Choosing Between Job Offers

Receiving multiple job offers might seem like a dream — or a long shot — but it does still happen, and job seekers should be prepared to move quickly, lest multiple offers turn into none. When choosing between jobs, there are three main areas of concern to consider: compensation, work/life quality and career advancement opportunities.


It’s important to do more than simply compare base salaries. When evaluating offers, look at the total compensation package. For example, job A might offer a bigger upfront salary, but when factors such as 401(k) matching, health care, bonuses and employee incentive programs are taken into account, job B might actually be a better deal.

It’s also important to understand how a company’s 401(k) matching works. Do they require employees to wait six months or more before they begin matching contributions? Do they require employees to stay with the company for a certain length of time to keep their contributions? If so, will you be with the company long enough to benefit?

If a company offers generous bonuses, make sure they're realistically attainable. If there are perks such as access to childcare or a gym, factor those in as well, but only if you actually intend to use them.

Work/Life Quality

Not every company is a good fit for every person. When choosing between job offers, investigate each company's culture. Is the atmosphere laid-back or formal? Do employees socialize with each other after work or do they put in their time and then go home? Are they expected to take work home with them? Do they work weekends?

It's a good idea to speak with employees — current and former — to find out the skinny on what each company's environment is really like. What seems perfect on paper might, in actuality, be a bad fit.

Location is another important issue to consider. The daily commute time might seem unimportant, but it affects everything from transportation costs to how early one needs to wake in the morning. Try driving to each potential job during rush hour and see if the commute is easy to deal with. While there, check out the neighborhoods. Does one feel safer than the other? You'll be spending a lot of time there, so make sure it's a place you're comfortable being.

Career Advancement

Where do you picture yourself and your career in five years? How about ten? Will one of the companies help you get there? Try to discover if the companies promote from within or if they look outside the company for management. If they do promote from within, do they offer training or education reimbursement programs?

Choosing between multiple job offers can be confusing, and there are many factors to take into consideration. If all else fails, or if all things are equal, follow your instincts.