How to decide between 2 great job offers?

In a recent post I wrote about how to cope when you don’t get offered a job that you want.  Now I’d like to explore the opposite situation.  What can you do when you’re in such high demand that you need to decide between two great job offers?

Even if it’s one of the good problems to have in life it’s good to be prepared.

Here are some points to help you compare:

  1. Forget the money:  To make sure that you’re choosing the right job for the right reasons, look beyond your pay-check.  Ask yourself: “If I did not work for money, which job would I choose?”  Which job is more in line with what’s important to you and what you’re drawn to?  The more in line your job is with those two things, the greater your chances are of staying motivated for longer and being better at your job.
  2.  Stretch your time line:  What do you find when you look beyond the role you’re being offered?  Are there areas within the company that interest you and that you could get involved further down the track?  In which company is there more room for growth?
  3. Launch pad: Which role offers you a more solid foundation for your career?  Look at what each company has to offer in terms of training and other professional development opportunities.  For example does either company have a mentoring program? 
  4. The green test:  Which company scores higher when it comes to contributing to the community and lessening their impact on the environment?  
  5. What are the minds like:  If you get a chance, meet your future team.  Do you sense that they are like-minded?  If it’s within your role to work with clients, how like-minded are they?
  6. The car trip test:  If you were to go on a road trip with one of your future bosses, which of the two would be the easiest to get along with on an 8 hour road trip?  With which one would you have the most fun?  Who would teach you the most?
  7. Push your limits:  Which role would challenge you the most?  I’d go for the one that stretches me the most.  After switching jobs 12 times in 10 years, I know that after 3 months you’ll start to feel at home.
  8. Role models:  Because you’re only as good as those you hang out with on a regular basis, make it a point to find out if there are people within either company who are worthy of imitation. 

Okay, now lets talk money.  But only after you’ve weighed up everything else. Otherwise you risk being blinded by money and missing out on all the other things a job can offer.  It has been my experience that the unquantifiable rewards of a job have benefited my career the most in the long-term.

I’d LOVE to hear what you think.

16 thoughts on “How to decide between 2 great job offers?

  1. First ready your blog on Tom Ruff’s site- glad to hear that I am not the only “Strategic job-hopper!” I think I have had 10 jobs in 12 years myself! Have you found a career that you enjoy at this point? I am unsure if it will be an endless quest for me or not..but can definitely relate to your experiences!


  2. Good question Michael. Being that I’ve switched as many times as you, I now know not to count my chickens too early …if you know what I mean. To that end I now plan my career in 5 year chunks. So to answer your question: Yes, I have found a path that I will be happy pursuing for the next 5 years – that is full time writing – in pursuit of my vision to inspire and empower people around the world to create, follow and succeed on their path and consequently become better citizens of planet Earth. Even if at this point I feel I have found my life’s calling in writing, that is not relevant. I’m sticking to my 5 year plan.
    Just as well, I believe that if we’re doing things right, we’re always seeking and learning. That never stops – even if we are happy with our work. Stay in touch,

  3. How I found your article.. I googled the exact question in which you titled the article. Well.. Im conflicted. I have two great job offers in front of me.
    Point B
    Point 2. company A and B
    Point 3. company A
    Point 4. company A and B
    Point 5. company B
    Point 6. company A and B
    Point 7. company A and B
    Point 8. company A and B

    I first interviewed with company A and felt great after two interviews I felt I found the right company to work for. I felt real good vibes about the people and company they represented. After 4 weeks from the initial interview they call me and offer me a job we discuss salary. and Im told they will call me back for the next step. After 3 weeks I call and leave a voicemail. The next day company B calls me and I interview. Interview went great. I felt a strong desire to work for this company and work for this interviewer who would be my Boss if hired. Two days later I interview with her Boss. And I am astonished at the leadership qualties exuding from this person. I felt great during and after this interview. So I say to myself “perfect. Company A hasnt called me back and I know company B is going to offer me a job.” 2 days later , week 4 since we last spoke , week 8 from initial interview company A calls me back apoligises for the delay says we agree to your salary request, come in. I take a drug test and consent to back round check . Now company A is begining to invest capital with the intent of hiring me. 4 days later company B calls me (my potential future boss) I level with her about the other job offer. And she impresses me with wisdom about making the right choice for me. Gives me impartial advice. And offers me a higher salary.

