Evaluating Multiple Employment Offers

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Though some IT professionals might still find it difficult to secure an employment offer from the company of their choice, those with the most in-demand skills could find themselves with two or more offers from which to choose. It’s enviable to be courted by multiple employers, but deciding which position to accept is no simple task. Accepting a job that’s not ideal could stall or derail your long-term goals, so it’s vital to thoughtfully evaluate both offers before making your final decision. Following are some issues to consider when choosing the right position.

Take Your Time
It’s important to take a few days to deliberate over both employment offers to avoid making a snap decision. If you rush this process, you might miss an important element that makes one of the jobs more appealing than the other. You’ll want time to contemplate the pros and cons of each position, and you might want to discuss the jobs with your friends and family. Because they know you well, they should have useful insight.

Just don’t delay too long: If you do, you might cause both prospective employers to question your enthusiasm. You also risk losing the job offers to other candidates. If you have any reservations about either position, now is the time to bring your concerns to the attention of the hiring manager so he or she can address them.

Salary is Important, But It’s Not Everything
First, make sure both positions offer you a salary that is commensurate with your experience level and job responsibilities. Industry publications such as Robert Half Technology’s annual Salary Guide (available at www.rht.com) or CertMag.com’s Salary Survey can provide additional insight.

Assuming the compensation of both positions is enough to meet your basic needs, don’t let minimal differences in pay distract you from other features of the offers. For example, one firm might provide you with a smaller salary but provide a sizable bonus if certain performance objectives are met. Or a young company may supplement your compensation with stock options. Additional benefits also could cause you to accept less compensation. Perhaps one firm offers telecommuting options: This flexibility may be worth a trade-off in pay.

Looking Past Salary and Benefits
Indeed, although salary and benefits are frequently the most important factors when choosing between two jobs, other elements, such as the opportunity to gain new skills, also should be taken under consideration. For example, one position might require you to manage 10 people, while in the other you’ll oversee just two. If you enjoy managing others and want to increase your experience in this area, the former may be the better choice for you. But if you are a programmer who thrives when performing hands-on work, managing 10 individuals would likely prevent you from focusing on what you enjoy most about your work.

You also should determine which job offers the most opportunity for career growth. Be sure to ask each hiring manager why the person who previously held the position vacated the role. If he or she has moved up in the company, it’s a good indication there’s a job path for you as well. If he or she left the company after holding the position for several years, your career mobility may be limited.

Corporate culture can be another factor in your decision. One of the jobs might be with a company that has a formal atmosphere, while the other is with a business where the CEO wears shorts to the office. Which place falls more within your comfort zone? Along similar lines, do you prefer the stability of a large company to the excitement of a small one? Are you willing to work the long hours that a startup business often requires? Would you prefer working for a public or private firm?

A final, extremely important area of consideration when deciding between two jobs is how you get along with your potential colleagues and supervisor. Often, this part of the decision-making process has more to do with a gut feeling than hard facts. Did you feel more at ease with one hiring manager over the other? What was your impression of those you met during the hiring process or in the hall? When all other things are equal, taking note of your comfort level at each potential place of work can help tip the scales.

Receiving not one but two offers of employment is thrilling for any job seeker. Just be sure to take the time for a proper evaluation of both positions: You want to choose the job that is the best match for your work style and long-term career goals.

Katherine Spencer Lee is executive director of Robert Half Technology, a provider of IT professionals on a project and full-time basis. She can be reached at klee@certmag.com.

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