Congratulations! You are here because you’ve successfully entered Phase III: Inventory of the Job Opportunity & Company. This means you’ve received a bona fide, come-to-work job offer. Before continuing, make sure you have a dollar amount and a start date from the employer, verbal or physical.
With an offer in-hand, you are now free to assess the position and company by questioning the employer. First, thank the employer for the offer. Then, request any information you require to make your decision (e.g., brochures or handouts regarding benefits, reviews, advancement titles, hours, vacation packages, bonuses, and other office perks). Review this information very carefully. Jot down notes or questions you may have regarding the offer. Be sure to ask the employer by when he/she needs your answer. If it is not specified, we recommend that you respond to any offer within five working days of receiving it, unless there are extenuating circumstances involved.
When considering two or more offers, don’t make your decision based on one aspect of the offer. For instance, Company A may offer a much higher salary per year to start, but have a yearly review schedule. Whereas, Company B may offer less to start, but promises a six-month review schedule with competitive raises. In five years, you will most likely receive a higher salary (and probably better benefits) with Company B.
To determine which company you like the best; pretend all of the interviewing companies are equidistant from your home and offering you the same exact offer and compensation package. Which company would you choose? This company should be considered your highest priority because it is probable that you will still enjoy working there years from now.
In other words, rank each offer and company by your gut feeling. Then, consider all of the other intangibles (supervisors, coworkers, work space, location, offer amount, benefits, travel, review schedules, vacation packages, etc.) and re-rank them by most attractive offer and company. If an offer and company is number one on both lists, you can make a quick decision. If not, you may need to reassess what is most important to you.
Look to the future. Visualize yourself with each company five years from now. What has been made possible for you by working with each firm? Are you stuck at one of those firms, not able to achieve your career goals? Are you completely satisfied and able to pursue certifications, licenses, and/or other career milestones? Are you managing people or taking on other forms of responsibility? Where are you ten years from now? Are you still with the same firm? Create some of your own, personal questions that will help with your decision, and always be honest with yourself in answering them. All of these questions can help you choose the best opportunity for you now.
Congratulations again, and good luck in whichever endeavor you choose!