How to choose between job offers

How to choose between job offers

By Andy Taylor, Exchange Street Director 

A good friend of mine was recently offered two jobs; a lovely position to be in. Which it is. But, it also presented a major problem when on the face of it they were both similar positions with similar prospects. Which to choose?

Getting it right is important. But for my friend it was imperative. He had been made redundant on three occasions in the last 5 years and his CV was starting to look like an entry in the Yellow Pages under ‘Educational Sales’.

Andy, what should I do?

Remember the first conversation you had

When you start looking for a job someone in recruitment asks you that terribly recruitment question “what do you want to do next?”. What type of firm are you looking for, what size, what’s most important to you – money, status, work-life balance?

Fast forward two months and you are all set to take the big money offer. But what if you have forgotten that first conversation, when you said that money was important but not everything. When you said you didn’t want to work in a purely new business role, or that you’d sacrifice earnings to have a smaller patch so that you could see your kids more. Remember why you were looking and what it was that was most important to you.

Make a list

Simple yet effective. Write down a list of all the factors that are important to you and put them in order. For each offer write a for and against list and then compare and contrast.

If you say that the most important thing for you is longevity “(I really don’t want to be made redundant again”) then consider whether that start-up really is for you. If you hate micro-management but have that feeling that your boss, despite appearing to be nice, really would show you out of the door after one bad month, then do not join them. It doesn’t matter what they pay you, or how nice the business card looks, or that there’s a Pret a Manger around the corner. You are walking into a potential catastrophe.

As a general rule of thumb, culture, managerial style and working with people you like and trust should be at the top of your list. If you don’t enjoy where you work then earning bonus or getting promoted probably won’t happen.

Talk to someone you trust

Yes talk to the recruiters and yes talk to anyone you know that works in your sector. But they all have their biases. In a sense, they all know too much.

So talk to the people who know you best. People who can be brutally honest and who won’t worry about upsetting your feelings.

Ask your other half, or your mum, or your golf partner. People with no vested interest are often the ones that can cut through the noise and be most objective. “But you told me when you were drunk three weeks ago that you’d never work for a massive company again?” is the wakeup call that you might need.

Don’t assume

Don’t assume that big is best. That working for a big company means that you will have promotional opportunities or that your job will be safer.

Don’t assume that smaller companies are less prone to politics. Or that you will get an easier ride.

Think clearly and objectively about the task at hand. Will you be comfortable doing the job? Can you justify what they do and how they do it? Are you being realistic about your abilities?

Think, think and think again.

Recruitment & Transparency

The best companies usually have the best recruitment experiences. They usually don’t over-sell. They usually take as much interest in you and what questions you have than assuming recruitment is a one-way process. It isn’t. If anything, it is a much bigger decision for you than a company.

If they won’t tell you how specifically they measure success. Or how many of their consultants are earning bonus. If they shy away from letting you spend time with a potential peer, then ask yourself why.

The best businesses do everything in their power to showcase what they do as they are entirely confident that people will like what they see. They are also extremely comfortable in their own skin; they can deal with the fact that some candidates will turn them down. Not everyone is right for a company. You may as well find this out during the interview process then 6 months in.


Let’s just hope I got my advice right.

If not, here’s some further reading: