Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
JOB SEARCH / OCT. 19, 2014
version 4, draft 4

How to Choose Between Two Job Offers

two arrows choose way

What if your job hunt were so successful that you found yourself having to decide between two different job offers at the same time? It happens, and it’s a situation that can be as nerve-wracking as it is thrilling.

Conventional wisdom says that the best way to make a decision is to make a table comparing the two offers on each variable: salary, location, benefits, career path, etc. And that’s good advice. But if you really want to make sure you’re making the right decision, you can take it a step further by assigning each of those factors a value based on how important it is to you.

Conventional approach

The conventional approach works like this: Assign each variable a rating between one and five. So, for instance, if Company A offers you $30,000 and Company B offers you $37,000, you might give Company A 3 points and Company B 4 points. Then, you would do the same for every job variable you can think of. It’s important to include as many variables as you can come up with. Examples include:

  • Salary
  • Benefits
  • Vacation/time off
  • Career path
  • Mentoring
  • The type of work you’d be doing
  • The location of the office and the length of your commute
  • The option of working from home part-time
  • Dress code
  • Travel requirements
  • Office environment (swanky or stark?)
  • Stock options and bonus
  • Perks

Once you were finished scoring, you’d add everything up and go with the company that had the highest score.

Weighted approach

That’s a useful method for choosing between two jobs, but it’s limited in that it doesn’t take into account how important each variable is to you. You could find yourself settling on Company A with a knot of anxiety in your stomach because, even though Company A came out on top, it involves a lot of travel – and you hate being way from home. With the weighted approach, you can go back and adjust the score for any variable that’s either extremely important or not at all important to you.

Let’s say the two jobs you’re considering are pretty close in salary, but because salary is hugely important to you, you adjust the scores so that the difference between the two will have a great effect on the outcome than it would have without being weighted.

Some people would name salary as the most important thing, while others might specify work environment or vacation policy. The weighted approach to choosing between two job offers lets you customize the standard method according to your own personal priorities. There’s a built-in reality check, too. If you feel sick when you see which company has the highest score, something is wrong. You need to ask yourself why you were hoping the decision would come back the other way. There’s no rule that says you have to choose the company with the best score, but if you’re going to disregard the results, take some time for self-reflection so that you’ll know why you’re choosing the job that – on paper, at least – seems to be the better choice.  

Have you ever needed to choose between two different jobs? What method if any did you use to decide? Your thoughts and comments below please…

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