5 Tips for Making a Decision When You Have Multiple Job Offers
Tips to help you decide between working for a startup and a public tech company
Every single day, we are faced with a number of choices — from simple choices like what to have for breakfast to bigger and more complicated choices that affect our lifestyles and career, such as making a decision on whether to accept one job offer over another job offer. Choosing between multiple job offers is a high-stakes decision since an average person spends 90,000 hours in their lifetime at work. Therefore, it is in our best interest to be able to objectively decide between multiple job offers.
Let me share with you five tips for making a decision like a boss when you have multiple job offers.
1. Evaluate Against Your Career Goal
One of the initial steps to making the right choice when it comes to your career is to evaluate options against your midterm career goal before writing and comparing the pros and cons of each job offer. Why? Because each pro and con is subjective. Generally speaking, every choice you have is good and bad. There is no single option that is made up of all the pros.
For example, you might be faced with the option of working for a fancy small startup or a public tech company. They both have pros and cons. In this case, writing a pros and cons list is not going to help us make the right decision. But thinking about the outcome or career goal that you would like to achieve will.
Here are a few examples of what thinking about the outcome or career goal looks like. Do you want to become a generalist (someone who can wear multiple hats) because you are interested in going your own way and having your own startup one day? If so, working for a fancy small startup is more aligned with your career goal. However, if you want to deep-dive into a specific kind of technology or gain an understanding of writing enterprise software at scale, then working for a public tech company is a better fit.
Another common consideration is short-term financial impact vs. long-term investment in your career — usually in the form of the offer that pays more vs. the offer with a better career prospect. There is one right or wrong decision. Based on what outcome you would like to achieve, what stage you’re at in your career and life, and what you consider important to you, you can make the decision that is right for your career.
2. Apply Past Lessons and Experiences
We are always encouraged to learn from our experiences. There is no better time to apply your lessons from previous job experiences than when handling multiple job offers and needing to make a choice. Think about similarities and differences between your previous jobs and the job offers that you currently have in terms of environment, industry, size of team, and type of projects.
3. Have Default Options
I am a strong believer in the phrase “the less you have to do (for things that don’t matter), the more you can do (for things that matter).” That’s why having default options to choose from for certain circumstances works wonders.
For example, you could say your default option when choosing between two companies of the same size and similar career trajectory is to choose the one closer to home. It’s objective and requires less thinking and muddling around.
4. Perform Due Diligence With Urgency
An urgent decision is something you need to make immediately. For example, when you get into a lift, you need to press which floor you want to go to right away. An important decision is something that you need to consider thoroughly, usually after analysing, gathering, and processing facts. With this type of decision, you may need to sleep on it to ensure you are not rushing into something.
I consider making a decision for your career an urgent and important decision. You need to perform adequate due diligence with urgency before making your choice carefully.
Put some time aside to evaluate job offers after you’ve received them and set the expectation with companies or recruiters on when you’ll get back to them with your decision. This approach also works in your favour when you need to negotiate compensation or a working condition with one of the companies later, as they’ll know you’ve got multiple offers.
5. Think Outside the Box
Just because you have multiple job offers, it doesn’t mean you must choose one of them. Maybe you can choose both. For example, one of the offers is a short-term contract and the other offer is a long-term permanent position. You might decide to accept both of them and line your starting dates up. Or maybe you’ll decide that you do not want to accept any job offer because none of them align with what you’re looking for.
So there you have it: five practical and useful tips on how you can handle multiple job offers. The next time you are making a decision about which job offer to accept, think of the steps below and make the right choice with ease and confidence:
1. Evaluate against your career goal.
2. Apply past lessons and experiences.
3. Have default options.
4. Perform due diligence with urgency.
5. Think outside the box.