How to Choose Between Two Job Offers

by Lisa McQuerrey

While it might seem like a great problem to have, choosing between two job offers can be a stressful and nerve-racking experience. You're likely being pressured by both employers for an answer while simultaneously trying to make a determination about which job best meets your needs. Don't be rushed into a decision before giving careful thought to the pros and cons of each opportunity.

Long-Term Career Plans

If you haven't already mapped out a career plan, give some thought to what type of career path you want to take over the coming years. Consider not only your chosen field, but the geographic area you'd like to live, the upper echelon of your career trajectory you want to reach and what your plans are in terms of earning potential, having a family and feeling professionally fulfilled. Having this information in front of you will help you assess which one of the two job offers is more likely to help you achieve your ultimate career goals.

Pro and Con List

Perform a simple exercise of drawing a line down the center of a piece of paper and writing the pros of a job on one side and the cons on the other. Repeat for each of your two offers. Be honest with yourself in judging everything, no matter how trivial. Consider big-ticket issues like salary, benefits, growth potential and job responsibilities. Also consider smaller issues such as how far your commute is, how big your office is and whether or not you like the office decor. As your lists begin to develop, you're likely to find yourself leaning more toward one job than the other.

The People

If you've been offered a job, you’ve probably had the opportunity to meet some of the people you'd be working with. If not, ask the hiring manager to set up a time for you to meet potential future colleagues. These are the people you’ll be interacting with on a daily basis, and it will make your work life more pleasant and productive if you like them. Ask questions about job satisfaction, teamwork and camaraderie and what employees most enjoy about working for the company. The feedback you get should give you an indication of the workplace dynamic.

Final Negotiations

If you’ve fully assessed each job offer and still can't make a decision, go back to each employer and attempt to negotiate a better deal for yourself. Ask for a bump in salary, additional vacation days or different perks and benefits. See which company makes you the best deal and use that as the criteria for making your final decision. Don't take too long juggling the two offers or you run the risk of losing them both. Have an understanding with each employer about how long you have to assess the offer and make a final decision. Notify the company you don't select immediately so it can continue its search for another candidate.

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