Congratulations! You’ve been so successful in the recruitment process that more than one organisation is interested and has offered you a contract.
But now, the (potentially) difficult decision as to which one to accept, and how to communicate this to the employers.
I don’t know which job to accept!
It can be difficult to choose between jobs that you’ve applied to, were excited to be interviewed for and are still genuinely interested in. There are a few things you can think about to help you make that choice.
Begin by considering how you normally make difficult decisions. For example, some people like to talk through their thoughts with a number of people, whilst others might prefer writing a pros and cons list, or perhaps, both! Think back to a difficult decision you’ve made in the past and consider how you approached it, and if you could employ a similar technique.
However you like to approach decision making, you might want to consider the following elements:
What are the deadlines?
Make sure you are clear as to when you have to accept or decline the positions. If you don’t know, ask the employers. If the deadline is immediate and you need more time to think, speak to the employer; reaffirm your interest in the job, explain your situation and ask if there is any flexibility to extend the deadline date. They would rather a candidate consider their decision rather than rush into one and pull out closer to the start date.
Your values and motivations
For many people their choice of career and employer is driven by their personal values and motivations. A career closely linked to your values and motivations can help keep you driven, interested in the job and loyal to your employer. You might have considered these prior to applying for roles. Whether you did or not, they can be useful to assess if one of your job offers more closely matches these requirements than another. A good tool for considering your values and motivations is the LSE Careers Career Builder tool (see the ‘self-assessment’ section, then select ‘values and motivations’).
This will help you order your priorities which you should bear in mind when considering the following:
Familiarise yourself with the jobs
Look back through the job descriptions; what are the roles and responsibilities, what career development schemes (if any) are there, how much will you be paid, what type of contract have you been offered (temporary, permanent), etc. Which overall package appeals to you most, based on your career motivations, values and knowledge of the role?
Why you applied to the employers in the first place
Think back to your initial motivations, whether they are still valid or not, they might help you uncover aspects you hadn’t remembered or considered. Perhaps one employer sits more comfortably with your values or career trajectory.
Consider the work environments
Employers within the same sector will have a different overall work environment. They may be hard workers but highly sociable, mainly a team environment or individual working, for example. Think back to when you have met the employers, whether at events or during the recruitment process, and consider which you feel matches your working preference. Perhaps you have met your line-managers-to-be and believe that one would be more supportive of you than the other. How does your understanding of their work environment fit with your motivations and values?
Speak to a careers consultant at LSE
We often see LSE students in our careers discussions appointments who are deciding between two offers. Alongside knowing the jobs market, we can impartially talk you through your thoughts and get you to think about how you can go about making the decision that is right for you.
Run your thoughts past your friends and family
Many people highly value the opinions of their closest friends and family in these situations. These are the people who know you the best so may help you talk through your decision from a more personal perspective.
I know which job I want to accept; how do I communicate this to the employers?
Accepting a job offer
The difficult (or not so difficult!) decision has been made. Now it’s time to tell the employers that you will accept or decline their job offer. Employers will have different means for you to accept or decline a job; some may ask you to telephone or email your response, whilst others will ask you to respond online (this tends to be for large organisations who offer many jobs a day). Whichever the employer has asked from you, follow their instructions!
If emailing or speaking to the employer, say thank you and that you enjoyed meeting everyone at the recruitment process, and, finally, that you would be delighted to accept the position. They should tell you what the next step is in terms of signing the contract and accepting the job formally, but if they don’t, make sure to ask!
Declining a job offer
When approaching the employer you are to decline it is advisable to be polite, professional and honest. Speak directly to the person who offered you the job or, at the very least, email them. Having a conversation is a professional approach which allows you to explain your reasoning fully, and gives the employer the chance to ask you any question too. When telephoning them make sure you thank them for the opportunity and say that you enjoyed meeting the team, but that you have decided to decline the position as you were offered another job which you feel matches your career aspirations more closely (or any other honest, but not rude or personal, reasoning). They may or may not want you to embellish; if they do then make sure you’re ready to explain your reasoning in more detail – be professionally honest, not brutal! Quite often students find it useful to write a short script for themselves leading up to this conversation. At the end of the call, again, say thank you to the employer.
Don’t forget that if you need any advice or support during this decision making process or how to approach the employers to book a careers discussion appointment with a careers consultant at LSE Careers, via CareerHub.
Good luck with your decision, and congratulations on your new job!