IN TODAY'S buoyant market, many people have approached me to discuss not just how to secure a job, but which job offer to take.
The tight candidate market has many people now grappling with a considerably different problem than before: More than one job offer, each equally promising and enticing.
Most of the time, you may have an instinctive preference for one. But you also have some doubts and find it difficult to make a comparison.
The issue arises because there are many variables that make an individual happy and satisfied at work.
Factors include the type of boss, the company culture, location, benefits, career path, job scope, work-life balance and compensation.
To help you make a decision, try an objective approach.
Go back to the beginning
Do a self-assessment and analyse all the tangible and intangible factors that are important to you when choosing which employer to work for.
Some factors will be more important than others. Prioritise them. There may be some which are "must-haves". Then rank the rest in order of importance.
Use a decision grid
By listing out your priorities, and then comparing Company A with Company B, you will get a clearer picture unclouded by subjectivity and emotions.
For each factor listed, ask yourself the important questions that will help with your decision-making.
There are many questions that can be asked for each of these factors, so probe as deeply as possible to get the full picture.
Here is an example of probing deeper regarding compensation:
The company has offered you $x per annum.
What are bonuses expected to be like?
What is the forecasted performance of the company, the industry and the market?
What targets or objectives are you supposed to meet to achieve these performance bonuses?
What types of benefits are provided?
How much annual leave will be given?
Are there other allowances?
What is the company's travel policy?
With a decision grid, you will be able to see the information gaps. There may be something that was not discussed in the interview process.
To make a more informed decision, you will need to ask more questions or have further discussions with your prospective employers.
I know of a handful of people who were interviewed by the big bosses and offered the job, but had not met their prospective immediate supervisor.
This is sometimes a recipe for disaster - to realise on your first day of work that you cannot work with your direct superior.
During the interview process, always ask to meet the teams or the people with whom you will be working most frequently.
Having filled in all the information, you can see the big picture, tally up all the plus points and choose the company with the higher total score.
Simple? Not quite.
Find out more
Prospective employers sometimes cannot reveal too much because of confidentiality issues. Most times, they paint a rosy picture to entice recruits.
I always recommend that the individual speak to the employees in the company, and not just the bosses and the human resource department.
To get a more realistic picture, you should find out from an employee:
Why is the role vacant?
What happened to the last person who did this job?
What is a typical day like in the company?
What was his worst day like?
Has he ever thought of leaving this job and why?
What has kept him working here this long?
What does he think of the boss? What is his style of management?
Talk to people in the know
Your coach or mentor can provide a different perspective and insight. He will probably also raise questions that you may not have considered, which helps you go back to your decision grid and fill in the gaps.
People who have been in the environment before or have worked in a similar position can also provide greater detail regarding the challenges and issues they commonly face.
If there are trusted friends or acquaintances who can share their experiences, ask for their opinion or advice.
Sometimes, the preferences of family members, friends' comments and personal prejudices may cloud issues further. It is important to involve your immediate family in the decision-making to get their support during transition.
Ultimately, the decision lies with you and depends on your personal ambitions, goals and priorities.
Some people put a heavier emphasis on work-life balance, so an organisation with a family-oriented culture might be the better choice.
If career growth is more important, then you may decide to choose to join the company that provides a clearer career growth path.