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Ask The Headhunter

Ask the Headhunter: How to decide between 2 job offers

Nick Corcodilos started headhunting in Silicon Valley in 1979 and has answered over 30,000 questions from the Ask The Headhunter community.

In this special Making Sen$e edition of Ask The Headhunter, Nick shares insider advice and contrarian methods about winning and keeping the right job, on one condition: that you, dear Making Sense reader, send Nick your questions about your personal challenges with job hunting, interviewing, networking, resumes, job boards or salary negotiations. No guarantees — just a promise to do his best to offer useful advice.

Question: I have two job offers, both in the same dollar range. Believe me, in today’s job market, where employers reject almost everyone, even if they’re qualified, I know how lucky I am! I’m not sure which factors to weigh or what will be most important to my career. Usually there’s a difference between two opportunities, but these are very comparable. How do I choose?

Nick Corcodilos: I can’t tell you what to do — that must be your judgment. But I have a rule that may help you crystallize the real questions about the job offers you are considering.

Select a job offer on the basis of the products, the people and the reputation.

Even if you take the wrong job in a company that scores high on those three criteria, you will likely make your way into the right job and good opportunities at the company will follow.

I believe a company’s people, products and reputation are the best predictors of your long-term success. So, do your homework in advance of taking a job.

1. Are the products high-quality and respected in the market?

Does the company continually create successful new products and features to address competition?

2. Are the people the kind you want to be around day-in and day-out?

Ask to spend a day or two shadowing people who would be on your team, as well as workers in other departments that you’d interact with. Is employee turn-over low? Look carefully at upper management. Has it been stable? Has management navigated the company through difficult times and challenges?

3. What kind of reputation has the company earned over the past five years?

Search the business news. Have there been any scandals? Any nasty legal or regulatory problems? Or is the company a pillar of integrity? Dig through the general and business press, as well as industry-specific publications.

4. Is the company sound financially?

The answer to this question should fall out of your research on the other factors.

I know my rule sounds a little cut and dry. Obviously, you have to do a bit of work to properly compare the companies on those criteria. And you should consider additional criteria that are important to you.

Even if the job offers appear very similar to you, I’ll bet that if you look carefully you will find differences between the companies you’re considering that will reveal the best choice.

Congratulations on having two job offers! I wish you the best.

While it’s beyond the scope of your question, other readers may wonder about this: “Can I play one employer against another to get a better job offer?” (The answer is a little complicated!)

Dear Readers: How would you advise this excited job seeker? Even when you’re considering just one job offer, what criteria do you use to decide whether it’s worth accepting? Is money the main factor?

Nick Corcodilos invites Making Sense readers to subscribe to his free weekly Ask The Headhunter© Newsletter. His in-depth “how to” PDF books are available on his website: “How to Work With Headhunters…and how to make headhunters work for you,” “Keep Your Salary Under Wraps,” “How Can I Change Careers?” and “Fearless Job Hunting.”

Send your questions to Nick, and join him for discussion every week here on Making Sense. Thanks for participating!

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