Career advice

A nice problem to have - but what should you do if you have a choice of jobs?

Two employers are vying for your services, so how do you choose between them? Here's some advice

Like buses, you wait ages for a suitable job, then two come along at once. So what should you do when faced with multiple job offers?

First, don’t panic or turn it into a crisis, and second, enjoy the moment. Then start to think rationally about how you are going to choose between the two positions.

Picture credit: iStockphoto

‘One of the best exercises to do in this situation is to create a comprehensive list of the pros and cons for each position and compare the two,’ advises Nick Simpson, chief executive of specialist healthcare recruiter MSI Group.

‘If you still aren’t able to make a decision, try drawing direct comparisons between the positions. Establish the factors which are most important to you, such as work-life balance or company culture, then compare each role based on these.’

If you didn’t do it during the interview stage, make sure you do your research. ‘Take a look at the trusts’ websites and gather as much information as you can about what kind of employers they are as this will be incredibly important in terms of day-to-day work,’ says Mr Simpson.

Make sure you weigh up all the pros and cons of each position.

Do all the research you can before you make a final decision.

If it comes down to the wire, trust your gut instinct.

Make sure you take into account a wide range of factors, not just the title or the salary.

Ensure the decision you make fits with your lifestyle and goals.

Source: MSI Group chief executive Nick Simpson

And don’t be completely beguiled by pound signs, he warns. ‘Although a pay rise may be enticing, make sure you consider the bigger picture when choosing between positions. Things like working hours and opportunities to progress are more likely to influence how happy you are in a job, so make sure you choose the one that best fits your lifestyle and long-term goals.’

Michelle Brown, discipline lead for healthcare practice at the University of Derby’s Chesterfield Campus, suggests a further visit to each workplace can often help.

‘Going a second time can help clear up which would be the best option. And if you know anyone in the different areas being considered, ask for their perceptions of working in that environment,’ she says.

But what if you have worked out all the pros and cons and still can’t decide which job to take? Should you just consider going with your gut instinct? Mr Simpson says this can be a great way to clarify your feelings. ‘If you mentally commit to a decision and then reflect on how you feel about making that decision, you can tell a lot from how excited you are or if you still have reservations,’ he says.

Although flipping a coin may seem a reckless thing to do when making a decision about your career, Mr Simpson says it can serve a similar purpose. ‘Say you flip a coin and it lands on heads, but you’re disappointed with the outcome, it then becomes clear that choosing the other position is the right decision for you.’

Finally, Ms Brown suggests it may simply be a fear of taking a decision – any decision – that causes us to procrastinate. ‘Sometimes we describe it as gut instinct. However, it may be that we have already decided but are struggling with the fear of taking the decision. If one job is coming up as stronger, it probably means that it is’.

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