How to Deal with Being Spoilt for Choice with Job Offers
So, here you are. You’ve put in the hard yards in a number of application and interview processes and for all your hard work, you’re rewarded with two attractive job offers. Well done you!
Now, it’s not always necessarily going to be a tough choice – but it is a choice nonetheless and one that you are going to want to pay particular attention to as this decision is likely to carry ramifications much further down the line than you might think. We’ll come to that sort of detail a little later. For now though, let’s look at what you need to take into account and how you might go about ticking your boxes.
To start off, you need to acknowledge what kind of person you are in terms of career motivations. The old “What does success look like?” (Groans from the audience) exercise. It’s important to be honest with yourself here.
No matter what people might say about any particular “Type”, the only opinion of any relevance here, is yours. There are many different categories that you might fall into and don’t feel as though you can only ever be part of one at a time, or that you can never change.
Are you money-focused? Is seniority or “perceived importance” the primary factor for you? Are you looking for as much flexibility as possible? All perfectly relevant, so have a good think.
Here are some areas of focus and what you need to make sure you consider.
The complete job offer package
Not everything is about the dollar figure, but more often than not the swaying factor in these scenarios is which one of them offers you more money. Being motivated by making as much money as possible doesn’t make you greedy, let’s strike down that particular stigma from the get-go.
Remember, the majority of the people who go around saying, “Money isn’t everything”, have never had to worry about it.
Other things to look into, and then look into further;
Holidays – in Ireland the minimum is 20 days per year, but companies often offer more. Ask about “Company days” as you may also get a couple of extra days off if the company closes the office on particular days of the year - Good Friday and Christmas Eve are common.
Some companies might try to lure you in with “Unlimited Annual Leave”. In short, there is no such thing and if they’re making this sort of offer, grill them on what it actually means. It’s likely that this will be performance based and is usually a ploy that, in the end, leads to you taking less time off than if you had a fixed annual leave balance.
Health Insurance – Always a good thing to have, but do be sure to check what level of coverage is on offer. Does it include any dental cover? Does it cover your family/children/dependants? Weigh up the value of this once you get the details.
Pension – What would be your contribution to the pension fund and would the company match it? What percentage of your salary would they contribute each month? If you leave, is that pension transferable? All details you’ll want to know.
Discounts and other benefits – Companies often partner with other businesses to secure discounts for their employees. Gym membership is a common one so it’s worth weighing up the value as some of these could actually end up saving you several hundred, if not thousands of Euros per year.
This could include any number of things and again, somewhat boils back down to your own motivations in this area. Hopefully throughout the process you’ll have had the opportunity to ask questions around where this role could lead you within the company, and be able to ascertain what the next few years could look like in terms of your own career path.
Nowadays, patience is not a virtue commonly found, with practically everything being available at the touch of a button, and it’s no different in our careers and day to day work life.
Don’t be ashamed if you’re aiming for the top and you want to get there fast. There’s also no shame in not being particularly ambitious. Not everybody wants to be ruling the roost, which is handy because nothing would ever get done if that’s all any of us aspired to.
If the quickest route to the top is your bag, then you’ll want to look at which company is likely to offer faster progression or more regular promotions.
You can do this with a bit of leg work by looking up a current employee (looking up a few would be better) in each of the companies that have been around for a few years. This will give you an idea of how frequently they’ve moved up. Better yet, try connecting with them and ask the question.
If you’re happy to really nest in on your role and enjoy the stability of not being dragged along in the rat race, then the same approach as above can be adopted.
Remember, this attitude doesn’t automatically come across as lack of ambition, but rather reliability. Think about which company you're more likely to feel comfortable spending a longer time around the same people.
Any recruiter worth their salt will have access to these kinds of insights and will get this kind of information from you early on in the process. Even if you aren’t asked at the beginning, these are the kinds of things you want to make known.
This particular phrase has been so heavily used for so long, that it’s almost become a cliché. If you think about it though, it’s not at all.
This is the 21st century, and even if some families wanted to (the majority these days don’t), it is nigh on impossible for a family to function using the “One parent goes to work, one parent minds the kids' model.
It just doesn’t work anymore. So flexibility with working hours and where we work from is becoming more and more of a selling point for those in the job market at the moment.
On a personal level here, our family would find things much more difficult if my work didn’t offer me flexibility that it does. I can toil the field (sit in a comfortable chair in our quiet office) in the morning, do the school run mid-afternoon and finish up the final couple of hours of the day from home.
If there’s one thing that I said when Covid-19 was a new thing, it’s that we can well and truly kiss goodbye to the 9 to 5 as we know it. Companies very quickly learned that employees can work from home without compromising productivity, and that we can manage our family lives and other things throughout the day and still get our work done to a good standard.
Whilst it is likely to be some time before contracts alter the pretty standard wording around working or “core” hours, more and more companies are loosening their grip on colleagues being glued to desks for 8 hours at a time. It’s well worth keeping an eye on which one of your suitor companies offers the best approach in this area.
I mentioned at the beginning about decisions that you make now, having an impact further down the line - “The Butterfly Effect” – and they absolutely do. A company might offer you a very attractive starting salary, way above anything any other company is offering, but be advised that, should you move on in 5 years’ time, it’s possible that potential new employers might not carry the same clout and you may have to take a drop if you want a change.
Beware also of being offered a fancy, important-sounding title, or perhaps being called “senior” a little sooner than you should be. Much like “One man’s luxury is another man’s necessity”, one company’s “Senior” can very often be another’s “Associate” and you can almost promote yourself off the scale.
It’s important to take the big picture into account and think long-term. This isn’t always as easy as it sounds since businesses are often in just as much of a hurry to hire, as you are to get on with the process.
I could quite honestly harp on for hours about putting together your pros and cons list and, speaking of honesty, let me leave you with a couple of notes on the subject…
If you are working with a recruiter, they are always going to do whatever they can to get you to choose their offer over the other one. Again, this isn’t all about greed. We have a responsibility to our client and, if we’re not trying to convince you to take our offer, we’re not doing our jobs.
So keep this in mind when discussing what to do with your recruiter, because whilst we will be honest with you (as I am now – shock horror), we’ll always be biased toward our own agenda and that of our client.
If you are in multiple interview processes or have submitted a number of applications at the same time, be open about this with any recruiters or hiring managers you are dealing with.
I’ve touched on this subject before whilst ranting about quick apply buttons. For some reason, people think it’s going to be held against them if they’re also looking elsewhere (Side note on a trade secret, recruiters will be submitting other candidates too). It won’t.
What will go against you is if you suddenly mention it as you’re approaching the finish line. An update on your progress elsewhere should always be the first thing you touch upon whenever you next catch up with whoever you’re dealing with.
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