You just got an offer for the services of your consultant from two clients - now what? Well first off this is a good problem to have - it shows that you're doing a good job assessing talent. But this situation does need to be handled delicately from many aspects, especially when there are multiple salespeople & clients involved.
From the client perspective we've got a "first right of refusal policy" that basically says first company to interview gets 24 hours to offer before we'll let other clients offer. We set this expectation with the client and when another client wants to offer we let them know there's a pending offer. We've had 2 manager in the same client go at it for a consultant in the past.
However, is withholding that offer from the consultant in their best interests? What if the 2nd offer provides opportunities to work with certain types of people, industries & technologies that interest the consultant more than the first? Do you completely discount that and just do what "policy" states you have to do? Probably not.
From the salesperson perspective it's pretty cut and dried, one person gets a commission and the other doesn't. Part of the reasoning for our right of refusal policy is driven by sales (imagine that) and believe me, salesperson #1 will be very vocal about said policy should the candidate decide to take offer #2. So now you have 2 salespeople externally trying to influence the consultant to take their job and internally fighting like cats and dogs.
Ultimately we leave the decision in the consultant's hands which I believe is the right thing to do. One of the most important things you can do in this situation is keep the internal bickering and posturing completely transparent to the consultant. We need to be unified in our desire to see the consultant make the right decision based on THEIR assessments, not ours. That means we need to be honest with the consultant about both opportunities, know the pros and cons as they relate to the consultant's career track and respect their choice. The "losing" salesperson needs to be gracious and break the news to the "losing" client as a consultant advocate as to not burn a bridge for a future placement.
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