If you’re on the job hunt, you may be slinging applications left and right. You might check your email every 20 (or two) minutes, wishing and hoping for someone to say, ‘Yes!’.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most job searches last about four months. With the demand for remote nursing jobs, it can take even longer.
To secure a job in 5 months or less, you’ll need to cast a wide net and apply to several jobs at once. In fact, Indeed recommends applying to 2 to 3 jobs per business day. When job searching with this level of intensity, it’s possible and probable that you’ll receive multiple offers at once. At the very least, you’ll have to navigate the hiring process with more than one role simultaneously.
Here’s what to do if you find yourself in a love triangle with multiple companies.
Can You Accept Both Job Offers?
You may reach a point in your job search where you receive two concurrent offers or a situation when one offer comes right after another.
After receiving two offers at once, some people may wonder, “Can I accept both?” But that would be crazy, right? ….. Right?
According to the over-employment movement sweeping the internet, it isn’t as off-base as it sounds. Although we usually don’t recommend it, it might be necessary or possible in certain circumstances.
There are several caveats, though.
- You want to perform both jobs and feel you can power through possible burnout.
- Both roles can’t have a conflict of interest with one another
- The schedules allow you to perform both job duties
- Your employment contract doesn’t prohibit you from working another job
- You are okay with the risk that your employer may terminate your employment upon finding out about your second job
- You seek legal advice prior to initiating over-employment (many attorneys offer free consultations)
Now, for the 99% of you that can only accept one job, how do you decide which one?
Managing The Timing of Multiple Offers
While sending in multiple applications is industry standard, it can still make the process confusing.
The typical stages of a job process include:
- Signed offer letter
- Offer logistics, such as references, paperwork, drug testing, and background checks.
- Start date
Since the hiring process typically takes about 3 to 4 weeks on average, with several job applications floating around, you might be at various stages of the hiring process with multiple companies. In this case, staying organized during your job search is crucial. Keep track of the companies you’ve applied to and their respective stages.
At each point of contact, communicate with the recruiter to inquire about the next steps and the expected timeline for their response. Ask, “When can I expect to hear back from you?” or “How long does this part of the hiring process typically last?” This demonstrates your enthusiasm for the role and showcases your organizational skills in managing your career.
Avoid Burning Bridges
Let’s review a few common scenarios you may come across with multiple hiring processes and how to handle them professionally.
The job you don’t want gave you the first offer
Pretend you applied to a few jobs, but two are the most promising.
- Job #1: Gave you an offer, but it’s your second choice
- Job #2: The job you want, but has not extended an offer. You’re near the end of the process, and you feel nervous to keep Job #1 waiting too much longer
Start by being upfront with Job #1:
1. Thank them for their time and attention.
2. Let them know you are interviewing elsewhere, but be vague: “I’m looking at my options and hope to decide very soon.”
3. Ask them when they need a response from you.
You can keep your options open by omitting some information, like why you would prefer Job #2 over Job #1, or where you are in the interview process. Sometimes job offers fall through, so you may need to keep Job #1 on the hook in case Job #2 doesn’t work out. Or, you may notice some red flags with a company or its management practices and decide to jump ship to revisit Job #1.
You need to turn down your second-choice job
If you eventually receive a job offer from your preferred Job #2, congrats! Now, all you have to do is politely decline Job #1’s offer. Remember all those heartless rejection emails you got for “other more qualified candidates at this time”? Keep the same energy when turning down the job you don’t want. This isn’t personal; it’s just business.
You can notify the recruiter, or if you want to keep the connection with the hiring manager, you can write a brief email to them to thank them for the opportunity to interview. You can also ask them if they are willing to connect on LinkedIn to stay in touch.
You accepted an offer, but then get a better one
How you approach the situation depends on how far into the offer process you are. Did you verbally accept the offer, but still haven’t signed a bunch of paperwork or done drug testing? It’s not so hard to back out at this point.
If you were deeper into the process, the company sent you equipment, and your orientation is already scheduled, you need to be more cautious not to make the employer feel they have wasted their time.
- Tell your contact at the company as soon as possible that your situation has changed, and unfortunately, you’ll no longer be able to pursue this role with them. Be timely in any back-and-forth communication with them or with sending back any supplies.
- Try to give a positive spin, like “It was invaluable to learn more about [company]. I hope we cross paths again.” If you have a friend or coworker you think might be a good fit, help them save additional recruiting time! Say, “I have a colleague that I think this role would suit well. Can I pass their information along to you?”
Crawling Back After You Declined An Offer
What if the worst-case scenario happens and Job #2 falls through? Or you spent a few months at Job #2 and realized it was not what you expected, and now Job #1 looks pretty great.
It can feel a bit embarrassing to go back to the first job and ask them to reconsider, but putting aside your pride may help you get a second chance with your dream job.
Consider a few points:
- Is the first job worth revisiting? In the beginning, both similar jobs sounded great. But now that you’ve taken one job, you realize you actually just aren’t a fan of phone triage, for example. Now realizing that the other job would be similar, maybe your time is better spent finding a new role to apply to.
- Enter the process again with a humble mindset. It’s possible that management has already filled all the available positions or that business needs have changed. Don’t expect the old offer will be waiting for you.
- Reach out to the recruiter. Let them know your circumstances have changed, and you want to revisit working with their company. Be gracious and thank them for their time and consideration.
- Highlight your qualifications. Take advantage of every opportunity to remind them why they are missing out on hiring you.
Overall, accept the response the recruiter gives you. If the recruiter tells you that you have to start the hiring process all over again, the pay is lower, or they are skipping your candidacy altogether, take it in stride and as a learning opportunity.
Embrace the Scenario
If you are in the midst of a remote nursing job search and find yourself in the hiring process with multiple companies, it’s not the worst-case scenario. Handle it gracefully, and don’t forget that you’re a great candidate, even with the high demand for remote nursing jobs.
Want to learn more about how to prepare for your first remote nursing job? Check out the resources at Nurse Fern.