important cultural fit is. Even if you believe in the company and its mission, you won’t be able to be effective long term in a septic situation.  Finding a supportive group of people who make you feel comfortable yet empowered is key. As you evaluate each opportunity, consider the team you will be working with and the management you will be working for. Do they strike you as the kind of people who will inspire as well as support you to reach your career goals? 

Not sure? Ask the hiring manager if he/she will arrange a meeting with one or more of the team members.  Do a ‘backwards’ reference, speaking with potential future colleagues in order to better understand the team dynamics and company culture.


When I first started working with IBM, the commute was 50 miles one way. I was so excited to work with the company that I didn’t complain. And to avoid traffic, I would leave the house at 5:45 AM each morning. After several years, I couldn’t stand the wasted ten hours a week and started considering other options. Thank goodness they offered me the opportunity to work from home! 

Does the company offer flexible work hours or an opportunity to telecommute (if that is important to you)? Alternatively, are you interested in the company 50 miles away but just can’t commit to the daily commute long term?  Are you open to relocation…but would truly prefer to stay where you are? Factoring how the position will balance with your personal life is critically important.  

Stability of the Company

Do your research and make sure you feel comfortable that the offer you accept will put you into a stable, long term situation with a company that has a clear growth strategy.

Benefit Package

Of course, money is always going to be an important factor when choosing between two job offers. But always remember that it is only one factor. Also, don’t underestimate the non-monetary aspects of the two job offers.  Do your offering companies provide health insurance benefits? How about matching 401K contributions? What type of paid time off do they offer? For a proper comparison, you must evaluate how important these benefits are to you. The company that offers a slightly lower base compensation but presents these benefit options may better fit your lifestyle.

How do you Gracefully Decline One (or Both) of the Job Offers?

Congratulations! Now that you have decided which job offer you are accepting, how do you gracefully decline one of them? What if you decide that neither align with your goals and priorities and want to decline both?  

Do not Procrastinate Relaying your Decision

Once you have made your decision, be sure to respond promptly. Of course having this discussion will likely be uncomfortable, but you need to think about the situation the Hiring Manager is in. The company has a need to fill, therefore the Hiring Manager will need to extend your declined offer to someone else. The net – don’t upset the process.

Be Considerate in How you Deliver Your Decision

Show appreciation for the offer by graciously thanking the Hiring Manager and her team for their time. Interviewing is a time-consuming process, both for the hiring team as well as the candidate. So be sure to relate your gratitude for the time they spent with you.

If you learned anything new throughout the interview process, now is a perfect time to share that new-found knowledge. It could be new information on the company, the team, or even the interview process in general. Not only will this signal to the hiring manager that you took the process (and offer) seriously, but it will also keep a door open for future consideration. After all, isn’t keeping a door open the point? 

Timing is everything. Maybe it is the right company but wrong timing. Or right company and wrong position. Or the right hiring manager but the wrong company (you get my point).  Being gracious and showing what you have learned are terrific ways to foster rapport, thus encouraging a future relationship.

Tell the Hiring Manager Why You are Declining the Job Offer

It isn’t okay to just state that you are declining the job offer; especially in light of the fact that you want to keep that networking door open instead of burning bridges. 

Be transparent as to the reason for your decision…without providing inappropriate or unnecessary detail. Always start with terms like “Regrettably…”, “Unfortunately…”, “After much thought…” or something along those lines. It is a small industry and the Hiring Manager at this company may be the Hiring Manager at a different company in the future. Heck, you could be her manager someday! Being transparent will enable you to build a rapport that will last.

I also want to note that many companies don’t know if their offers aren’t competitive. Said differently, they may have ‘low balled’ an offer to you without realizing it. If the offer you have decided to accept has a significantly better compensation package, tell the hiring manager. That tangible feedback can be extremely beneficial to the company as they work to attract top talent. 

If you have decided to decline this position for one which better aligns with your current career goals and interests, it is certainly okay to explain that to the hiring manager too. This is even more important if everything else fits…the company’s mission, the culture, the team atmosphere, the balance, etc.  After all, perhaps a different, better fitting role will become available in the future.  

Show You Care 

Remember to wish the Hiring Manager and the company continued success. Politely and professionally answer any questions the Hiring Manager asks while maintaining a positive tone. You certainly want to make sure you decline the job offer without offending the company.

Put it in Writing

While we certainly encourage you to have a discussion with the offering manager, coupling that with a ‘per our discussion’ or ‘per my voicemail’ email shows your professionalism, follow through, and thoroughness.  Wondering how to decline a job offer via email? Here are a couple quick email examples:

Example 1

Dear <name of the person who presented the offer>,

Thank you very much for offering me the position of <position> at <company>. I am honored that you and your organization have found interest in me.

While I firmly believe in the mission of your company and appreciate the challenging and generous opportunity you have offered, I feel this offer doesn’t align with my current career goals and aspirations in terms of <explain>. 

I have received another offer which I believe more closely aligns with my goals and interests and while this has been a difficult decision for me, I have decided to accept their offer.

I have appreciated the time you and your team have spent with me. I wish you and your company much future success and do hope our paths will cross again.


<your name>

Example 2

Dear <name of the person who presented the offer>,

Thank you for the exciting offer to work as a <position> at <company>. I have enjoyed learning more about the company, your team, and the role. 

Unfortunately, after much thought, I have decided to decline this opportunity. I have received another offer with <insert what the other offer has that this one doesn’t, such as better pay, more flexibility, different role, etc>. While I am extremely interested in <company>, I just don’t feel that I can refuse the other opportunity because <reiterate the reason(s) already listed>. 

I truly appreciate the offer and am grateful to have met you and your team. I wish you much success in finding the right candidate for the position.


<your name>

It Can Be a Tricky Dance

Choosing between two job offers can be complicated, especially if it’s hard to find fault in either. Additionally, declining a job offer can be a tricky dance as you don’t want to permanently close any doors.  

Your next position is waiting for you. While you are searching, consider using craresources to help. We can coach you throughout the entire qualification process – up to and including either the acceptance or declination of the position.  

Check out our article 5 Successful Career Growth Strategies for more helpful info. You can also opt into our email marketing campaign for further support. We look forward to working with you.