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Choosing Between Job Offers? 8 Tips for Making a Decision

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g-stockstudio/Shutterstock
  • Having multiple job offers is not uncommon and requires the candidate to determine top priorities when deciding between positions. Weigh salary, benefits, vacation time, job responsibilities, schedule and location.
  • Assessing each job setting, advancement potential and manager is a strategy to help you choose a preferred position.
  • Make your final decision within a reasonable timeframe and let each party know promptly. This is a professional courtesy and will keep your reputation intact.  

You're job hunting, and you interview for several positions you are qualified for. Soon enough, the offers start rolling in, but you're torn about which one to choose. Between salary, benefits, 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, said Margaret Freel, corporate recruiter at TechSmith, a business and academic software company.

If you're debating between two or more offers, here are a few tips to help you make your decision.

First, you need to consider your priorities – such as location, certain job duties or overall lifestyle – and how well each job would accommodate them.

"It's best to start your job search with a list of what you want in the new job," said 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."

Maritza De La Cruz, senior bilingual staff recruiter for Combined Insurance, stressed the importance of a holistic approach to examining a job offer. In other words, don't just consider the money.

"Review each opportunity as a whole package in terms of location, salary, benefits, 401(k), medical insurance cost/coverage, bonus, equity," De La Cruz said. "I think it is extremely important that applicants look at company culture fit, financial stability and whether the company empowers you to grow professionally."

Most importantly, said De La Cruz, assess how confident you are that you complement the existing team.

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's Jacobs School of Music.

Freel agreed, noting that you can learn a lot about how a company operates and treats its employees just 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."

Although the phone call notifying you of a job offer may seem urgent and intimidating, don't feel pressured to say yes or no on the spot. De La Cruz recommends that candidates who have received a job offer decline or accept within two business days.

"In my experience, if a candidate goes beyond that, the prospective employer starts sensing red flags in their mind," she said.

Plus, if the prospective employer reacts impatiently to waiting two days for a decision, that is a reflection of the company's office culture, and you should take that into consideration while making your decision.

If the company is putting pressure on you to accept an offer, explain that you would like more time and the reason why, said Freel. If the company truly values you for that position – as opposed to just wanting to fill the position with whomever it can find – it will allow a reasonable amount of time for you to make a decision.

"If [they don't], then you may have your answer about how they treat quality candidates," Freel said.

Although a job may be a good fit right now, gauge future potential before accepting the offer. If you have long-term career goals, the position should fit in with those goals. Take the time to see yourself in the job for the next five to ten years. Can you imagine working for the organization for the foreseeable future? Does one company offer more advancement opportunities? Does one of the companies provide onsite training to help you advance your career?

In spite of an attractive salary package, a new job loses its appeal if you're unable to work well with management. Meet with managers and gauge how well you can communicate with one another. The ideal manager motivates employees and zeroes in on their strengths. If a manager has an aggressive personality and doesn't provide positive feedback, then the job may not be right for you.

Don't discount a sinking feeling you have about a job. Although a position sounds good on paper, you may have noticed a red flag or two during the hiring process. When you were at the office, how did the work environment come across? Did you get a feel for company morale? If you didn't feel a positive vibe at the office, then maybe the company isn't for you.

Finally, if you're really torn between two positions, imagine a day at each position. What would your average day look like? Does one prospect sound more appealing than the other? This scenario also provides an opportunity to determine your likes and dislikes about each job. Make a list of each and compare the two to finalize your decision.

Business News Daily Editor

Business News Daily was founded in 2010 as a resource for small business owners at all stages of their entrepreneurial journey. Our site is focused exclusively on giving small business advice, tutorials and insider insights. Business News Daily is owned by Business.com.