As a recent college graduate trying to find a job, I found myself in an enviable situation: more than one job offer to choose from. But as excited as I was, this was one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to face.
On the one hand, I had my first full-time job offer for a receptionist/administrative position. It wasn’t relevant to my field of interest, but it was a good opportunity, nonetheless. On the other hand, I had a part-time public relations internship offer. The work really interested me, but there was no guarantee for the future. To make it all the more difficult, the full-time position was with a startup offering competitive compensation, full benefits and equity. The internship offered less pay, but it was with an established, reputable company that I knew I could learn a great deal from. It was like comparing apples to oranges.
So how — and why — did I choose to take the internship at Robert Half? I took the job that sounded most interesting to me and that would best foster my professional growth. And I tried to ignore everything else. If you’re a recent graduate, more money and cooler perks certainly sound appealing. But are you prepared to start your career in a field that’s unrelated to your desired profession and potentially unfulfilling? I wasn’t.
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Questions to ask when choosing one job offer over another
Here are five questions I asked myself when comparing the two positions — and I encourage you to ask the same questions if you're ever considering more than one job offer.
1. What are your career goals, and which job will eventually lead to a better opportunity?
Consider the job offers and how they align with your desired career path. Ask yourself if either position will offer opportunity for advancement and professional gain, or if you will find yourself in a position with limited growth potential. Inquire about opportunities to attend trainings, participate in workshops or take advantage of other benefits that can enhance your professional development.
When I interviewed for the insternship at Robert Half, I learned it was full of opportunities to learn new things through training courses and from established professionals. And the work was in line with what I imagined myself doing years from now.
2. Will you have a good mentor?
When considering a job offer, especially as a recent graduate, it is important to take a position that allows you to find a mentor. A good mentor will help you learn the ropes, expand your network and take steps to reach your career goals.
At Robert Half, I have not one, but two, extremely valuable mentors. Both provide me with challenging assignments, guidance and constructive feedback, and they really motivate me to achieve my highest potential. Like my mentors, your mentor should be a person who you can truly look up to in your profession.
3. How is the company structure and culture?
Will you look forward to coming into work every day? What’s your impression of the people with whom you’ve interacted? Does the company seem like a good fit? Company culture can make all the difference when it comes to job satisfaction and can even make up for a lower salary or less generous benefits.
There are a few ways to evaluate company culture. You can start by checking out reviews on Glassdoor to see how current employees really feel about their company. (But, as with any online review, there are a few caveats to consider.) Also, when you go in for the interview, really pay attention and evaluate your potential colleagues and supervisors — it’s important to determine what type of work environment best fits your personality and brings out your best performance.
4. Have you made a pros and cons list?
It’s much easier to decide between job offers when you have the information laid out side by side. Start with compensation and then compare benefits, location and commute times, job duties, opportunities for advancement, stability of the company, office environment and any other aspect that could contribute to your job satisfaction. Chances are one choice will begin to outweigh the other.
5. What is your gut telling you?
Your initial reactions of each prospective employer, based on the interview, people you’ve interacted with, compensation package and job responsibilities, should be a good indication of which role is right for you. Be honest with yourself and really consider which position you will be happiest in over the long run. Remember, you'll be spending the majority of your days there, so try to be sure the work is both enjoyable and challenging.
Still can't decide which job offer is best for you? When all else fails, flip a coin. Before it lands, you will likely know which side you were hoping for!
Still looking for the right job offer? See how Robert Half can help your job search.