Having a selection of employment opportunities to pick from seems like a “good problem” to have — but that doesn’t mean choosing between two job offers is easy.
There’s a lot that goes into deciding which business or organization to work for, including company culture, career goals and more. Salary, in particular, can play one of the largest roles in why potential employees take or turn down a job.
To guide you through this process, we’ve put together a list of ways to gather information when choosing between two job offers.
12 tips on choosing between two jobs offers
When applying to multiple jobs, you typically hope to get at least one offer. If you get more than one, you may be able to play that in your favor and leverage it for better pay or benefits. When it comes to making the ultimate decision, however, there are a lot of details to weigh and questions to ask yourself.
Here are 12 things to do that can help get you the information you need:
1. Compare salary and benefit offers
2. Ask questions during interviews
3. Assess how each offer aligns with your long-term goals
4. Evaluate the culture at each organization
5. Learn more about your potential managers
6. Imagine yourself in each role
7. Don’t overthink it
8. Negotiate your pay and benefits
9. Consider work-life balance
10. Determine whether there’s room for upward mobility
11. Look into each company’s financial stability
12. Listen to your intuition
● Plus: How to get that first job
One of the most important considerations to take into account when reviewing job offers is salary and benefits. You’ll want to make sure the salary being offered is enough to cover your bill as well as your student loan payments.
Benefits to look out for include paid time off and medical, dental and eye insurance. In addition, does the company offer flexible time off options, including holidays? Is the medical, dental and eye insurance enough to cover check-ups and emergencies? (And if you’re a recent college grad, consider these top-paying entry-level jobs.)
One of the best ways to get a read on a company is to ask questions during your interview process. Often, you’ll interview with multiple people at the company before finding out whether you’ll receive a job offer. At every stage, try to ask questions about the company’s culture, its processes and its work style. This can give you good insight as to whether a company is an appropriate fit for you.
This is the time to think about where you’d like to see yourself in 10 years. How do these potential job offers fit into that plan? In many cases, you’ll have to take small steps up the ladder to get where you want to eventually end up.
For instance, if your goal is to eventually become the director of communications for a large company, you’ll have to learn the ropes first and take various lesser jobs as you climb up the corporate ladder.
The culture of a company — or even an individual department — can play a big role in whether you’ll be happy with your job. Details such as management style, how much overtime you’re expected to work and the social atmosphere in the office can determine which position would be a good fit for your personality and mental health.
Culture may be especially important to you if you find your current work environment uncomfortable and are looking for a new job.
Are you someone who appreciates the oversight from a manager? Or maybe you’re the type of person who works better with more freedom? Each manager has their own unique approach to working with others, and some methods may work better for you than others.
During the interviewing process, if you have a chance to speak to your potential direct supervisor, be sure to ask them lots of questions about their management style and what day-to-day life is like in their department.
Where can you most easily see yourself working? Imagining yourself working in each role can give you a better vision of where you’d be most happy. This is where learning more about a company’s culture, benefits, managers and processes can come in handy. If you can’t envision yourself in a role, the position may not be your dream job.
While it’s important to carefully consider your options and weigh the pros and cons of each opportunity, you could get in your own way by overthinking things. It can be easy to go down too many rabbit holes, focusing on some details that may not prove to be important in the end.
By overcomplicating things, you may feel to paralyzed to make a decision — especially when you need to choose by a particular deadline. Don’t be afraid to ask for one to two days to make your decision; however, don’t wait too long, as some companies may see this as you not being interested in the job.
When choosing between two job offers, you may find that the pay and benefits being offered seem too similar to choose between. While it’s common practice to negotiate benefits and pay with a company that offers you a job, you may be able to leverage this close race to get a better offer from one or both of the competing companies.
Do your research on the job market and get a realistic idea of how much you could ask for. Still, be prepared to justify your request if you encounter pushback.
It’s not all just about the job: When you first start your career, it may be tempting to dedicate your entire life to proving yourself to your company or your supervisor. However, this can lead to burnout — which can ultimately lead to poor motivation and a decrease in performance. You’re more likely to excel at your job if you have a healthy work-life balance.
When going through the interview process, be sure to ask about how the company encourages employees to manage their work and personal lives. Knowing about policies for working overtime or taking time off can help give you an overall picture.
When considering two jobs, you’ll want to weigh both short- and long-term goals. If you really like a certain company, is there room for growth there? Is there a clear path forward for raises, bonuses, promotions and working your way into other positions or departments?
If not, you may want to consider whether this is a company you’ll be satisfied with in the long term (or even the short term).
It never hurts to spend some time researching the companies you’re considering. See if there are any news articles or reports about a company’s financial standing. Have they laid off employees? If they’re a public company, how is their stock doing?
This kind of information can give you insight into the potential future of the company and its longevity. You wouldn’t want to get a new job, only to face unemployment soon after.
At the end of the day, if you’re having trouble choosing between two job offers, trust your gut. Your instincts can help you pick up on information and details you might not have noticed at first glance.
And if neither feels right to you, you can always say no to both and continue your search, particularly if job boards suggest there are more opportunities out there.
Of course, most jobs won’t necessarily fall straight into your lap. While some students are lucky enough to be recruited by interested employers, the vast majority of graduates will need to put in the time and effort to apply for their first post-graduation position.
If you’re nearing the end of your academic career — or you’ve already matriculated but haven’t yet found work — there are things you can do to get that first career opportunity. For one thing, check out our guide to 12 tips for making yourself a marketable job candidate.
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