Evaluating Multiple Job Offers

December 2, 2016

You’ve interviewed with a few companies. You really like Company A’s product, but Company B has an exceptionally energetic and innovative team. You agonize, trying to figure out which role would be best for you. You receive an offer from Company A! Then, while you’re in the midst of evaluating the offer from Company A, you get an additional offer from Company B. Although it’s a good problem to have, evaluating multiple offers can be overwhelming. What factors do you consider?

The first thing you must do is to get the following for both offers:

  • The written job description
  • Written contingent offer
  • Job title
  • Work location
  • The name of your manager
  • Details on 401(k) plan, including investment options
  • Compensation plan
  • Details on benefits, both employer and employee paid

Once you have the information on both of the offers, you can evaluate them side by side. Far too often, people only look at one factor, usually base salary when determining whether or not to accept a position. I encourage you to look beyond base salary, and to delve into both objective and subjective components which can be just as important:

  • Your rapport with the direct managers
  • Your confidence in each CEO and executive leadership team
  • Company financials, including stock performance (if public) over the last 12 months
  • The reputation of each company in both the broadcast media and on social media
  • Commuting times and telework options
  • Cost of medical benefits to you
  • 401(k) match and vesting periods
  • Stock options or purchase plans
  • Your fit within the company culture

The CEO and the executive leadership team have a huge impact on you. You should have confidence in both, and if you do not, consider this to be a red flag. It is incumbent upon you to dig around for both on and off-the-record intelligence on each company. Read articles that each CEO has published. Read reports from the analysts who follow each company (if public). Ask your network—they are an invaluable source of subjective information. Talk to people who have worked with each company to get a feel for what it’s like to work there. Does Company A value open, honest communication, while Company B shares information with employees on a need to know basis? These are the types of issues that can be uncovered by working your network and talking to people.

I encourage you to look beyond base salary, and to delve into both objective and subjective components which can be just as important

Your direct manager will have the most impact on you in whatever role you choose to accept. Evaluate each of these hiring managers very carefully. Do they seem genuinely excited at the prospect of having you join their teams? Or do they seem nonchalant, and just glad that they don’t have to do any more interviews? When you were interviewing, which manager made you feel most comfortable? Which one seemed more genuinely interested in you and what you had to say?

Once you’ve evaluated the CEOs, executive teams, and hiring managers, write out your personal, career, and earning goals. Then, step away for at least 24 hours. When you come back, you should be able to decide which of the companies’ offers more aligns with your development and compensation goals.

When you accept the offer from Company A, be sure to convey your excitement and enthusiasm. And when you decline the offer from Company B, do so with grace and class. Thank them for their time and consideration, and let them know that you appreciated their generous offer.

The Bottom Line

People switch jobs every 3-4 years, so being able to evaluate job offers is a critical skill for any professional. As the job market improves, the likelihood of competing offers coming in at the same time will increase. Know how to objectively—and subjectively—look at job offers to determine the right match for you.

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