26 Feb 2018

How to decide which job to accept...

I often wonder how on earth the recruitment world worked in the old days.  The days when Jobs were advertised in the paper,  CVs  were sent in and interviews were confirmed by post. Things must have sped up when fax arrived and then by the time I got involved, we were on email so the world was constantly evolving, as it does.

I was chatting to a candidate a couple of weeks ago.  He was fortunate to have two job offers. Great offers, good money, benefits and working conditions.  He asked for some time to make his decision. A few days later, he phoned to tell me which role he was accepting.  I asked how he'd made the decision and he replied that he'd 'asked Alexa'.  He wasn't joking.

Initially, I thought ha!  Hilarious!  But then on reflection, it's just another reflection of how the world is moving.  I'm afraid that I'm not an Alexa fan but it's an extension of how we use the internet for just about everything.  The Google Search 'how to decide between two jobs' brings up 5 million results though and I'm assuming you don't have time to run through all of them so I thought I would give my top tips for deciding which job to go for...

1.  I'm quite old fashioned, so I'd start a nice fresh page in my notepad and get a selection of coloured pens (you might prefer to use your iPad!).  First thing to consider is 'why was I looking for a new role'.  Then list all the factors that you are unhappy about/seeking to improve in a change in role. 

2.  Essentially, I would then do a mini SWOT analysis for each role that you have been offered.  I would also run one for your existing role as you should consider 'staying put' as one of your options.  The considerations will be different for everyone but the most typical reasons for leaving a job include:

Seeking more money
Reducing my commute
Better work life balance (hours, flexible working, holidays)
Career development opportunities - now and in the future (job title, managing team etc)
Role variation (different projects or clients)
Business Culture (different ethos, new colleagues, new boss (!))
Other

3.  Actually, writing that list demonstrates that there actually are not so many variations of the criteria that lead us to look for a new role.  In Black and White (or in my case, lots more colour), you'll start to crystallise the pros and cons of each offer versus your current role. It can be more complex depending on how important you weight each option.  In my experience, a big hike in salary can often neutralise a longer commute or longer working hours but for others the chance to walk to work might trump all the other considerations.  Everyone has their own equation for what makes them happy at work.  Review your list and then compare to what you highlighted at the start of the process as being the reason you were looking for a new role.  Which offer most closely matches what you thought you wanted?

4.  At this point, it's where you may realise that your original reasons for leaving a role have changed/morphed during the process of searching for a new one. You may have realised that you needed to lower your expectations of what was possible, you may have realised that actually, the grass is not always greener.  You should, consider if there are any consequences of not accepting the role (s).  You may burn your bridges with that particular company - does that matter?

5.  At the end of this process. Write down which job your gut instinct tells you to take.  This is probably a subconscious feeling where you think you would be happier/more fulfilled in one role than another.  It's the head versus heart consideration.   When it comes down to it, is that extra £2k important, will the clients make a difference?

6. You need to make a decision.  But you've taken into account all the factors.  You can consult others - parents, friends, colleagues, recruiter etc. Make sure if you do ask for advice that you trust the people you are asking - do they understand you and your values.  Parents will usually be most concerned with job security and friends will be most impressed by money and brand names.  Make sure if you take advice, that it is objective.

7.  If your decision is based on further negotiation then now is the time to do it.  You have a preference but it's on condition that.....there is extra money, that there is one flexible day per week, that you can buy extra holiday etc.   As soon as you have a response, it's crunch time.

8.  Once you've made your decision.  I recommend that you decline the other role (s) carefully.  If you can, keep the doors open for the future and hope that the employer understands.  Usually they'll be a bit bruised so don't expect a lovely response but equally, you may find that they then up their offer in some way.  At that point, you have your lovely list for quick reference to see whether that makes any difference.  Your current employer will potentially counter offer a new job offer when you resign so try to consider that during the process. Is there anything the current employer could do that would make you stay?  I will just add here that in my experience, 80% of individuals who are 'bought back' by an existing employer are back on the job hunt within 6 months - promises frequently are not kept and employee patience is exhausted.  Worth keeping this front of mind as 6 months later, it is unlikely that a business you have declined is going to welcome you with open arms.

9.  Celebrate your new role!  It's important to be excited about the new job.  If not, I'd perhaps recommend reviewing your list again!