Sometimes a response from our dream job takes a little longer than expected. Consequently, top candidates are finding themselves in high demand from many decent companies. Forbes Contributor Caroline Ceniza-Levine offers her tips on how best to navigate this enviable position.
Ensure you have multiple opportunities in play at all times – Most of the job seekers who get caught having to decide on a job that they are unsure about are the ones who only target one job opportunity at a time. If you want to arrive at multiple options for your next job, then you need to keep multiple prospective employers in play at all times. This means that even when you are in play at your dream company, you keep hustling for more opportunities. This also means that if you’re happily employed and get invited to interview unexpectedly, once you take that interview, you should hustle for other things – this way, you have a point of comparison beyond your current role.
Understand the deadlines of each of your prospects – At every interview, make sure you confirm what is next in the process and the estimated timetable for a decision. You need to know where you are in each company’s process and what their level of urgency is. This includes timing at your current company – if you are waiting for a raise and/or promotion and this will impact your decision, then you need to know when those decisions are made and when you’ll be told. This will enable you to compare at what stage each opportunity is relative to the others. If you see that your dream company is lagging behind the others, you know you’ll need to move up that process and/or slow down the others.
Articulate your deadlines to each of your prospects – Just as you want to know the timetable for each of your prospects, you also want to share your timetable with them. For that slow dream company, this means letting them know that you are in play elsewhere. You don’t need to wait for an offer, and in fact, if you wait to get an offer elsewhere, you may run out of time for your dream company to respond. As soon as you’re interviewing elsewhere, let your other prospects know that you are in the midst of interviewing. Let Dream Company know it is your first choice, and can the process be expedited? For your current employer, I would be very careful about sharing any job search activity – it can very easily be perceived as lack of commitment on your part. However, if you have a good relationship with your boss, let him or her know that you’re getting calls. This will put your company on notice, especially if you’re at the raise/ promotion review period.
Stay creative and flexible to match conflicting deadlines – It is unlikely that all of your opportunities will share the same deadline. Assuming Murphy’s Law, your dream company will be the furthest behind! Find out as much as you can about what the hold-up is in finishing the interview process and coming to a decision. Then, think of alternatives to move the process along. For example, if the company trying to find a single day for interviews, offer to come in multiple days. If a key decision-maker is traveling, offer to do a video interview. If the company is hesitating about something in your background, see if you can address these issues outside of additional interviews – perhaps you can submit a sample of your work in that area, or if you can get a reference from someone who knows the company well, have that reference proactively put in a good word for you. As you push the slow company forward, slow down any fast-moves. Take the full day to respond to email. Propose meetings a few days away. However, if you sense that the company is trying to move things up, then you’ll want to meet their tempo and throw your efforts on speeding up the laggards. You want to keep momentum on your side.
The same hustle that put you in demand can pay dividends in your new job search. Nobody likes to lose, especially companies losing real talent to competitors. Your masterful flexibility and deadline management can keep all the cards in your favor through your next search and help expedite the process towards your ideal company career.