What to do when you find yourself in the sticky situation of trying to choose between multiple jobs.
It finally happened, the moment you’ve been waiting for. You’ve spent so much time preparing for interviews, talking about your strengths, and making yourself stand out from everyone else. And you did it — you got a job offer! The sun is shining brighter, your coffee tastes slightly less bitter, and the birds are chirping just for you. It’s the best day ever!
But wait — you just got yet another job offer, and a third one might be on the way. Now this exciting moment has turned into a stressful nightmare. What do you do? Which job should you take? Why is everything spinning?
Relax! Even though this can be tough situation, it’s a good problem to have. Before you start cursing yourself for being so charming and well-qualified, go ahead and give yourself a pat on the back. Now it’s time to start comparing and contrasting the jobs to figure out which one is the best for you.
1. Even though this is an exciting moment, try to fight the urge to accept right on the spot if you have other job offers on the horizon. Express your excitement and gratitude without actually saying “yes” or accepting the offer. Ask the employer when they need to know your final decision, and let them know that you’ll get back to them with your answer. Then proceed to do a happy dance!
2. If you have to, try to negotiate when you have to give your final answer. One way you can do this is to request something that will cause a reasonable delay, like asking to meet with your future co-workers. Just make sure that you ask in a way that doesn’t make them doubt your interest in the job.
Is that your final answer?
3. If you’re still waiting to hear back from another employer, mention that you’ve received another job offer and ask if they might be able to speed up the process. Remember to be professional and avoid saying things like “Could I get that job offer already? Jeez, you take forever.”
Instead, try to say something along the lines of, “I recently received a job offer from another company and was wondering if you could possibly let me know where I stand in your hiring process by this date.”
If you use this method, you should have a response ready in case the other company says no. If they do happen to refuse your request, try not to cry — just say that you’ll try to get an extension on the offer you’ve already gotten.
4. Learn everything you can about each company so you can compare and contrast them to make the best choice for your future. Reach out to the employers and ask for any information about salary and benefits, opportunities for growth, schedules, working conditions, job duties, or anything else you’re curious about. If free snacks are important to you, try to figure out how many boxes of goldfish they keep in their kitchen at all times.
5. Make a list of the factors of each job that matter the most to you, including things like stress level and your projected work/life balance, and figure out how much of those aspects you can expect to have with each job. Use this information along with your gut instinct to make your decision. Your true feelings can be a good indicator of whether you should take a job or not.
6. Ask yourself which job will bring you closer to your ultimate career goals. Which job is going to give you the most experience, skill development, or knowledge in a new field. Are there opportunities for sponsorship or mentorship? Salary is important, but potential for growth and development are equally important.
If both jobs stack up the same, consider things like daily commute time and company culture. If one job will add an hour onto your commute or if you can see yourself fitting in at one company more than another, you may have your answer.
Make sure that you actually have a written offer before you make any moves. Verbal offers don’t count as real offers, but you haven’t yet gotten your offer in writing, you can use that to your advantage to buy you an extra day or two before you have to make your decision. You can respond to the employer who gave you the verbal offer and ask when you can expect to receive it in writing.
Be honest and mention that you have a job offer from another employer. This can be a risky move, but most employers will probably see you as more valuable if they can see that you’re in high demand. Employers will most likely appreciate your honesty and give you a small extension.
If both companies meet your needs, you might try letting each one know that you’re considering other offers and seeing how they respond. Depending on how badly they want you for the job, they might offer you additional perks to help you make your decision. On the other hand, if they react negatively — that might be enough to give you your answer.
Try not to boast about your many job prospects and avoid being arrogant. Don’t be a jerk. You should show them that you’re grateful for both opportunities, not act like you’re the greatest thing to ever happen to the world (this would be impossible, because we all know that Beyoncé is the greatest thing to happen to the world).
When you’ve finally made your decision, you should contact the company you turn down and kindly ask to remove yourself from the hiring process and thank them for their time. Even though it’s awkward to talk to people who are disappointed or frustrated with us, it’s important to end the process with a round of thank you’s, especially if they gave you extra time and consideration.
Remember that even though this is a tough spot to be in, it’s a good problem to have. Try to keep in mind that a lot of people would be thrilled to be in your position. You should ultimately do what’s best for your career goals, and congratulate yourself on your hard work.
Beyoncé would be proud.
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