After trawling through job ads, working with a recruitment consultant and putting your best foot forward in interviews, you’re eagerly awaiting that phone call – hopefully bearing good news. Then it happens. You’ve done the unthinkable and landed not one, but multiple jobs.
It’s an enviable position to be in, but it doesn’t come without its own stressors and drawbacks, leading to the ultimate question...
Which job should you pick?
We sat down with our Managing Consultant of Marketing & Senior Appointments, Hannah Ealson, to get some tips on how to ensure you’re making the best decision for you.
A helpful way to go about this is to think about what the non-negotiables in your life are.
“Your priorities are going to change over time. For example, when I was in my mid-20s I was focused on rapidly growing my career. But where I’m at now, I have a little dog and a family at home which changes my priorities, so if I have to be in the office 16-hours a day, long term that’s not going to work.”
How accommodating a contender is towards your non-negotiables might make things a lot clearer.
“A company that's right for you will respect what’s important to you and want to accommodate that. It comes down to knowing what you want and communicating that.”
Write down your priorities, compare these with what each company is offering and go with the job offer that’s best aligned to your values.
1. Do your research and dig deeper with your questions
If you’ve got as far as securing a few offers, you’re at the finish line – but that doesn’t mean you can’t take your time to dig a little bit deeper and get a real feel for what each company is about. In fact, your prospective employer is going to expect it.
“In the same way that employers will ask you questions and expect examples, I often encourage candidates to do the same. For example, if an employer says there’s opportunity for career progression; what are those pathways? Has someone previously held this role and successfully followed those pathways? Another common one is flexibility which is pretty subjective. There’s a big difference between “we’ll let you go to your doctor's appointment if you ask nicely” and “we empower our teams to work anywhere in the world” - always ask for examples and context.”
It’s also a good idea to do your research about each contending company and ask around.
“You’re also able to conduct ‘reference checks’ on an employer. If you’ve been working for a while in an industry, you're probably going to know people who’ve worked or currently work in certain companies before, so get their opinion and see how they found it. Just remember there’s always a little bit of bias, but it can be a good indication.”
While you’re doing your research, remember that your recruiter has your back and can offer some guidance too.
“At 84, ‘you first’ is one of our values. We’re a candidate led agency, who operate within specialist markets. Your best interest is our best interest, so we’re going to introduce you to companies where there is alignment. We’re always open to an honest conversation about your opportunities and which company is going to meet your needs best.”
2. Spot red flags and go with your gut
In some scenarios, the job offers you’re deciding between might not have much of a difference in terms of benefits. If all your opportunities are value-aligned, the good news is you’re in a great, win-win position. That said, making the choice can be that much more difficult.
Hannah suggests that this is when paying attention to the smaller things can make all the difference.
“When you went for your interview, did people greet you when you arrived, or smile at you as you sat nervously in reception? Were the people friendly, do they seem happy? It’s such simple things that can be quite telling f you just look up and pay attention to what's going around you.”
There also are a few red flags you can spot early on, too.
“In terms of red flags, a good question to ask is how many people have been in the role before you. You can figure that out quite quickly through LinkedIn.”
All of these smaller things will give you a better feel for each company and help you pick up on any bad vibes early on.
“Ultimately though, it’s about trusting your values, really honing in on your questions and going with your gut on who is going to serve you best.”
3. Don’t fall for the dangling carrot
A common mistake that Hannah has observed is people going for the biggest salary on offer and disregarding those other important factors. Ideally, salary shouldn’t be the only thing you’re basing your decision on if you want overall longevity and happiness in a role.
“Sometimes I see people being tempted to take the shiny salary that’s offering a few thousand dollars extra a year. That extra money might not actually make much of a difference to your personal budget particularly on a week to week basis, and you might be giving up some satisfaction and happiness in exchange.”
There are other factors that might get you further in the long term, with better job satisfaction along the way.
“A clear, proven progression plan might take you to the next step faster than the job that’s offering a slightly higher base salary. Always think strategically and long term. Also, that big salary you just commanded is going to come with even bigger expectations - and potential vulnerabilities should market conditions change”
That said, a salary increase can be your motivation and the key difference between one dream job and another offer.
“It’s perfectly reasonable to be transparent and say, “salary is really important to me at this stage of my career – and give your prospective employer an opportunity to come to the party. Honesty is key here - you’re not playing one off against the other; you’re being upfront. I have had clients that were very frustrated they missed out on a candidate, and felt they weren’t given the information required to present a compelling offer.”
You might be surprised at the outcome.
4. Honesty is the best policy
Asking questions and juggling a few offers on the go can make even the most confident candidate nervous. It can be challenging to navigate the situation without ruffling a few feathers and feeling like you’re letting someone down.
In Hannah’s experience, it’s important to be realistic and trust that people value transparency just as you do.
“I think being honest, transparent and respectful is the way to go. The employer hasn’t only interviewed you; they’ve gone to market looking at multiple options – so equally, they should expect that you’ve interviewed elsewhere too. It’s quite okay to be open about that. At the end of the day, it’s usually when people aren’t transparent that things can go south.”
Transparency is also what’s going to guarantee that a company is truly a good fit for you.
“It’s kind of like dating – if someone really wants something that you don’t (like kids, or travel), there’s no point pretending. It’s not going to be sustainable in the long term. You’ve got to be upfront about what you want in your career too. It might feel uncomfortable initially, but effective communication, which is a desirable trait - to both prospective employers and dates.”
With your cards on the table, a realistic and honest self evaluation of what your priorities are at that point in time and weighing up the options, you’ll likely find that one of your offers is a clear winner.
Thinking it might be time for your next move? We’re here to help. Get in touch with Hannah at firstname.lastname@example.org