Photo credit: Thái An
Sometimes life's timing just doesn't work out the way we'd like it to, and this is often true when you're job searching. Interviewing and waiting for offers that may or may not ever come can take an emotional toll. Which means that if you get a job offer from your second-choice employer and haven't heard from your first choice, you might decide to accept the offer so you get closure.
But what if your first-choice employer comes back to you with an offer after you've not only accepted the other job, but started working there? Should you even consider the offer from your first choice? Isn't that a little like ditching your intended bride or groom at the altar?
The short answer is yes, you should negotiate the offer from your first choice, and no, it's not like ditching someone at the altar. Employment isn't marriage - neither party offers a guarantee. The majority of junior professionals will have an “at-will” employment agreement, which means the employer or employee can end the working relationship at any time.
Also, taking the time to negotiate the offer from your first choice may illuminate how the employer will treat you, and you may realize the first offer from your second choice is a better fit for you.
Comparing the offers
How well do you know the companies?
Have you researched news and public investor filings, talked to several people, or have a mentor employed there? Did someone you know at the company invite you to apply?
Or is most of what you know from paid company efforts – like their website, company profiles (like The Muse, LinkedIn, or BuiltIn), and from media stories generated by corporate public relations offices?
Be aware that many large consumer brands heavily market their attractiveness as an employer – thinking that this is a more interesting media story to its target customer (employed, working people), than just “use our service or product.” One of the goals with these kinds of marketing campaigns is to get as many applications as possible without regard to fit.
What have you learned during the interview process?
- What are the role, team, and group?
- How does this job compare to how you like to work? How will you use your skills?
- Will there be opportunities to learn?
- Are there planned trainings?
- Will they provide you with equipment you need (laptop, mobile phone, software)?
- What’s the working environment – private or open? Remote or in-office?
- What’s the commute?
- What are the expectations for weekend and evening work?
- Who did this work before? What happened to that person? Were they promoted or did they leave?
- Is the company growing? Is the industry growing?
- Do you like the company’s mission?
Compare Compensation Offers
- What’s the salary?
- What’s the vacation and/or paid time off?
- Can you afford to live near your job and pay your student loans?
- Is there health insurance?
- Is there tuition reimbursement? How much and when?
Where do you BEST fit?
Which best matches your values? Your hopes? Your personality?
Making your decision
Once you’ve thoroughly and honestly compared the offers, roles, and companies and determined what’s best for you – your values, skills, hopes, personality, and preferences – then make the decision to go or stay with the company that offers you the opportunity to be happiest and most fulfilled. If it’s the second offer, then ending things with the first company may be awkward and uncomfortable, but this is your life and your career. You need to do what makes sense for you. In the long run, it will be better for you and for both employers.
Published on 4/24/2019