You know that old saying, "When it rains, it pours?"
I've experienced that in the best possible way. It happened during my recent job search. I sent out a bunch of resumes for open positions in my field, and soon after, I received several calls for interviews.
Then the panic set in: How can I manage this? I didn't want to turn any job interviews down -- didn't want to mess up my professional karma -- but I didn't know how to handle it. Instead, I turned to a few career experts for practical advice on staying organized and sane.
Approach It Like a Job
The best way to land a new gig is to make looking for a job a job in-and-of itself, advises career expert Nicole Williams. "A part time job is about 20 hours a week, so you should be spending about that much looking for a job. The same goes for a full time job."
And like a job, you'll need to get organized. Create a document or spreadsheet for each interview and record important information you'll need to know for the meeting, like contact information, what you need to bring, and interesting tidbits about the company.
This can include where you've applied, contact information, what you need to bring to the interview, and follow-up information. "Follow the company on LinkedIn and keep notes of the language they use, the comings and goings of other employees and keep track using a simple spreadsheet," Williams advises.
Concentrate on One Interview at a Time
You might have five interviews on the horizon, but it's important to concentrate on only one interview at a time.
"You should be completely present in each interview," advises career expert Alan Carniol, founder of Interview Success Formula. "Bringing up the wrong company practice or name-dropping an executive who does not work for the organization can hinder your chances. Separate every interview and focus on one at a time.
Hiring managers know you're likely interviewing with more than one company. The important thing is to be honest about it.
"Let companies know why you are interested in them specifically but that you are also looking at other potential employers," advises career and salary negotiation expert Katie Donovan. "Companies assume this anyway since it is detrimental to any job search to wait for the entire interview process with one company to complete before applying for other jobs."
Letting each company know there are other potential suitors shows that you are a savvy, motivated professional.
"It also shows that there is an expiration date on your availability," Donovan adds.
Weigh Your Options
If you do get offered a job but you're still waiting on another job, ask for a few days to think it over.
"Smart job-seekers play the 'I'm in the middle of the negotiation process' card. This buys you some time and lets them know they are in a competition to acquire your talent," explains Williams. "Additionally, the majority of companies know you need to give your employer two weeks notice and respect the consideration you are offering, thinking you will do the same for them upon your departure."
Then, contact the other companies you've interviewed with and notify them of your offer. It might motivate them to speed up the process or tell you that you're eliminated as a candidate.
"When contacting the other companies, contact the hiring manager -- not human resources -- to inform them that you have an offer but you still have interest in their company," advises Donovan. "Ask if she can extend an offer."
Once you see what offers are available, consider each separately. What truly is the job you want to do at the company you felt was the best fit?
"Aim to get that job to now pay you well with a good benefits package," Donovan says. "Know that regardless of what the first offer was there is always more available."
Compare it to all the other packages -- salary, vacation, commission, bonus, portion of medical paid -- and approach that company first.
"State your true interest in the company but that you were surprised how low the offer was, especially considering the market value of the job and the offers you have from other companies," Donovan adds. "Then be quiet. Let them make a better offer."
If it does not work, move to offer number two.
But, be careful not to play games -- you could end up with no offers.
"Do not play the game of one company against the other for multiple rounds. In the end that just makes everyone feel used," Donovan says. You may end up with bigger offers from competitors when you inform the other companies that you are accepting another company's offer.
"Regardless of what you decide to do with offers from other companies, consider why they weren't first on your list before making the decision," she adds.
Tell us: How do you navigate through multiple job interviews?
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