A Bird in the Hand . . . | No BS Job Search Advice Radio


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter tells you a cautionary tale to remind you that a bird in the hand is worth more than two in the bush.



I want to tell you a cautionary tale, give you a warning, however you want to think of it they came from her recent experience with the job hunter.  This was a person moving to a new city.  He bought a house with his wife, wanted to move to the new location, contacted me because I have a client there, I had a position he was well-qualified for, all sorts of good stuff. 

The interview with my client and is about to get an offer. The head of the department that he is meeting with his traveling, so. The job offer can’t get signed off on right away.  In the meantime, unbeknownst to me until the last 2nd, he has received an offer from another firm.  I contacted him to let him know that my client is about to extend an offer.  My contact with that firm gets in touch with him to let them know that he’s getting an offer. All they have to do is get one last signature. They expect to have it signed off on imitator to.

Let Me Fast-Forward

The applicant asked me about my client and whether they are reliable.

They took the time to call you to let you know this was going to happen. I don’t know this person to be a liar.  I would say it is going to happen.

I gave him my best judgment.

I also want to say I didn’t know he had another offer until after this.  He emailed me on a Friday evening to say that based upon what you’ve heard from the HR person is going to turn down the offer he has and wait for my client.

The horrible thing that happened is that the head of the department decided not to sign off on the offer.  Now, this person is out of a job and cannot recover that other job offer. He has to find something and he is moved to his new city.  He has no income.

Consider that a lesson.  What you do instead is 1 of several things.  To be clear, I did not ask him to turn down that other offer.

The lesson here is that a bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush.

The way to handle that situation is:

  1. Accept the offer and set the start date a week further out.  In this way, you can install a weeks time for my client to have come back.  If my client hadn’t, he would have gone off to that original job.  Then, if my client came through, he could have made another decision if you thought that made sense.  Not my choice. His choice.
  2. Stall the acceptance of the original offer and try to wait for my client.  If pressured, ultimately accept, delay the start a little bit… You get the idea.

You don’t turn down offers based upon a hope, awaiting in the prayer.

What you do is turn down offers when you actually have something, not necessarily what in writing, but have the oral offer, when you being told that the offer will be put in writing, etc..  Not before then.  Especially in situations like this where he was going to be stranded without a job at the time working really needed to be positioned.

Again, my advice is a bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush.  Stall as long as you can. Delay starting as long as you can if that other offer is the preferred job.

If it isn’t the preferred job, it doesn’t matter!  In this case, it was. The money was going to be significantly better.  The work was going to be significantly better.  You get the idea.

You don’t turn down something for the hope that something will come through because, as happened here, sometimes it doesn’t.



Do you think employers are trying to help you?

 You already know you can’t trust recruiters—they tell you as much as they think you need to know to take the job they after representing so they collect their payday.

The skills needed to find a job are different yet complement the skills needed to do a job.

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter has been a career coach and recruiter for what seems like one hundred years.

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