Resist the temptation to accept the first job offer on the spot. Now that you have multiple employers to choose from, take a step back and ask each for a deadline by which they need your decision. Most decent employers will understand accepting a job is a big decision and will give you a few days or a week to make up your mind.
Use this time wisely and consider these tips on how to handle multiple job offers.
Get all the facts Hopefully you’ve got a pretty good idea from the selection process of what the job itself will entail and what the teams are like. If you still have any lingering questions, ask the hiring manager about anything you are unsure of or would like clarification on, such as benefits, career progression or working conditions. Make sure you have as complete a picture as possible so you can make a fully informed decision.
Weigh up the pros and cons Draw up a decision matrix to help you compare the offers. On a piece of paper (or an Excel spreadsheet) create columns for each job offer, plus one. In the first, write the attributes you care most about at work, such as job title, room for growth, commute, ability to work from home (or not), working hours or company culture. Put a number from one to 10 in the subsequent columns about how much that particular role will fulfil that attribute.
Once you’ve done that, sleep on it or take a break and do something completely different. Come back to the matrix with a fresh mind. Also, don’t ignore your gut – sometimes instinct is the best indicator of whether a job is for you or not.
Who’s your boss? Consider the person you will be interacting with most on a daily basis. What was your impression of them? Will they be a terrible or more nurturing? Did you like them, or fear them? Will you learn from them? Can you imagine being in their shoes in a few years’ time? We spend a decent chunk of our waking lives at work, so getting on with – and respecting – your boss is crucial.
Think about the long term One job may be more attractive in the short term, but what about five years down the line? As mentioned above, can you imagine wanting to be in your boss’ shoes eventually? Consider whether the firm offers learning and development opportunities, if there is room for you to be promoted or if the company offers benefits such as mobility within the firm’s offices, at home or abroad.
Salary matters Assuming you’ve decided one job is more interesting to you overall than another, but the salary is lower, see if you can negotiate the salary and benefits. This takes diplomatic skill, but you can go back to the hiring manager: express your gratitude and interest in the company and say it is your first choice, but can they nudge the salary. Here are five strategies to negotiate your salary and benefits.
How the firm responds will be revealing. If they reply that they will see what they can do (even if they nudge it up just a little, or offer to raise the salary after a defined period of time) then you know they mean business and are invested in you. If they seem horrified you dared to query the initial offer, then you’ve found out something important about the company culture.