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Choosing Between Two Job Offers

Tags:  Job offer, Salary levels, Looking for work

First, congratulations are in order. In today's economy many job seekers are finding it difficult to land one job offer, and now you have two to consider. Or is it that you've been offered a job and are still waiting to hear back from the second employer – the one where you would really prefer to work?


Making a choice can be tough. But that's what being a grown up means. We have to make difficult choices. However, just because there is no tried-and-true formula or perfect answer for your dilemma, it doesn't mean you're stuck. Here are a few things you should consider before choosing between two job offers.


A Bird in the Hand…


You know what people say about the grass being greener? Well, this is a fine example. If you have two jobs you are interested in and one employer beats the other to the punch on making a job offer, you really need to consider carefully what you give up by not accepting. That being said, you do have some wiggle room before you make a firm commitment.


First, make sure that the salary, terms of employment such as location, start date, job title and benefits, and the job itself meet with your expectations. If they don't, then you need to rethink whether this is the right offer for you regardless of any other factors.


Next, consider why the second job is more attractive. Company reputation? Opportunity for growth? Whatever it is, can you live without it?


Next, because this is a very important decision ask the first company for time to think it through. You may even want to mention – diplomatically, of course – that you are weighing other offers, so they understand your position. Be very specific about when you will make your decision. Or, better yet, ask them by when they need an answer. This will tell you how flexible they are.


Be forewarned, if they give you a deadline, especially a short one, it may be there is an alternate candidate waiting in the wings ready to snap up your job with a moment's notice. If you don't respond in a timely manner, your decision may be made for you.


Finally, give the second employer a call and, without divulging who the competition is, explain the situation in a non-threatening manner. No ultimatums. Just tell them what's going on, reiterate your interest and ask how soon they might be making a decision.


It may come quickly, and then you can really choose between the two offers. It may come too late, at which point, you're probably wise to take the offer you have. Ultimately, however, the decision is yours.


Juggling Two Offers


But what if you have two offers in front of you and really have to make a decision between the two? Obviously, this is a much more enviable position. Now you can compare the specific offers side-by-side to determine which one is the better way to go.


Here's where you need to develop a comparison list in order to look at those things that are important to you. The list will probably include things like base salary, bonus opportunity, and specific benefits. You'll want to break these down into health insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, life insurance or whatever else is offered to get a true comparison. You may even go so far as to look at the employer matching amount in the 401K plan or whether the insurance is paid for by the employer.


The whole idea is to get a true understanding of what you will get and what you will give up (or are willing to give up) by making your decision. And don't forget to consider bigger picture benefits like learning opportunities or advancement possibilities, if those are important to you.


Choosing between two job offers can be tough, but it is a matter of balance. Identifying what you want from your career and employer and then finding the best match.



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