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 Choosing Between Two Offers

By Joe Stein

It sounds like a country music song. A person having to choose and being torn between two offers. This is an ultimate situation for a Job Seeker. You have reached the finish line of your search and now have to choose between multiple offers. The good news is you can make this decision from your living room rather than the bar of a country honky tonk.
You would think that this would be an easy decision, but it is often far from this simple. It is recommended and typical for a Job Seeker to have a list of criteria to determine if a position is of interest and meets his/her needs. It is different, however, to have to select between two jobs that already meet your basic requirements. This review requires you to do a more in-depth analysis in terms of what is important to you in order to do a deeper comparison between the two offers. I stress taking a more analytical approach to this task in order to remove some of the emotion out of the decision. In these situations when one thinks with their heart rather than their brain, she/he is more likely to make an error.
• Ask Questions and Do Your Final Research - The last thing you want is to uncover an important piece of information after you have made your decision. With having multiple offers, you are now in a position of strength and should feel confident to ask the necessary questions (and insist on the answers). You also can do a deeper online research using any information you pulled during the interview process. It may be to your benefit to actually inform the Recruiter or Hiring Manager that you are considering multiple offers, as they may open up some regarding your questions. If you find that one of the prospective employers is reluctant to provide you the detail asked for, then perhaps this is an indication of which company is the better choice.
• Do a Side-by-Side Comparison - You will want to do a comparison of the received offers. In order to organize your thoughts, you may want to prioritize the items on your list, as well as create a scoring system. This will allow you to properly rank the different comparison items. There are an unlimited number of items you can use for this exercise. There are the most obvious items of compensation and benefits, along with all the sub items that would fall under these two categories. You should also have scheduling, commute, company culture, manager relationship, growth opportunities, etc. as review items.
• Determine Whether Negotiation Is An Option - One item to consider is whether one of your alternatives could perhaps raise their stock by improving their offer upon your request. Some companies have a one-offer only (the first offer is the best) practice, but most organizations will at least listen to reasonable requests to adjust an offer. You will have to determine if the company is open to adjusting and whether any change would be enough to accept this employment offer.
• Who Wants You More? - It is nice to be wanted, and it can be flattering to be “wooed” during the recruiting process. While it can be an important variable in your decision making process, you need to make sure your stroked ego does not lead you down the wrong path. You have to determine if the actions of the prospective employer are genuine and sustainable, or all part of their superficial recruiting efforts.
• Give Yourself Some Time - Don’t rush into this important decision. Often times, a prospective employer will want you to make a decision immediately. You can’t really blame them…they want you and want you as soon as possible. You should be able to buy yourself a couple of days by stating that you need time to review and discuss with your family.
Hey…there are much worse problems to have than this one. You went into your job search hoping to receive a legitimate offer and now you are faced with two (or more!). It is critical, however, that you take the same professional approach to this decision as you have throughout this process.
As always, best of luck in your job search.