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The Job Offer Dilemma

22nd Nov 2012


Julie advises job-seekers on what to do after receiving a job offer. 

Accept or decline? As a professional recruiter for 2.5 years, I have come across occasions when candidates went through rounds of interviews with potential employers and perform well during interviews, determined to make best impression in front of hiring manager. However when they are offered the job, they find themselves a dilemma they are not sure if they want the job.

Now, imagine if you are in this situation – excited but yet at the same time in a state of panic — what would you do?

Being offered a job means you need to do some serious thinking — and fast. No matter how excited you are about the prospect or how little time you have to make a decision, the new offer should not be taken lightly. If you find yourself in this boat, here’s the check list of what to consider before going any further.

The People – My first and most important consideration is not the money — it’s the people. Your boss, your team, and the co-workers that will surround you everyday and are crucial for your happiness and success at a job. Sure, it is hard to judge people after only meeting them briefly, but think about how they treated you during the interview process. Were they friendly? Did they ask personal questions as well as professional ones? Did they call you back in a timely manner?

The answers to these questions may reflect how your co-workers and superiors will treat you as an employee.

Your Happiness – Take some time to reflect on how you felt about your current job before the new offer came along. Are you generally happy? Are you challenged and learning new things? Or are you getting ready for a change in a few months anyway?

Also think about how the new job relates to your overall career plans. Is it really a good fit, or are you just tempted by the thought of something new? Think about how you’ll feel about the new opportunity a year from now — once the excitement wears off.

The Environment – Weigh the pros and cons of working for a corporation, an agency, a non-profit, or a start-up. They are very different environments, and it is important to decide which you’d thrive in. If prefer working individually and like structure and competition, the corporate path may be for you. If you want a fast-paced environment which brings about a new set of challenges every day, an agency or start-up may be a good choice.

The physical location is also important to consider. A long commute or lack of lunch options may drag your emotions and attitude down over time. Nothing is worse than going to a miserable work environment every morning. Even worse is taking that unhappiness home with you, too.

The Job Stability – A lot of organizations are able to impress with their past work, awards, and current profits, but take the time to research on the company’s recent success and hiring activities. Has it been operating steadily during this crazy economic climate? If so, you’re likely looking at a pretty stable job. If not, be careful — you could be walking into a hazardous environment and a job that could disappear within a year.

The Money – When looking at a job offer or comparing two, often the most tempting decision is to go for the money, but that’s not necessarily the right approach. Salary is only a small part of happiness at work.

Consider what salary you could live with, as well as the amount that would make a job offer irresistible, and keep those numbers in mind (and of course, negotiate!). Think more about the potential of the whole package and less about the numbers on your monthly paycheck.

Your Gut – I am a big believer in trusting your instincts — if an opportunity feels right from all angles, it probably is. People often say when they’re buying a house — “When you walk into the one, you’ll know it.” Take the same advice here — if you walk out of an interview and everything feels right (or wrong), pay attention to that feeling.

Scoring an offer means you have made it through the toughest part of the job hunt. Of course, bear in mind that there are multiple parties involves in the process — i.e. the hiring manager, HR manager, your dedicated recruiter and perhaps even the MD of the company.

My advice is that it is all right to explore opportunities out there. The more people you meet and the more marketable you become to other companies, the better your chances in obtaining a job offer in a company that you have been vying for. Be wise when making decisions and take all factors into consideration. At the same time you would not want to burn any bridges and leave a bad reputation that will jeopardize your future career move.

Good luck!