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How to decide between two job offers

It might sound like the dream, but having two job offers on the table can make for a hard decision. Our experts share some crucial things to consider if you’re struggling to decide.

Don’t keep them waiting

“Some companies may give you up to a week to make your decision, although this will largely depend on the length and structure of their recruitment process,” explains William Young, senior manager at Robert Walters East Africa.

He continues, “During the interview process you should have built up a good idea of whether you’re interested in the role, so a slow response could reflect badly on your decision-making skills and could even see the job offer withdrawn entirely.”

Think long-term

“One of the main reasons people change roles is to advance their career, so when deciding on your next move your long-term career ambitions should be an important consideration,” says Samantha-Jane Gravett, associate director at Robert Walters Africa. As she explains, every career decision a candidate makes will ultimately impact on their long-term career ambitions, which means it’s all the more important to make the right choices. “Long-term ambitions should act as an end goal, and whichever job choice you make now, it should move you further down the road towards that end goal.”

Be careful of ‘push’ factors

“When considering each role, ask yourself whether it would fulfil the reasons you decided to look for a new job in the first place,” suggests Samantha. Any candidate will likely experience ‘push factors’ driving them away from their current role, she says, but if the new job on offer doesn’t address these issues you could be left feeling unfulfilled and wondering if it was all worth it. As William adds: “Don’t end up jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire by choosing the wrong role.”

Assess the work/life balance

“The work/life balance of any job means different things to different people, so consider what impact each role will have on your own needs and requirements,” suggests William. If candidates have young families or other responsibilities, then the ability to work from home or work flexibly may be a more pressing concern, he says. “Also consider each role’s location and commute as this could significantly impact on your day-to-day life, although some companies may offer perks like childcare or gym membership that could offset these issues.”

Consider the culture fit

“A company’s culture is critically important when deciding which offer to accept because you need to be sure you’ll enjoy going into work every day,” says William. What constitutes a good culture fit largely depends on the individual, he explains, so candidates should take clues and insight wherever they can to assess if the workplace is right for them, such as asking friends or ex-employees who may know the business. “Think about the types of roles you’ve enjoyed in the past, and which of the roles on offer comes closest to replicating that environment.”

Reflect on the interview

“The interview process is where the magic happens, offering you the best chance to gain a good understanding of how the company operates on a personal level,” says Samantha. However, while candidates might not be able to build a completely accurate picture of the job through an interview, it should give them an idea of what to expect. “From a good interview, you’ll be able to imagine what a regular working day would be like and be able to gauge the company’s workplace culture which will enhance your decision-making process.”

Don’t get blinded by salary

“While salary is obviously an important consideration in any job offer and should fairly reflect the level of work expected, it shouldn’t be the only factor determining whether you accept or reject an offer,” warns Samantha. A role could offer other, non-monetary perks such as increased responsibility or greater exposure,” she says. “If you want to make a decision unbiased by salary, ignore the financial package and focus instead on what excites you about the two offers.”

Trust your gut

“If you’ve asked the right questions in the interview and researched both the companies and the specific roles on offer, you should be well-placed to make a sensible, informed decision on which job you should take,” concludes William. However, he notes that taking on a new role is never without its risks regardless of how much thought has gone into the move. “Being risk-averse isn’t a bad quality when looking to change jobs, but at some point, you may just have to trust your gut and take that leap of faith!”

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