Double decisions — what should you do?

Q: If I have a job interview on a Tuesday and another (more preferred ) interview on a Wednesday how should I handle it if the Tuesday interview results in an offer on the spot? Should I accept the first offer and then decline it if the second one becomes available? Would this put the first offer in jeopardy? I certainly wouldn’t want to insult anyone and appear to be hedging my bets (even though that’s what I would be doing ). Any suggestions? Thanks. (JM, email ).

DEIRDRE MAY, LIMERICK: JM, be enthusiastic and thank them for the offer but do not commit there and then. It is perfectly acceptable for potential employees to take a couple of days to ‘mull over’ a job offer. Tell them you would like a bit of time to make an informed decision on this great opportunity and then give them a specific time when you will get back to them.

If an employer doesn’t agree to this, and pushes you for an answer there and then, you need to question whether this is the company fit for you.

As regards the second interview, if the employer that offers you a job enquires as to whether you have any other interviews or job offers pending, honesty is always the best policy. You can tell him/her that, yes, you are being interviewed for another position this week.

When you have decided to accept or graciously decline their offer, do it in person/on the phone and also by writing.

MARK MCDONALD, DUBLIN NORTH: The most important consideration is to choose what’s best for you, JM. Come clean and “hedge your bets”. You can achieve this without insulting the first employer.

If in the event of an offer being made, I would suggest an honest and professional approach. Thank them for the offer and the opportunity to join the company. Explain that the opportunity would reflect your career ambitions; however, you have another interview the following day and would appreciate a few days.

Any employer should understand the value of not rushing to judgement and assessing all options before committing to a direction. This may even be a character trait the employer appreciates in employees.

SIOBHAN O’MALLEY, BALLINROBE: It is generally understood, JM, that each woman is for herself when it comes to the labour market - and this applies to employer and employee. While employers value loyalty and honesty, and employees want to be valued; it is a dog eat dog world. And so it is accepted that each party aims to maximise their gain from dipping into the labour market.

In the event of your being offered the first vacancy - it would not be unreasonable to suggest that you will consider the job offer and get back to them the following day. And while you may not have the official result of the second interview, you will probably have a gut feeling as to how the interview went.

Either way, in accepting the first job offer, and assuming no contracts have been signed, you are not bound to take up the position. In the happy event of you being offered both jobs, a polite email to the original person who offered, outlining the reasons why you have changed your mind, thanking them for taking the time to consider your application and apologising for perhaps wasting their time will soften the blow.

Sli Nua Careers (www.SliNuaCareers.com ) have offices in Galway (Patricia Maloney, 091 528883 ), Mayo (Ballinrobe, Claremorris ), Dublin, Sligo, Limerick and Athlone. Their services include CV preparation, interview training, mock interviews, LinkedIn profiles, personal statements and application forms. For more details, visit www.slinuacareers.com

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