There’s nothing like getting multiple job offers to make you the envy of your circle of friends. So why do you suddenly have a major case of the jitters?
As enviable as this situation may seem, deciding among different accounting and finance jobs can be tough. Your career is a key part of your life, and this choice may play a big part in defining your future.
While the salaries in these multiple job offers are important — and you can compare how they stack up against the average pay ranges by position and region with Robert Half’s Salary Guide for Accounting and Finance — it’s not the only thing.
“At the end of the day, when you have multiple job offers, you have to go with the one that you can see yourself with long term,” advises Colleen McAuliffe, division director of Robert Half Finance & Accounting. “Sixty days into the new job, the money and perks will not matter if you do not feel connected to the organization, people and the work you are doing.”
If you love your job, she says, “you will have a better chance of greater success, which will result in more income long term.”
Here are four questions that will help you make the right choice when you have multiple job offers:
1. What matters most to you?
What tops your career agenda? Truly enriching work? An entry-level job at a Big Four accounting firm? A bigger title at a smaller company in your hometown?
To answer this question, take your strengths into consideration. Of your multiple job offers, which one would make the best use of your skills and talents? Be honest with yourself about your limitations: An offer that comes with a great salary and an impressive title might be flattering, but you don’t want to be in over your head, either.
2. What’s the total package?
As anyone who has spent time in the workforce knows, salary is just one part of a complex compensation package. For instance, one company might offer a rich array of employee benefits, while another has leaner ones. Most benefit plans have some sort of cost-sharing formula, which can vary significantly between plans.
Paid time off can also boost an overall compensation package. Conversely, if the job you would like the most comes with benefits you find lacking or unacceptable, find out if there is any room to negotiate salary or employee perks.
3. What’s the company culture, and are you a good fit?
Potential employers will carefully evaluate whether you’d fit well into their respective workplaces, but when you’re weighing multiple job offers, you need to examine how you feel about each setting.
Do some homework so you can find out what you’re getting into before making a decision. Consider your own personality. For example, if you crave order and structure at work, you might not like working for a freewheeling startup company.
How can you find out about a company’s work-life balance?
4. What’s the potential for future growth?
Opportunities such as mentoring, training programs, tuition reimbursement and participation in industry conferences can be just as important as salary and benefits, in terms of building a future.
For instance, through mentoring you might learn about a wider range of disciplines outside of accounting work. You could become a business manager in another department of your company, thus using your numerical expertise in a nonaccounting setting. Pursuing an advanced degree through tuition reimbursement can also open up new opportunities.
To complicate things more ...
What if your current employer decides to make a salary counteroffer? You weren't prepared to engage in salary negotiation with this company, so what might you do?
The evidence suggests you should reject counteroffers for a variety of reasons. For starters, if you stay in your current workplace, there may be an undercurrent of grumbling that your job search was nothing but a salary negotiation ploy. In addition, it’s unlikely the issues that led you to want to make a move in the first place will change if you accept the counteroffer.
Still not convinced? Why You Should Say NO to a Counteroffer.
It may be tempting to go for the money when weighing multiple job offers. But as you can see, there are other important factors, and it may come down to trusting your instincts.
When it comes time to accepting and declining your job offers, remember to be gracious. One of those hiring managers may approach you in the future about a completely different job, and the more doors you keep open, the better your chances of advancing in your career.
Colleen McAuliffe has been a division director in the San Francisco Bay Area for Robert Half Finance & Accounting since 2010. She’s dedicated to the recruitment and placement of job seekers in full-time accounting operations positions.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in 2014 and was updated recently to reflect more current information.