If you had several job opportunities to consider, wouldn’t you think that was a great situation to be in? Maybe. Sometimes, having multiple possibilities to choose from isn’t as clear-cut as it might seem at first.
Suppose you have five companies interested in you. You’ve had preliminary phone conversations with them and have had a job interview or two, with the possibility of more in the near future. I have a friend who was in this situation just recently, and she received a firm job offer from one of the companies. However, there was somewhat of a catch.
What was it? Company A needed an answer (i.e., accept or decline the offer) by a date just a few days away. At the same time, she was still in discussions with some of the other organizations.
Also, although she really liked the people she met at Company A, she was a bit unsure that the nature of the job would challenge her enough to keep her fully engaged, and the possibility of advancement or professional growth into another position was probably a couple of years in the future.
Ultimately my friend decided to decline the offer and continue to investigate the opportunities with the other prospective employers–and to keep the door open for other possibilities that might come up.
What would you have done in her situation?
I didn’t tell my friend which job decision she should make–whether to accept that first offer or decline it and hope a job offer would emerge that was a more desirable fit. However, I did suggest a simple plan to help her evaluate her options as they appeared at the time. (She could always adjust the plan as she goes along.)
I recommended creating a simple Excel spreadsheet that listed several prioritized criteria she was looking for in a new job, including schedule flexibility and a reasonable commute. She could then list the various companies she was in contact with and rate each one with regard to the criteria she had selected.
For example, if Company B earned an 8 out of 10 on schedule flexibility but a 2 out of 10 on the commute factor, while Company D rated 6 out of 10 on flexibility but 10 out of 10 on commute, that could influence her decision if commute time was the criterion she cared most about. Overall, it’s possible that one company might average higher on the most critical factors than the others would and, therefore, strike her as the most desirable choice.
There’s always the possibility you’ll make the “wrong” choice and have to accept the consequences. However, if you look carefully at your situation and the options you can control before you make a decision, you’ll be giving yourself the best shot at making the “right” choice.
Accepting the first offer you receive is tempting, but it might be the least desirable outcome for you in the long run. Sometimes you need to take a deep breath and pursue other alternatives. Just do your due diligence first and base the decision on what matters most to you.