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How to choose between two job offers
Three questions to ask yourself when deciding between job offers.
As Manager of the Human Resources recruitment team for Michael Page Hong Kong, I occasionally get asked the same question from candidates close to receiving a job offer: “I have two (or more) job offers and don’t know which one to choose.”
Around twenty percent of the time, when a candidate receives a job offer, they are often involved in a recruitment process for a role in another firm, causing a dilemma for both the candidate and the recruiter(s) involved.
When deciding to explore the market for a new job opportunity, there are a number of parameters people consider during their decision-making process. This includes the nature of the role, salary, location, manager, mobility opportunities and work/life balance. There are longer-term considerations which are often overlooked until an offer is received. I advise candidates to think carefully before choosing which role to take and to consider the following:
1. What is a role’s long-term prospects?
My experience recruiting in all areas of the HR function, across a wide range of international and local businesses, has revealed that candidates will change jobs if they can’t see long-term progression. Being aware up front about the long-term progression and timelines for development will be crucial in the decision-making process.
Asking your potential employer about expected developments in the role within the first two to three years also demonstrates that you are making a committed career move. It also signals to your future employer your intention to progress in your role, not just in terms of title, status or salary, but also in terms of responsibility, whether it be taking on a management role or regional coverage, to name a few.
Maintaining a stable career path is important, but so is personal and professional development gained whilst working within the same organisation. Future employers will want to see evidence of your achievements and progression gained throughout your past roles, as well as commitment so you are not deemed as being disloyal or unstable between companies. Taking a short-term increase in salary or benefits won’t always work out in the long run and could hamper career development gained by committing longer term to your current role.
If you overlooking the longer term progression, for a more immediate title and salary gain, it will possibly be a harder platform from develop on when considering a future position.
2. How was the interview process?
Another important factor to consider was the interview process. Was it professional and smooth from start to finish? Were there any delays in the process? Did the company give you a clear understanding of what would be expected of you and what you could expect from them? Was there anything you were unsure of in terms of the role and responsibilities, or the short/long-term expectations placed on you?
All of these will determine how comfortable you feel when an offer is received and a smooth interview and offer management process are normally indicative of a better company. If two job offers are received and both are smooth, it will be down to considering other factors alongside the development opportunities stated above, including the person you will be reporting to and your professional relationship with them.
3. Which role will benefit my personal/career development?
Every line manager is different in terms of their management style, personality and reputation. It is up to you to determine what you want most out of your line manager and often, during the interview process, candidates are asked to share either their management style, or how they like to be managed.
The professional relationship you build with your line manager is crucial, as a lot of the time you will be spending the majority of your working day with them and they will be assessing your outputs – and achievements. First impressions count and you only have around seven seconds to make this when meeting a potential future employer.
I have had feedback many times from candidates after a first-round interview that they didn’t get on well with the interviewer and it was a personality clash. These things happen, my advice is to give yourself the best chance by going into the interview process with an open mind and no preconceptions.
An entire interview process can be anywhere from one to fifteen rounds in length, depending on the seniority of the role and the nature of the business. Every interviewer’s style will be different as is human nature; people are either drawn to, or away from, those they meet. If being represented by an agent in your job search, then ensure that you ask them as much as you can about the type of person, their background and their personality so you can tailor your interview and answers appropriately.
There are telltale signs that interviewers often possess and those that take time to understand your experience, motivations and how best to harness your talent will also be the ones that can stretch you to your full potential, not just in the long run but in the short term as well. An employer that takes all of the above into account will likely be the better offer if choosing between two roles.
The question you won’t have the answer to is really knowing if you’ve made the right decision before you start. If you choose the wrong role it won’t necessarily have a career limiting impact and there are a myriad of ways to try and improve the situation. If leaving a role after a short period of time, my experience shows that a future employer will either view it positively – that you left the role before getting in too deep, or negatively – you didn’t persevere and could be seen as a quitter. Whichever path you choose, be sure not to burn your bridges and be as transparent as possible.
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After months of job hunting and countless rejections, you’ve been offered two jobs at once. How do you choose which one you want?
· Take your time to consider all aspects of both jobs
· Choose the job that will make you happy
· Trust your instincts
· Take a job just because it pays more than another
· Feel pressured to sign the dotted line straight away
· Settle for a job that you know you won’t progress in