I'm in the fortunate position of having two companies ready to make me an offer. The two firms compete with each other regularly over talent, so I told both recruiters I would share information about my other offers to try to give myself a better position to negotiate from.

Unfortunately, both groups got around to preparing offers at nearly the same time, so now both recruiters are withholding information about the offers they're prepared to make, waiting for the other to make a move so they'll have the upper hand in salary / benefits negotiation.

I've gently pushed both of them to share more information about the offers they've promised, but so far neither has responded, presumably because they don't want to set the price that negotiation will start at. How should I break the deadlock without weakening my negotiating position?

  • 1
    I think the lesson learned here is don't make too big a deal about competing offers. Just tell them you are looking at other opportunities and look forward to seeing their offer. May 20, 2015 at 14:42
  • 5
    Additional lessons: * You are not a wheeler-dealer. * Never promise anyone something you don't possess, yet. * Don't try to "play" people off of one another. This is the "adult" equivalent of playing mom against dad. You should consider yourself fortunate if you come away with ANY offers at this point. May 20, 2015 at 15:47

4 Answers 4


Ask them to reveal at the same time. Tell the recruiters about the deadlock and that you won't share the opening position of the other until both initial offers are on the table. It's fair, ends the deadlock, and either failing to co-operate looks unreasonable.


Call recruiter 1. Tell them "If I don't have an offer by the end of day then I'm going with the other one." Then call the other recruiter and tell them the exact same thing.

Next time, don't do this. It's too easy to get burned.


Set a minimum salary for which you would accept a job.

Then tell one of the companies that the other offered you that salary.

See the reaction and if they agree, now you can negotiate with the other.

If they don't then ask the other company for that minimum.

If none of them wants you for your minimum salary then you need to keep looking.

  • 1
    I would not lie to either party as it will always blow up in your face sooner or later.
    – Jane S
    May 20, 2015 at 21:22
  • @JaneS agreed, just because the two firms compete doesn't mean the two recruiters aren't buddies May 21, 2015 at 3:23

Don't do anything. Tell the the truth,"I haven't got an offer from the other firm". One of them is going to have to make a move at some point.

In the interim keep looking for a job.

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