How to manage multiple job offers

By Russell Adams, AdMore Recruitment- Specialists in Retail and Hospitality Recruitment, Search & Selection, Talent Management and Career Development.   Statistics released recently from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) indicate that the employment market in retail and the wider market is improving. As the market picks up and skill shortages in certain sectors start to appear, candidates may find themselves in a situation where they receive multiple job offers. For many this may be a new experience. So how do you manage this potentially tricky situation? Whilst most people would be envious of your dilemma, this could be one of the most important decisions of your life. So how do you go about making that all important decision and how do you manage the communication with all parties? There are no hard and fast rules but walking this potential tightrope ensuring your integrity remains intact takes some careful consideration. Below are some tips and considerations to help you make the right decision and ensure you communicate your decision appropriately to those concerned. MAKING THE DECISION What criteria should you use to help make your decision? A multitude of factors are ultimately going to affect your decision and undoubtedly it will be a complex decision to make so the first thing to do is to right down the Pro’s and Cons of the different opportunities. This will make the comparison between the two (or indeed more!) opportunities easier. Some of the considerations you need to make are as follows: Package I am often surprised by people’s focus on basic salary. The benefits packages on offer vary dramatically and in total may be worth as much as 50% of the basic salary. The best and easiest way to compare the two is to put together a spreadsheet providing a direct comparison in every area eg. pension contributions, holiday entitlement, single or family private health insurance etc. This must be looked at in totality to draw a full comparison. However as discussed above, the package should only be one element in the decision making process. Career Potential To me this is a really important factor in your decision but one that is ultimately very subjective. Most businesses will tell you that they can offer you a fantastic career path with lots of opportunities to progress however you need to ask how realistic this is. Through the interview process you should ask what examples they can give you of people who have joined and then progressed. Of course, progression will be largely down to you and what you deliver but it is still important to understand their views and policies around internal promotion. Location Let’s be honest, everyone would love the perfect job on their doorstep but in reality this is rarely the case. However, the length of commute is an important consideration both from a cost point of view but also from a time and work/life balance perspective. This should be weighed up in the context of other elements of the offer. Culture and Work/life Balance This is often linked to an individual and their values however company culture plays a big part. What are the expected hours of work, how people focused is the business really? What are their expectations of you? The more you can find out about a company and its culture through research and speaking to people in the business, the easier you can ascertain whether it is going to be the right fit for you. For further information on how to identify a people focused business, click here Line Manager In our careers we don’t always get a say about who we work for but as we all know it can make a lot of difference to both our success and our happiness at work. When comparing opportunities consideration should be given to who your prospective line manager will be. You should consider what you are likely to learn from them and how much will they assist you in your development. However, it shouldn’t be the over-riding reason because you may get a new boss in a month’s time. People you work with Similarly the people you work with are highly important. Do the people in the company seem like people you could hang out with? Do they seem interested in you and give you a warm and fuzzy feeling? Do you respect their professional backgrounds and accomplishments? Would you feel comfortable being part of their team? The company’s position in the market. Sometimes overlooked, but where does the company stand in its market and what sort of reputation does it have? This is of particular importance when you look to move on from the business and further your career elsewhere. Don’t underestimate the effect this will have on your marketability. Equally, the financial stability of the business and its future strategic plans are important as an indication of your own financial security should you join. Seeking the counsel of others I would always be sparing with your discussions with others (particularly current colleagues), however if you have a trusted confidant it can be very beneficial to gain an alternative perspective. They are likely to provide an impartial view without the personal attachment you may have developed. Use your instinct Weighing up two very similar opportunities is difficult and sometimes it will come down to listening to your instinct. If, after given the above consideration, there is genuinely very little to choose between them it may be a case of going for which one feels right or indeed turning down the one that doesn’t feel right. Sometimes it can be difficult to pin point just what it is however sometimes you need to be brave and go with your gut. COMMUNICATING YOUR THOUGHTS AND DECISION Deciding between two offers is one thing – managing the timescales and communication around them can be equally complex. Honesty is very important particularly when asked direct questions by recruiters or the company directly. Playing any sort of game is an extremely risky strategy as it could result in you jeopardising one or both of your offers. Whilst your objective is to get the right result for you, this needs to be done in a way that does not leave people feeling mislead. After all, you may turn a business down now for a variety of reasons but that doesn’t mean you may not want to consider them as an employer in the future. If, during the recruitment process, you are asked about other roles and offers, be honest but generic. It is generally considered poor form to get into specifics at that stage unless asked very directly. There is no harm saying you are interviewing elsewhere but that you would love to work at their company. If you need more time then ask for it – if companies genuinely believe you are the right person they should be prepared to give you a little time to make the right decision. It is important that in no way do you create the impression that you are playing one company off against the other. Instead, try to position it in a pragmatic and practical way, justifying your rationale and your reason. When you have made your decision, ensure that you turn down the other offer in a professional way. A telephone call followed up by an email to the Recruiter and the person who interviewed you thanking them for their time and for their interest in you is a good way to leave a positive impression. It will never be an easy situation to manage but just be very mindful as to how your actions are landing with your future prospective employers. It is a very small world and it is wise to avoid burning bridges as you never know when your paths may cross in the future. Finally, having made your decision and resigned, be aware that you may receive a counter offer from your current employer.  For advice about counter offers, click here and For advice about how to handle your resignation, click here  

