Whether you're job hunting for the first time, between jobs or still employed, choosing the best offer can be a challenge. It's hard to decide which company is the right fit, especially with all the different factors that go into each job offer. From salary and benefits to company culture and career advancement possibilities, there's a lot to consider.
Having multiple offers is an enviable position to be in, but it's not so uncommon, either, said Margaret Freel, corporate recruiter at TechSmith, a business and academic software company.
"Top talent is a much bigger priority in today's marketplace so it's not at all unusual for high-quality candidates to multiple offers," she said.
If you're debating between two or more offers, here are a few tips to help you make your decision.
1. Determine your priorities
What matters most to you — location? Job duties? Lifestyle? It's important to consider your priorities and how well each job would accommodate for them.
"The most important things to look for in a job offer will depend on where you're at in your life and career," said Kelly Donovan, job search consultant and principal at Kelly Donovan & Associates. "Your top priority could be compensation, or it could be acquiring new skills and experience. Make sure you understand your current priorities as you evaluate job offers."
"It's best to start your job search with a list of what you want in the new job," added Jason Dukes, business coach and founder of Captain's Chair Coaching. "Once you begin to receive offers, you can compare the jobs to your list to see which one best fits your criteria, and then choose."
When the offer comes in, you should take time to determine whether it's about money or more than that. You shouldn't solely judge the job on the salary, says Thomas J. Ward, executive director of the Center for Career Development at Adelphi University. This, he said, is a common mistake among job seekers.
"You need to be able to pay your bills and sustain your lifestyle, but taking a job purely based on a larger paycheck can set you up for failure and disappointment," Ward said.
2. Consider the potential workplace
The company culture and type of people you work with will affect your day-to-day and long-term job satisfaction. How happy you'll be overall is the single most important factor to consider, said Joanie Spain, career advisor at Indiana University, Jacobs School of Music.
James Westhoff, director of career services, Husson University, agreed: "Consider the environment and culture of the organization. Is it a place where you can advance, and do you feel like you fit in well? If you are not happy at the organization, salary is not going to matter, and you most likely will not perform to the best of your ability."
Moreover, do you have a future at this company? Mish Southgate, career coach and founder, Visibility Careers advised focusing on your future by reflecting on the following areas for each potential employer:
- What type of career path can you expect from taking a position there?
- Does the company consider the development of their people a priority?
- Will you be given opportunities to build on your skills and take on stretch assignments?
"You can determine a lot about how a company both operates and treats their employees, from the interview and offer process. Use your own intuition with things that give you pause for concern; that's an excellent internal barometer to consider in these situations," Freel said. "It's important to not jump to conclusions, though, as well. If there's something you're unsure about, ask questions and see how they answer."
3. Be your own advocate
If the company is putting pressure on you to accept an offer, explain to them that you would like more time and the reason why, said Freel. If the company truly values the candidate for that position — as opposed to just wanting to fill the position with whomever they can find — they will allow a reasonable amount of time to make a decision.
"If [they don't], then you may have your answer about how they treat quality candidates," she said.
Additional reporting by Brittney Morgan (Helmrich). Some source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.