In IT, if you have great technical skills, live in a hot job market and are looking for a new position, the world is your oyster. At some point you will be presented with multiple job offers and tough choices.
Deciding between two or more roles will be much easier if you first take some time to look deep within yourself and define what is truly important to you, namely your “hot buttons:”
- Is money your top or only consideration?
- Are specific benefits a must?
- Would you rather keep doing what you’ve done for years, or are you eager to step outside your comfort zone and gain skills in a new field, like Big Data Analytics?
- Is the path to a leadership role important to you?
- How important is your commute time in the big picture?
- Is company longevity a priority, or are you excited by the idea of working at a startup?
Write these hot buttons down, share them with your recruiter, and refer to them throughout your job search and interview process. It not only gives you some great questions to ask during interviews, it keeps you focused on what’s most important. So now that you’ve defined what is most important to you, it should be much easier to decide on which job to take. How should you handle the process once the offers come streaming in?
Step 1: Be Gracious
From a manager’s perspective, there’s nothing worse than someone so arrogant that they don’t need your offer and they tell you so, either verbally or through inaction. Coming across as aloof or nonchalant you run the risk of poisoning your well of future opportunity. This industry is smaller than you think, and with most companies using applicant tracking databases these days, any misstep on your part will be recorded and referred to in the future.
Step 2: Set Realistic Expectations
Your recruiter is there to help you make the right decision, so be upfront about other offers you’re entertaining or waiting for. Timeframes are extremely important in the hiring process – no manager wants to wait more than a few days for your decision. They have a position to fill and they likely have a second choice waiting in the wings behind you. They may want to wait for you, but they have to make a decision and get on with the work at hand. If you stretch this process out too long, you may find all of your options off the table.
Step 3: Negotiate, Within Reason
If you interviewed under the assumption the salary would be $X and got another offer of $X+10%, you can ask about matching the salary, but ONLY if you’ll take it: “If they come up to $X+10%, I’ll definitely take the job.” They don’t want you using that to go back and get more from another employer. If you get pegged as someone playing games, be prepared for both offers to disappear – we’ve seen it happen, and never to the candidate’s advantage! Additionally, don’t ask for an outrageous increase in salary from your last position; companies will not go for it and it makes you look unprofessional. Decide 1) what you would like and 2) what you must have to take the job. If you get somewhere in between those two numbers, you’re good.
Step 4: Shut it Down!
Once you accept a position, take yourself off the market. That needs to be the end of the process. When you get engaged, you don’t keep dating in hopes of finding someone better! First, take your resume off of any job boards you may have posted it on. Secondly, tell your other suitors that you’ve happily landed somewhere, and thank them for their efforts. You may need them again someday, and you want them to be happy to hear from you.