Congratulations! You’re in the enviable position of receiving more than one job offer. It sounds like the perfect situation—until you realize that in addition to accepting one of the positions, you also need to decline the other opportunities.
How can you choose a job offer wisely, with confidence that you’re making an informed decision that will serve you well in your career?
It begins by understanding your own professional goals, and then comparing the opportunities against four key metrics:
- Job responsibilities
- Hiring managers
- Workplace cultures
Job-Hunt tapped certified Career Coach and Resume Writer Dawid Wiacek, Founder of Career Fixer LLC, to lead job seekers through the benchmarking process in each of these areas.
Review Your Career and Advancement Goals
To hone in on which of your job offers might be right for you, the first step is to truly understand your own objectives when it comes to your career progression.
To that end, Wiacek recommended thinking critically about not just the job in question but about the doors this type of job may open—either within the company itself or elsewhere.
He suggested asking yourself whether each of the positions offered is a stepping-stone job for you and examining whether the company truly invests in internal training and development to arm its employees with the tools and skills necessary for growth and evolution. “If possible, talk to current or, better yet, former employees, who may give you insight into the way the company invests in its people,” Wiacek said. “This may or may not align with the rosy picture painted on the company’s ‘Career’ or ‘About Us’ pages.”
Understand the Job Responsibilities
While the jobs you’ve applied to may have the same title and, at least in the job ad, the same role, it’s important to dig deeper into what’s really required when selecting among multiple offers.
According to Wiacek, many jobs ask for one thing on paper, but the reality of the daily work can be quite different, so it’s helpful to talk to current and former employees to get a sense of the reality of the responsibilities.
“If you can do 100% or even 80% of the responsibilities as listed in the job description, that might engender confidence, but it might also be risky—you might get easily bored,” Wiacek said. “Is this a lateral move, or are you trying to stretch, learn, challenge yourself, and grow?” Your answers for each offer can help inform your decision of which job to take.
Look at Salaries
Assuming that pay is one reason that you’re seeking employment, it’s important to weigh each offer head-to-head from the perspective of compensation.
However, there’s more to consider in this comparison than just the base pay; there’s also possible bonus structure and other benefits to explore, which could come into play with counteroffers once you’ve determined each company’s offering.
“If you’re not quite happy with the base salary, and you feel you’ve negotiated it to the best of your abilities, consider asking each employer who has offered you a job whether a performance-based bonus structure is possible,” Wiacek advised. “It’s a win-win for you and for the company: when you deliver certain performance milestones, the company benefits, and you earn a bonus.”
If one company says yes and another says no to this request, then you’ll have more information to guide your decision.
Compare Hiring Managers
While it may not be possible to know exactly what it would be like to work with each of the bosses who are offering you a job, you can still take steps to compare hiring managers before accepting an offer.
Wiacek stressed that you should do “as much reconnaissance as is reasonably possible” on the person who would be your supervisor, including talking to current or former employees who may be willing to give you the lowdown on this person’s best, and worst, features.
“It’s often said that employees leave companies because of a bad boss,” the career coach stated. “People are willing to tolerate a lot of crap, from annoyingly long commutes (at least pre-pandemic) to companies whose missions don’t fully align with their own values. But when you have a boss who is toxic, demeaning, who throws you under the bus, or who doesn’t support and cultivate your skills, you’re not likely to thrive…and you’re not likely to stay.”
Compare Workplace Cultures
As a career coach, Wiacek shared that culture is “the thing” that all of his clients talk about, especially since the pandemic started.
“People’s tolerance is wearing thin for crappy workplace cultures, unclear or sketchy company missions, overbearing or toxic bosses, and lack of diversity in company leadership,” he reported.
With this in mind, Wiacek advised doing your due diligence into the company culture of each organization you’re considering. “If the company culture is not aligned with your personal values and vibe, you’re likely to get disillusioned really quickly. And if you’ve not bought into the company culture, you won’t be as innovative, excited, and collaborative as if you joined a company whose culture will nourish your mind and soul.”
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