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Dueling Job Offers: How to Make a Decision

by Julie Rains, for Women & Co

When looking for a new job, you naturally focus on impressing potential employers. But what happens when you succeed and get more than one offer at the same time? How do you choose?

If you find yourself in such a happy predicament, don’t feel rushed to make a decision. Tell each employer that you are excited about the opportunity, but need time to consider. Give a reasonable timeframe in which you’ll either accept or reject the offer. In the meantime, weigh these aspects of each position to help you pick the right job:

Determine your value to the organization. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, a major factor in job satisfaction is the opportunity to contribute skills and abilities. To assess whether you’ll be able to demonstrate your strengths, think about how your potential supervisor and coworkers interacted with you during interviews, plus how your capabilities mesh with the employer’s needs. Ask yourself if you feel respected for your experiences and appreciated for what you offer the organization.

Evaluate professional development opportunities. Look at how the company invests in its employees, particularly if you are eager to build or reestablish a career. You may also want to pose questions that customer acquisition and retention specialist Karen Myers suggests in her advice to a member of Connect, Citi’s network of professional women on LinkedIn:

  • Do both jobs offer great training?
  • Does either environment make you more comfortable asking questions?
  • Is there opportunity to grow your skills and position beyond the job you are applying for?

Consider each employer’s commitment to initial training and ongoing professional development.

Evaluate needs relating to work-life balance. Review factors relating to work-life balance unique to your individual circumstances. For example, consider daily commuting times and overnight travel requirements, and how they may impact achievement of both your personal and professional goals.

In addition, ask yourself if flexibility is important, especially if you have children at home or you periodically need time to care for the needs of elderly parents or family members.

Review the compensation package, including pay, benefits, and time off. As you evaluate intangibles, pay attention to the basics of compensation. Review hourly wages or annual salaries and bonus opportunities, along with employee benefits. Scrutinize retirement plans, noting employer contributions to 401(k) plans and/or profit-sharing plans, as well as health insurance plans, including provider networks, deductibles, and out-of-pocket maximums. Compare personal time off and paid vacation days, as these add value to your benefits package and help you maintain a desirable work-life balance.

Consider job security. After landing a job, you likely want to keep the position for a while. Be optimistic, but don’t forget the possibility that you could find yourself searching again soon for various reasons. To choose wisely, start by evaluating the financial soundness and long-term economic viability of each potential employer. Tap online sources and your network to gauge the suitability of the organization as a long-term place of employment.

Keep in mind that factors important to you may differ from elements prized by friends and professional colleagues.Motivational speaker and action coach Jill Haseltine summarizes: “Make your decision based on your priorities. Do you need money more than flexibility, or ideal hours more than money? Decide based on what you need now and what will put you in a good position for the future.”