Decisions, decisions: How to choose between job offers

Posted on Friday, September 1, 2017 by The MSS teamNo comments

 

It’s a nice problem to have, but choosing between job offers can be a difficult and stressful task. And time is not a luxury.

Although you’re clearly in popular demand, you don’t want to get off on the wrong foot with a new employer by deliberating over either position for too long. So how can you cut the internal dialogue and come to a decision?

Personally, we’ve not always found the advice ‘listen to your gut’ to be very helpful – your gut can change on a daily, even hourly basis and when you’re used to rationalising business decisions it can be easy for your brain to get stuck in a continual debate. However, the following techniques have proved to be very helpful for many of our candidates:

Get more information

Your indecision may be simply down to not having all the information you need to confidently make an informed choice.  If this is the case, make a list of what you need to know and see if you can schedule a follow up call or meeting with your recruiter or the employer to address them. If your questions are straightforward, a brief email will suffice – just make sure if they’re financial queries that you don’t come across too money hungry.

Write it all down

Getting all the pros and cons down on paper can work wonders and help you identify a clear winner. It might seem a bit over the top, but a SWOT analysis can help separate the hard facts about the jobs (strengths and weaknesses) from the possible outcomes of taking them (threats and opportunities). For example, one job may pay less than the other (weakness), but if it offers a greater opportunity for promotion or career advancement you won’t want to automatically discount it. Likewise, one job might be more exciting (strength) but present a potential threat to your personal reputation because it’s a new and unknown business. Writing things out is also a very cathartic way of processing your thoughts.

Decide what’s most important

You’ve done your pros and cons or SWOT analysis and…it’s a tie! Now what? Assigning a score to each item based on how important it is to you can be a great help when both jobs look equally appealing on paper. Be honest with yourself, how vital on a score of 1-10 is each particular pro or con to you? Everyone is different; for some, financial rewards might be more important than flexible working, for others the opposite might be the case. If you’ve done a SWOT you can use the same scoring for the opportunities and threats to quantify your perceived likelihood of each happening. Hopefully after this exercise, you’ll be a little clearer on which job is a better fit with your ideal role.

Trust your instinct

Yes, yes – we did say listening to your gut wasn’t particularly helpful. But that aside, if you’ve taken all the steps above and something about one or both of the job offers makes you feel uncomfortable or consistently raises doubts for you, it’s probably best to decline it.

Test it out

If after everything, you’re still stuck between two equally viable options, it’s probably safe to say that either choice will be a good one. In these situations, vocalising your decision to close family or friends and seeing how it sounds out loud can be a great way to confirm whether it’s the right choice for you.  

 

Being in the fortunate position of having two job offers to choose between can often be more nerve-wracking than exciting. And the pressure to make a quick decision can cloud your judgement and make it a less than enjoyable experience. If you want to avoid such a dilemma in future, the best advice we can give is to clarify what you want from a job well in advance of considering the offer – ideally at the application stage.

 

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