Fact: If you’re currently toting around a handful of job offers, your friends are probably wavering back and forth between being jealous and being sick of hearing about it. However, what they likely don’t believe is that this really is a hard place to be in. You truly can’t decide what to do—and talking out the options isn’t you humble bragging.
Well, good news—I’m not here to make you feel guilty. Just to congratulate you and hopefully make things a bit easier. After all, you’ve worked really hard to put yourself in this position. And now that you have a few options on the table, you’re determined to make the right decision.
So, to help you sort everything out, here are four questions to ask yourself if you’re lucky enough to be in this situation.
1. Are You Looking Beyond the Perks?
To stay competitive for the best talent, a lot of companies have really upped their game when it comes to perks. It’s not uncommon anymore for contenders to be offered free health insurance, onsite laundry facilities, and access to the types of kitchens that only seem real on TV. However, because these perks are so awesome, it’s really easy to get swept away by them and ignore other aspects of the job.
When push comes to shove and you have to choose between multiple offers, refer back to what led you to apply for all those gigs in the first place: the job descriptions. While one company might offer to shine your shoes everyday at your desk, you might find that you’re actually more excited about another job—even though that company doesn’t even have a coffee maker in the kitchen.
Although benefits are something you should take seriously, they ultimately won’t matter too much if you don’t enjoy your work. Feel free to reach out to the hiring managers and ask for more information on your job responsibilities, in as much detail as possible
2. Which One Gives You the Most Opportunities to Grow?
Let’s say that you’ve been offered one job for a lot of money. The kind of money that allows you to kick your roommates out and subscribe to cable TV again. And in the same scenario, you’ve been offered a job that doesn’t pay nearly as much, but you know there would be a lot of opportunities to learn new skills and advance your career. Sure, having lots of money and fancy things will make you happy for a while, but think about how bored you might be if you’re still doing the same exact work a few years from now.
You’re in a unique position where you don’t have to settle. So, if you’re interested in a role that asks you to enter a few things every day and make sure things aren’t broken, that’s perfectly fine.
But, if you’re looking for a gig that allows you to grow, don’t be afraid to follow up with each company before you make a decision—especially if all your options haven’t presented you with clear learning opportunities. And when you’ve gotten that far, ask yourself the following question.
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3. Which Company Would You Actually Want to Advance In?
Most people I know have had jobs at one point or another that make them say to me, “If I’m still working here in five years, I might lose my mind.” The funny thing is, a lot of those people knew they’d get to that point when they accepted the job. Even more ironically, those people were the ones who constantly got promoted at companies they couldn’t stand.
Because of this, I actually asked myself this question when I took my current job. I was in the advanced stages of two interview processes, both of which sounded interesting. However, I did something I wouldn’t have suggested until now—I thought ahead about which company would still make me happy a few years down the road. Sure the jobs were both great, but which company would I be happy and proud to grow with? And ultimately, my decision was very easy.
4. Did You Actually Like the People You Met?
This might seem silly, especially since it’s hard to really get to know your potential colleagues during an interview. But, you can tell when the people you meet are actually excited about talking to you. You can also tell when folks are just mailing it in because their boss told them to ask you a few questions.
When you have a few options on the table, you have the luxury of picking the group of co-workers you think you’d click with. And you should take full advantage of it. You spend more time with the people you work with than any husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, or puppy. This is very sad, but very, very true. So, don’t ignore your gut when you think you’d be happier working with one group of people over another.
Having multiple job offers is awesome, and you should be really proud of yourself. However, it can also be a great source of anxiety—because even though it’s a good thing, making these kinds of tough career decisions is hard. So, when you’re sorting through all your options, don’t be afraid to eliminate choices that just don’t feel right. You’re the one with the options, so take advantage and be an advocate for yourself.
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Richard Moy is a Content Marketing Writer at Stack Overflow. He has spent the majority of his career in talent management, including a stint as a full-cycle recruiter and hiring manager. In addition to the career advice he contributes to The Muse, he also writes test prep and higher education marketing content for The Economist. Say hi on Twitter @rich_moy.More from this Author