August 7, 2020

Choosing the Right Offer Starts Before You Ever Apply

by Kris Gibson

If you’ve been in a job search recently, or perhaps ever, you know that it isn’t always easy. Often, you’re balancing your current workload with pursuing conversations elsewhere. It isn’t uncommon to be talking with several companies at once, and this, inevitably ends up with you facing the choice of choosing between multiple company’s offers. If you’re looking at 2, 3, or even 4 or more offers, how do you choose?

What if I told you the answer to how you decide was known to you before you ever updated your resume or applied for a job at all?

You didn’t start a search on a whim. There were factors that drove you to a process where you assessed your situation and concluded you needed a change. There were things you wanted in a new position and/or employer and you began pursuing them.

So, what changed that makes deciding today hard? Nothing changed, just your focus on what you really want got lost in all the other parts of the interview process and offers. Now that offers are flying in, you find yourself looking at things like salary, benefits, time off, or company perks or allowances and you are weighing them all against one another. This process, seemingly without fail, leads you in circles. One is better money, one better benefits, one better time off. Then there are the attributes of the role like title, location, and even things like office versus cubical.

It isn’t bad to weigh all these things, but are they important to you, or just noise? Feeling even more confused? You’re not alone. Fear not, there is a solution and in fact, it’s a rather simple one. You see, when you get ready to start looking you are clear headed and focused. You know what you want, or rather, what you want most. What I’ve always advised is that people take time to write down a list of the 3-5 most important things for them to accomplish in making a career move. Just write it down, fold it up, and stick it in your wallet, purse, sock drawer, or wherever. Then leave it. Conduct your search, and when offers come in, pull it back out.

I know, I know, this seems cheesy, but it works. When you are doing this at the outset of your search you’re focused on what matters. You know why you’re unhappy and what will change that. Later, you need to listen to “Start of Your Search You” who knew what they wanted, and why. Then hold yourself accountable to what you said earlier. Okay, it’s confusing language, but you get the idea.

You see, when offers come in, we tend to start looking at the other elements of them and losing sight of what we set out to get. You wanted a more flexible work schedule, but this offer doesn’t have that. It does have a nice raise, so you start to talk yourself into flexibility not being that important, not because anything changed, but because the raise looks enticing, and it is. Fast forward 6 months though and that raise won’t be a raise, it is just what you make, and you’re back to being unhappy with your schedule and how it doesn’t fit your needs.

You know what you want but you’re human and can be distracted. Taking the time early to write down what you want and then having the ability to hold yourself accountable to it later will make the seemingly insurmountable task of choosing between multiple offers a walk in the park, and moreover, one that ensures you make the right choice to be as happy as you can be with your decision.


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