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Can the launch of glassdoor.co.uk help you to identify your employer of choice?

By Sophie Mackenzie, AdMore Recruitment- Specialists in Retail and Hospitality Recruitment, Search & Selection, Talent Management and Career Development.   For those of you who are as yet unaware of glassdoor.com, it is a US based site whose aim is to create a community providing a source of information about prospective employers, job roles and salaries based on anonymous reviews from employees. They have recently launched their UK site, glassdoor.co.uk .

The format of each review comprises Pros and Cons and Advice to Senior Management along with star ratings given for the following criteria: Compensations & Benefits, Culture & Values, Career Opportunities, Senior Leadership, Work/Life Balance and CEO Rating.

It is a simple format and undoubtedly can prove a useful resource when researching companies or preparing for interviews.

Under each company profile, it includes a Recent News section which is useful for ensuring you are up to date with latest Press Releases, results or general news.

Understandably, the large, global businesses have the most reviews (often in their thousands) with some sectors being more broadly represented than others, particularly the Management Consultancies, Technology companies and Financial Services. I would guess therefore that reviews on these businesses are a pretty accurate reflection of working life within those companies.

Within Retail, the major UK brands are represented although many have a limited numbers of reviews – I’m sure this will change as more people in the UK become aware of its existence. Until there is a significant body of material on each company, I think it will be a while before it provides enough insight to accurately reflect what it is like to work for a particular company.

In their Community Guidelines, glassdoor are clear that participants should write balanced reviews without reverting to bitter or overly personal accounts of their own experience. Reviewers must be current or former employees of that business within the past 3 years and so there is reason to assume that the integrity of the reviews is good.

As always with reviews, you must take each contribution in context and look at the overall theme which emerges from a number of reviews. Other factors to bear in mind are the level of the person reviewing (junior candidates will have a different perspective than senior managers although their opinion is no less insightful or valid). Equally with the Interview section, where people provide sample interview questions and insight into their application process, it is wise to be cautious. Interview processes can change and your preparation still needs to be thorough enough to deal with any unforeseen eventualities.

We are all becoming increasingly reliant on reviews whether that is before booking a holiday or buying something and they can be an incredibly powerful tool. Recently, before leaving on holiday, I accidentally stumbled upon some Tripadvisor reviews on my destination. They were so bad that I was tempted to cancel, however I kept an open mind and sure enough, I had a lovely time albeit with my eyes wide open and expecting the worst! With something as important as your career, the more research you can do the better, and as long as you keep an open mind, glassdoor.co.uk should prove to be a useful addition to your ‘career toolbox’.

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What should your Recruitment Consultant really do for you?