    Both companies are indusry leaders and are performing extraoridinary despite a down economy. Both offer growth to the next level. This is my intent I am really seeking the next postion/promotion in both companies. Both companies require I start at the training level to learn company procedure policy culture etc. However company A does offer a more solid program to the next level (3 month trainingg A written agreement). Comany B says 3 to 6 months. Which my potential future boss says this is why she wants to hire me, but at the end of the day its up to me and my performance. Company A jobs atmosphere does seem slightly more dull. Which I dont like and attracts me to Company B. What do you think?

  4. Silvana,

    Am in this situation myself, when it rains it pours! hahahaha … Yes, I agree wholeheartedly with your evaluation on the multiple job offer decision making. You focused on things that one may have overlooked. Your insight gave us hope … thank you for sharing! Making our decision making easier.

  5. Thank you Tara for stopping by. It makes my day to know that my writing has made your life easier – and hopefully improved your career.

  6. Cris, Your decision making process is impecable. Good job for taking so many factors under consideration. It is obvious that you have taken time to get to know yourself very well. It is now time to take a risk. You read right. Every decision you make carries with it a risk – and every path that you take brings with it lessons – which lead to career evolution. Having said that, sostainability is the name of the game. So what factors will make you feel excited about going to work every day? Is it a short commute? Like-minded colleagues? The role the company plays in your community? How much they care about the environment? Think about those things that may seem minor – however will feel like rocks in your shoe if you overlook them. And keep me posted. S

  7. Thanks Savana for your advice. I admire your giving spirit. Your 8 points made alot of sense. I thought about what you said “which one are you drawn to”. I really thought about it and I took a leap. Im now working at company B..going on my second week. So far so great. Thank you.

  8. I am in a situation that i have a 1 job offer and all i know about the other is that they have short listed me. And this short listed job offer is a dream job I was waiting for a long time. Money wise both are ok. but career wise second one is the best.I dont like to take the risk of loosing both… Could you please help me?

  9. The comments on this site have been really helpful. I am in a similar predicament as Chris, except I have 3 job offers! Two offers in Hawaii and one in southern California. All three jobs have pros/cons that almost balance each other out but the southern California job is my favorite. Jobs aside, I am now living in Honolulu, Hawaii and will have to leave to work at my top job pick. My hardest decision is deciding what is more important job or location. Every time I think of leaving Hawaii, it is really tough as I’m happy here. It is hard to get a job in Hawaii and I’m unusually lucky to get two job offers in Honolulu and don’t know in the near future if a job will be open for my field in Hawaii and if it opens it is really competitive. The job in so Cal is really good though. Deciding on which is more important job or location is my problem. Any advice is appreciated! Thanks!

  10. Hi. Wow these are great questions. I am in a similar predicament – having been offered two jobs within the same company! One is marketing (my background) and one is sales promotion role which I am currently doing- both roles are solutions focused. the sales role is being newly created and is very open in its scope – essentially it will focus on building strategic relationships within top tier companies and educating them about the offerings/approach – sales may take up to a minimum of a year to achieve. However the marketing role offers opportunity to get my teeth in to and specialise in product management – looking at ways to communicate internally and externally about the solutions and the pain they solve – there seems to be some scope here to have an impact within a shorter space of time and look at creative ways of marketing in b2b space……also I am thinking it will be easier to move from marketing to sales in 5 years than sales into marketing…..aaaaahhh! it is very hard to decide – both parties are quite eager to have me on board which is great – as you said either role carries risks……any advice would be so greatly appreciated as of course they need an answer yesterday!

