The job market is a daunting place for anyone, whether a school leaver looking for a first job, a parent returning to work after raising children, someone wishing to change career, or anyone who is out of work.
Sometimes, taking the first job offered is necessary, especially if the potential employee has been out of work for a long time. After sending out hundreds of CVs (resumes), cover letters, and application forms, attending interviews (that’s if you even get that far) it can often simply be a such a relief to be offered something that you take it without a second’s thought.
But what if you’re offered two, or more, different jobs at the same time? It may seem a strange and unusual concept but such things do happen. It sounds like a lucky position to be in. Of course, it is nice to be in a position to be able to choose between jobs. However, it might not feel like that when trying to decide what to do for the best.
First of all, it is OK to say no. It is OK to ask for a little time to consider the offers. If you are in a position to turn down both, and you believe that is the best thing to do, that’s OK too.
You can verbally accept a job and then turn it down if you’re offered something else before you have signed a contract. Really, until you have a signed agreement, there is no obligation on either side.
If you have been offered more than one job, you will probably be deliberating over which one to take. If the hours can work around each other, it is quite acceptable to take both (provided that both employers agree) but if you only want one, there are going to be things to consider.
Sometimes it will be easy. If, for example, it’s basically the same job, same hours, same everything, but one pays more then, of course, it would make sense to go for the one that pays more. Unfortunately, it can often be more complicated than that. It might be better pay but unsociable hours. It might be a choice between a lower paid job nearer to home or a higher paid job with a long commute. If you have a family, it might be a choice between working school hours in a job you don’t really enjoy or a job you would prefer but would mean needing childcare.
It is also necessary to think about whether it is a job or a career, and whether you are looking for ‘just a job’ or if you want a career, or if you are, or will be, furthering your career by accepting an offer.
Whatever considerations need to be made, make sure they are carefully considered and discussed with anyone who needs to know. Don’t, for example, take on a job if you require childcare without confirming that childcare is available.
As mentioned above, there are considerations to be made. Everyone has different priorities. If you have a family, ask their opinion as well. The ultimate decision is yours but it affects those with whom you live, and on whom you rely.
Don’t take on a job just because it’s the first one on offer, and don’t take the one that pays more without considering other things. A highly paid worker paying childcare and travel costs may, in reality, be no better off than a minimum wage worker with none of those costs.
If it is a choice between a job you’re going to love, and one you would be doing because you need a job, then, if it is a viable option, take the one you’re going to love. Job satisfaction is important, and it benefits both the employee and employer.
Ask about benefits packages. If it comes down to it, and the jobs are the same hours, same pay, same everything, then find out if one offers (or can offer) a little something extra. Free gym membership, an extra day’s holiday, additional training, anything which will be of benefit or interest to you which can help to make that decision.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask for more. Practical questions are:
How much will I get paid? (but don’t ask that at an interview)
What will the hours be? (How many hours and what times?)
Will I incur costs (travel, childcare, clothing, equipment)?
You might want to ask if there will be training, if there will be opportunities for progression, if there will be any work-related travel. Depending where you live, you might want to know about healthcare packages and sick leave too.
There are a lot more possible questions, some common, others individual but a very important question is: will I be happy doing this job? If you have a family, the ultimate question (which includes the consideration of the other questions) is: is this the best choice for my family? With or without a family, the ultimate question is (again bearing in my the answers to other questions): is this right for me?