By Russell Adams, AdMore Recruitment- Specialists in Retail and Hospitality Recruitment, Search & Selection, Talent Management and Career Development. In a market where organisations are increasing their proportion of direct hires, do you still need to be talking to recruiters and what are they actually doing for you?  Are they really adding any value and what are they doing that you couldn’t do yourself? Indeed with LinkedIn it is now easier than ever before to be found by organisations looking to hire. So are recruiters really adding any value? The answer to that question will definitely depend on who you are talking to. Sadly the industry is lightly regulated and with no formal qualifications it is very easy for poorly trained individuals to operate without much scrutiny or redress. As we are all aware, the market is still tight. With strong competition for most roles it is likely that you will need to engage the services of recruiters in order to try and access the best opportunities in the market.

So what should a good recruiter be doing for you?

Career Advice

A specialist recruiter should be able to give expert career advice and both challenge and assist you in your career goals and objectives. They should be highly knowledgeable in your field and very well connected.  Your recruiter should be a career partner and not just an agent that will place you in a role.

Recruiters can and should provide impartial career advice. When paid commission you need to appreciate that some may have a short term attitude and advise what is best for them and not for you as the candidate. However, the best recruiters will take a look term approach, appreciate that people will remember great advice and certainly never forget bad advice. Although in the short term they may lose out on a fee, longer term if they do the right thing then you are much more likely to engage them when you are looking to recruit. So look out for the signs that they are thinking long term.

Recruiters can if they are willing provide advice across a range of areas including advice on CV’s and Interviewing. They typically do not change for these services but do it as a way of adding more value to the candidates. Again they are likely to only provide in depth advice to those individuals who they have built a relationship with.

Job Search

In addition to some of the added value areas, fundamentally you want your recruiter to give you access to the best jobs in the market. So, do plenty of research and ask plenty of questions; what roles are they recruiting? Who are their key clients? Are they recruiting the types of roles you are interested in? The competition out there is fierce and through building a strong relationship with key recruiters in your sector you can try and ensure you gain access to these roles. A good recruiter should always call you back. In the current market, recruiters are incredibly busy, there are large number of candidates on the market chasing relatively fewer roles, however if you agree up front how to communicate and how frequently then you should be able to find a way that works for both parties.

 Process Management

A good recruiter should "coach" you through the recruitment process.  They should be using their in depth knowledge of the client and the individuals within it to guide and advise you on how to position yourself. They should be able to give you a strong insight into the culture and how you will fit.  The are also likely to get in depth feedback from the client after each stage so make sure they are sharing this information with you, so you can understand what you may need to do more or less of.  In fact a really good recruiter will always think long term. The better ones will coach you through a process even when they aren’t representing you but it is with a client they know. They will appreciate the long term benefits of doing this and the potential for the future.

 Offer Negotiation

Whilst there are a multitude of reasons for moving jobs, increasing your salary and benefits is often an important aspect.  Your recruiter should be instrumental in negotiating the right salary for you.  They should know the client well and will have a real feel for what the client may be willing to pay for someone with your skill set.  But make sure they are clear about your parameters because as much as you want to receive the best offer you also don’t want to put yourself in a situation where you are jeopardising a potential offer because the recruiter is demanding an unachievable  salary on your behalf. Also make sure you understand the full package. The benefits on offer may vary considerably from your current role and other roles you are considering and it is wise to look at the package as a whole. This will both influence your thoughts around basic salary but also may give you some leverage. Make sure you have this information early in the process. Like any negotiation the Recruiter will be aiming to find middle ground that is acceptable to both you and the client. It is ok to push but get a feel for where those boundaries lie.

Post Placement

A good recruiter won’t just place you and collect their fee, they will support you through your notice period and then though your induction into the business. They should provide you with an insight into the key players in the business you are joining, the culture and advice on how to integrate into the business. They should keep in touch and ensure that your induction runs smoothly, feeding back to the client where appropriate.

Conclusion 

Identifying and then building a relationship with the right recruiters will be critical if you are determined to make the best career move possible.

So how can you ensure your recruiter is doing all these things for you? Firstly please choose wisely. It is best to get recommendations and check their credentials.

Secondly to gain this level of advice, support and opportunity you need to invest time in building a relationship with the recruiter. This is easier said than done when working in a demanding and consuming role, so select a small number of well connected recruiters. For some additional advice on job hunting please read our recent blogs Looking for a job in 2013and How to avoid joining the wrong business.

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