When You’re Offered Two Jobs at Once

Are you in the enviable position of having not one, but two job offers?  Congratulations!  You have obviously done an excellent job of presenting your skills, both on your resume and in the interviews.  Take a moment to celebrate your success.  Now you have a choice to make, and you want to be sure that you choose the right position.  Here are some points to consider when you are trying to decide which position to accept:

What is most important to you?  In order to make a good decision, you need to be clear about your priorities.  What is most important to you:  The opportunity to be trained in different areas?  Working for a reputable organization?  A healthy work/life balance?  A generous compensation and benefits package?  Or the feeling that you are contributing to the community?  Once you identify your values, assess each position and see how they match up in the areas that are the most important to you. 

Which organization makes you feel the most comfortable?  Pay attention to the culture at both organizations.  Which one feels like the best fit?  For example, if you’re a quiet person who doesn’t like to dress up, then you may not be happy at organization where you’re expected to dress to impress and to schmooze at cocktail parties.  Ask yourself where would you feel most at home. 

Have both organizations made formal offers?  Remember the expression, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”  Never turn down a formal job offer for a verbal job offer, or for one that is ‘on the way’.  If you have already accepted one of the positions, this is another factor to consider.   If the second position is a better offer, accepting it may be the best decision, but do consider the inconvenience that it will cause the first employer, and the damage that it could potentially do to your reputation in this (sometimes painfully) small world.  If you do feel that you need to turn down a job offer after you have accepted it, do so in person or over the phone, and let the employer know that you did not take the decision lightly.  Most employers will understand that you need to take the best offer.

How is the compensation package?  When you are comparing the two positions, don’t get too caught up in the salary, as it is only one part of the picture.  Pay attention to the benefits package, vacation, and any other perks.  Some employers can’t compete on salary, but make up for it in other ways. 

How do the positions fit in with your long term career goal?  What type of training opportunities would be available at each position?  Would the training make you more competitive in the job market?  What types of tasks would you be doing?  Would there be some task variety and would they expand over time, or would you be doing the same tasks every day?  A good variety and scope of tasks will help keep you engaged in the position, and it will allow you to progress in your career.

How do the positions compare in terms of work/life balance?  How many hours are you expected to work each day?  Are you required to work on weekends?  Are you expected to bring work home?  If you aren’t sure, then it is probably consistent within your industry.  When the hours are particularly demanding, the employer will usually bring it up in the interview.  Whether or not this is a deciding factor for you will depend on your values, but know your boundaries and make yourself aware of the signs of overwork and burnout.   

How is the commute?  It’s a mistake to ignore the commute in this decision.  A long commute can add hours to your workday.  Keep the commute in mind when you are considering your work/life balance.

 Which position offers more job security?  In today’s environment, job security is a myth.  Any position can be eliminated, and all employees (particularly new ones) are vulnerable.  The most job security that you can achieve is by doing excellent work, and by maintaining a good relationship with your manager and your co-workers.  However, it is true that some jobs are more stable than others.  How long has the organization been around?  Does there seem to be a high turnover rate?  What happened to the employee that you are replacing?  Is it a contract position?  Does the job depend on external funding?  All of this information (if you can get it) can help you assess the security of a position to some degree, but you never know for sure.

Trust your gut.  At the end of the day, one position may just ‘feel right’.  Don’t discount your intuition.  It is said that our intuition is our subconscious mind telling us things that our conscious mind cannot detect.  Do your research and consider all the relevant factors, but never ignore a gut feeling.

After you make your choice, and start your new job, you may be tempted to look back and wonder what would have happened if you had accepted the other job.  Since you really have no way of knowing how it would have worked out, it is better to move on and focus on the career choices that are ahead of you.

(Written by: Karen Bivand, Photo from: FreeDigitalPhotos.net)


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