The finish line is close – months of discernment, applying for jobs, networking outreach, interviewing, and more interviewing – I now find myself at the Offer Stage of the job search. As I mentioned earlier, the job search process seems painfully slow when one is in the application stage awaiting an interview and then seems unnaturally fast when an offer is extended.
I was fortunate and unfortunate to receive an offer from one of my top choices prior to finishing my interview process at other schools. What the offer did allow me to do, was to remove myself from consideration from opportunities that were lower on my preference rating and to enter into the final school’s interview process as a discerning customer. What I mean by “discerning customer” was that I evaluated the last school closely…would it be a better fit than the school where I have an existing offer.
Being a discerning customer allows the interviewee to compare the employer and role in which one is interviewing against the employer/role where one has an existing offer. One may find oneself asking tougher questions of the search committee, engaging in more conversation as opposed to traditional interview Q&A – in short, one begins to interview the employer as much as the employer is interviewing the candidate.
This phenomenon is an ideal way to conduct a final interview because you project confidence to the search committee. Additionally, the committee will see a candidate that is ensuring the “fit” is right and every employer wants a strong cultural fit. Instead of just trying to impress a future employer with your examples and answers, you impress by showing you are concerned about whether you are a solid match for the role and employer.
I realize having an offer while one is still interviewing is a unique situation. It does happen on college campuses each fall and occasionally in certain industries that have a defined hiring timeframe. Even if you do not have an offer at the time of your final round interview, try to enter the final round as a discerning customer to ensure you are making the right move to a new employer.
The unfortunate side of this situation is that I needed to keep the timeline moving along so that I would not lose the one offer before I could complete the process with the last employer. The danger is that I would let go of a good offer without another one in hand. While there is no magic formula to ensuring this does not happen, I find communication and evaluation are key to this stage.
Next: Communication and Evaluation