For the majority of us, the job search is a stressful time fraught with panic and upheaval. If you’re doing it right, you’ll be putting your heart and soul into it, taking the time to tailor your applications, research your potential employers, and preparing for your interviews with zeal. If all goes well, there’s every chance that more than one employer will want you as part of their team, and when that happens the stress really ramps up! Whilst knowing you’re in hot demand can be great for your confidence, it won’t help with the fact that you now have to decide between multiple job offers. If you find yourself in this somewhat enviable yet tricky situation, here are some tips to help you identify which job offer is for you.
Make sure you have written offers on the table first
First and foremost, it’s essential that you get written offers on the table first. Whilst a job offer doesn’t have to be in writing, and nor does the acceptance – it’s a good idea to ask for something in writing. Conditional offers can and do fall through, so the old adage of don’t count your eggs until they’re hatched is certainly prudent at this stage.
Weigh up all aspects of each job offer
Whilst many people tend to lean towards the offer with the most money, try and resist this temptation and wait until you’ve had a chance to weigh up all the aspects of each job offer. Ideally you’ll want to see things in your contract like any additional incentive compensation, car allowance, continuing education opportunities, vacation, parental leave, flexible working opportunities, telecommuting policies, or retirement benefits.
Consider the company culture
When all is said and done, an uber salary or a tasty perk won’t make a difference if you don’t fit the culture of the organisation. A company’s culture is made up of their shared values and practices. This could mean the way they approach problems, whether they are dynamic or slow to react, whether they support their employees and value their opinion, or whether the organisation rules from the top with an iron fist. It’s also worth remembering that culture can be departmental, so be sure to consider who you’ll be working with, which systems you’ll be using, and how often feedback and support is provided.
Finding out about company culture can be undeniably tricky, especially if it is difficult to discern. To give yourself the best possible chance you need to think about culture throughout the application process. Your interview is your primary opportunity to find out what the organisation is really like.
Remember, the interview process is a two-way street, you should feel comfortable assessing whether the organisation is right for you.
A few additional tactics that you could use to find out more about an organisation’s culture are:
- Asking to meet other employees that you might work with
- Asking for a walkthrough of the office to see what the atmosphere is like
- Checkout reviews on Glassdoor
- Asking about previous staff that have held your position
- Talking to previous staff via LinkedIn
Potential growth within a company should be a primary concern. Going stale in a role can be both damaging to your future and your happiness. Ask yourself questions such as: Can you see yourself fitting in at the company long term? Does the company itself have good long term prospects? Is the company expanding? Are they making acquisitions in the near future?
How will it affect your work-life balance?
Flexible working and work-life balance are becoming increasingly hot topics. It’s not uncommon for employers to promote flexi-working as an office perk. To help in your decision making process, assess which role will allow you to manage your work life with your personal life. All work and no play makes for a very dull employee!
Put pen to paper
If there’s no clear winner, write out your long term and short term goals/needs and rank them to identify which are the most important to you and those you are less willing to compromise on. Then, list out the pros and cons of each role, again ranking each point in terms of importance to you. With any luck you’ll start to see which role is most likely to deliver on your long term and short term goals.
Go with your gut feeling
If all else fails, don’t be afraid to go with your gut. Your subconscious often has an uncanny ability to make great decisions.
Don’t leave companies in the lurch
Whatever you do, don’t be tempted to accept both offers to buy yourself more time. If you do need more time, be upfront and honest, it might even encourage them to open up the negotiating table. Accepting an offer and then declining it days later when you’ve finally decided to go with the other offer is a big no-no, and can be disastrous for your professional reputation.
Decline your other offers the right way
Make sure you do this personally, and by phone preferably. Show your appreciation and thank all those involved. Give an honest reason and if you can, offer genuine compliments about the role and company. You never know, two years down the line a role may open up there that you really want. There’s no benefit in burning bridges!