Got More Than One Job Offer? 4 Questions to Help Make Up Your Mind

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choiceWe know, we know. Competing job offers? In this economy? To dream!

But it does happen. Just ask Jessica Walton, 27, a health-care consultant based in Atlanta. After graduating from Emory University with a master’s in public health in 2010, she received offers for consulting positions with three different companies.

The offers ranged from $65,000 to $80,000, but when the time came to make a decision, her potential salary was only one of several considerations. Walton asked herself numerous questions to help her make the best choice: Where could she see herself growing a career? Did she like the people she’d be working with? Did she feel that their personalities and work ethic were similar to hers? What was the reputation of each firm in the marketplace?

RELATED: Why Nearly All in the U.S. Want to Change Careers

Ultimately, she accepted a position from a company that wasn’t offering the best salary but whose reputation she respected. “I knew other people from my graduate program who had joined that particular firm and they were satisfied with their choice,” says Walton. “I wanted to make sure I didn’t just go where the money was.” Once she made her decision, however, she negotiated with the company, which matched the higher offer she’d received.

If you’re on the job hunt, you may think you’d be lucky if your search turned up one offer. But who knows, in the course of your career, you might find yourself in the even more fortunate position of choosing between two (or more!) opportunities.

In which case, ask yourself a few key questions before you make your next move.

1. Is the company interested in helping its employees grow?

Joseph Terach, founder and CEO of Resume Deli, a professional résumé-writing company, advises all of his clients to consider how the company culture affects employees over the long haul. Do your research to find out if the company is invested in its employees as assets (think perks like tuition reimbursement and a hire-from-within commitment to developing talent) or if the company just does the bare minimum when it comes to employee satisfaction and career growth.

“There are some people that only want to clock in and clock out each day, and if you’re one of those people, then this area certainly might not be important to you,” says Terach. “But for people looking to grow, such as young professionals, this is a question that needs to be asked.”

When you’re interviewing with the company, inquire about career development programs, or get even more specific and ask the interviewer to share one or two specific examples of employees who have climbed the ladder in the company. But, Terach says, make sure to tread lightly as you dig for more information.

“The best way to bring up this matter is to ask a question that is open-ended and nonthreatening, such as, ‘Could you give me a sense of what a new employee’s trajectory is like over a one-, two- or three-year period?’ or ‘Where might a new employee today find him or herself three years from now?’” he explains. “You don’t want to directly ask if or when you’ll get promoted. That might be what’s going through your head, but you have to ask about it in a positive way.”

  • LaJacqueReal

    Great advice. Wish I would have read this 3 months ago when I had 3 different job offers and went with the one with the highest salary. Now I’m at a company with a 401K plan that doesn’t match contributions in any way, a horrible boss, and a poor work-life balance where you’re considered a mediocre employee if you don’t answer your 10pm e-mail.
    Amazing article LearnVest!

    • Susan

      I think we work at the same company from the sounds of it. :-(

      • LaJacqueReal

        I am confident we will both see better days in the near future! Best of luck to you =]

    • kgal1298

      Ugh I feel you. I got hired by a company over a year ago that I was thrilled to get into, but then it turned out horrible. The boss was all over the place and then he suddenly left for a new company I was shuffled from person to person and I was obviously not happy. Of course this reflected in job performance and eventually I was let go more so because they had to let go about 200 people at that time, but I’m sure my attitude had a lot to do with it. The good news is a month later my friend had a job open the pay wasn’t a lot better, but the hours are amazing and I’m closer to home and I don’t get questioned when I take lunches and I only have to be in the office 4 days a week plus I can keep my freelance gigs…so even though the pay isn’t as high as I’d like I’m way happier here than any other position I could have had.

      • LaJacqueReal

        =/ It happens to the best of us. I’m happy you were able to get something secure shortly after and have time for your freelance work. Best of luck to you!

  • GetReal

    This comes in in such a perfect time! I’m currently hunting for jobs after working with a horrible boss at a place where, even though we have unions, expect you to work overtime just because your boss can’t come in at the regular time in the morning and needs to meet with you.

  • Simtho

    Great advice especially for me ,because I am now looking for the new job.Thanks