  11. Hi silvana,
    I am about to start my career and facing the same situation– “Two job offers!”
    Company A is well established software company in India which hired me from campus interviews a year ago. It provides 6 months training and good salary a software engineer deserves.
    They are hiring me in jan-2012 next year ( I haven’t accpeted their offer yet)

    I completed my university education in Aug-2011.. So instead of wasting time I started to seek a job and got one! Its a multinational company . I got the role of executive in purchase dept. Now they are promoting me to the role of procurement analyst… ( which will be quite stretching my limits since i have no experience in this field..but i am learning step by step the scope of the new role all by my own. there is no training . Other employees are not that helping)

    The first job however, is quite comfortable, ( i will be working there with my college friends !) , but it does not guarantee my employment if the recession hits next year… i will be fired at any moment..

    Both job profiles are different. I will be using what i learned in my entire college life at my first job.. while in second case, I will be learning the basics of what i want to be in the future.,.. So i cannot compare one to one..

    since my choice is going to decide my entire career.. ( my Heart says go with the first job…get polished, get a professional touch and switch the career when you feel comfortable…while my brain says go with the second one ..learn from your own mistakes and improve yourself.)

  12. Chris when I read your comments I chose Company B, the word boring killed it for Company A and the fact they took so long, that to me says that is their culture.
    I’m currently interviewing at 3 different companies, and I’m trying to play it out in my head the pros of each company. Good advice here. I’m going to make a chart.


  13. There are some good points here in this post that help with the decision making process however I have to say the last part of number 4 is not only propaganda but it is irrelevant. It doesn’t even fit with the rest. All of the other points are about choosing what’s right for for the one making the decisions, helping them better their future through evaluating these points. The end of number four is about pushing the authors “green” garbage. The “Green Test” as you call it, should only be used if that is something the person deciding feels is important to them. It’s not a necessary deciding point to better their future unless it’s important to them.The Author has the right to make that point important to her and even make an ending note on the subject. Something like, it would also be good to consider if they are being environmentally responsible, because it is important to the author but to just assume that it’s important to those she is talking to or rather to assume that it should be important to the person reading this is just propaganda or stupidity and I’m guessing it’s not the latter.
    I’m tired of hearing how we should tip toe around and even apologize for our humanity. We’re humans and humans are messy that’s just the way it is. If you want to be less messy fine but stop forcing it on the rest of us.

  14. hi..
    I am in kind of dilemma at the moment and wondering from 2 opportunities I have which one to choose… (I am staying in Hong Kong with my husband currently)
    Company A – Its in B’glore, big brand name, gr8 job profile, job description etc. my field (retail) too.
    Company B – Its in HK, nothing new to learn in the job profile, marketing role, long commuting timings… good money than company A

    I am unable yo u/stand which will give me happiness.. as I love my husband a lot and cannot leave him and go to bglore but other mind and my husband says career is important.. then bglore offer..

    I am so confused and nervous on what to do…

  15. Great article, love it! You just helped me make a big decision. Plus I am a senior recruiter so this is what I coach my candidates but when it comes to yourself it is very hard…

  16. Thank you for your post. Believe it or not I am in Mexico, working for a subsidiary of a major company in the US.
    Job position is okay, not the best, has growth opportunities and allowed me -so to speak- to get two promotions in my 1.5 yr history with this company.
    On the other hand I do not feel as motivated as I expected, which has at times driven me nuts due to the amount of tasks we perform.

    Then there is my former employer, where I worked about 4.5 years, is a large Technology company that is willing to offer me a better opportunity and even create a new position that we did not have in Mexico so that is a real possibility.

    One of the two promotions I got with my current employer was just this week.

    My former employer is expecting to make an offer within the next month (due to needed approvals).

    I am going nuts… in the end the decision is mine, only want to know for sure which one is the best option for me in the long term.

    Thanks again for your post, helps a lot.

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