13.0 Which Offer Should You Take?

When you start your job search you will want to apply for positions in a variety of different places. That means that you will probably receive more than one offer of employment during your search. There is risk involved in accepting the wrong offer so assessing each opportunity carefully and deciding which offer to take is critical. Once you accept an offer you are actually removing yourself from the market. You are saying, I am no longer seeking a job. I have found what I want. There are things you can to do to assess the viability of accepting a particular offer.

No matter how up or down the market is, there are jobs out there and people are getting hired. There is always opportunity for good candidates. Even in the tightest market qualified candidates still get good offers and have to make decisions on which offer to take or what their timing should be in accepting an offer.

It would be nice if all of the offers came in at the same time. It would be nice if you could set each one on the table and carefully compare it with every other offer you've received. Better yet, wouldn't it be nice if you could plug all the data in and let your computer tell you what moves to make next in your life? But it seldom happens that way. Most of the time the offers straggle in and the less desirable ones arrive first.

Job seekers are always tempted to grab the first thing that comes along. But that is not always the best course of action. Sometimes it pays to slow the pace and assess the offer and to reject offers that do not meet with your requirements. Yes, you need to have minimum requirements as to which offer to accept just as employers have minimum requirements for which candidate to hire.

One candidate that I worked with was interviewed by a human resources outsourcing company. His antenna went up instantly as he was greeted by the interview team. The interviewers were dressed in shorts and flip flops. As the interview progressed he was not impressed. The team spoke about the youth culture, heavy partying and the need for someone to fit in. Everyone he saw was under 30. He was young, dressed in a suit and interested in a professional position. This looked like a really flaky company to him. During the interview he kept looking for a way out. Trusting his instincts, he emailed the interviewers when he arrived home and requested that his name be removed from consideration. He had been looking for a job for about six months so he was highly motivated to accept any reasonable offer. But as he assessed the situation, he realized that a position with this company would not take him where he wanted to go. He decided unemployment represented a better option than joining that zoo.

Sometimes you just know things are not right. It is better to keep looking for the right job. Trust your instincts. If it is not right, walk away. You can make the decision to do so. It is important for any candidate to trust their instincts. You know when a job is not a match made in heaven.

Once you accept an inferior offer, it is really difficult, if not impossible, to continue your search for the right job. Taking the wrong job is like putting on handcuffs, you feel trapped. You feel like you have no options. Once you start a job you incur obligations- rent, car payments, credit card debt for the wardrobe you need, and the stuff you want.

There are not enough hours in a day to learn a new job, perform well in a sub-standard environment and look for a good position. It is emotionally and physically exhausting. So by accepting a substandard job you are handicapping your chances of finding the right job.

Untangling yourself from a job you hate is dicey. You will not perform at your optimum while you are in a job you don't like or working with people you do not respect. Setting up interviews while you are being watched over as the "new kid on the block" will not be easy either. And you have to explain to the next employer why you are leaving your job so soon. Then there are the reference checks...

Getting the right job is like finding the right tennis partner. Your performance depends on playing with the best partners. You need to be challenged.