How to make the right decision in this job market.

University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business

As companies scramble to fill the gaps left by the Great Resignation, the war for talent is competitive. It’s a good time to be part of the pool of candidates and have options, but don’t let yourself be paralyzed weighing those options and end up making the wrong decision.

I work with employers at the Office of Career Services at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, where we have seen a steady increase in recruitment since the start of the pandemic. Companies are looking for candidates with strong analytical skills, balanced with strong soft skills – communication, leadership, teamwork, adaptability and emotional intelligence.

Hiring is much less cyclical than it used to be, and it’s no longer obvious that you need to relocate for a job at a company in another region.

Cynthia Velazquez O'Brien is Senior Director of Employer Relations in the Office of Career Services at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland.

For job seekers, this may mean expanding or eliminating the boundaries of their search and keeping options open longer before accepting an offer. In this market, it can also mean getting multiple job offers.

So how to choose the right one?

Do your research. Make sure you know as much as you can about the company. Ask the hiring manager questions. It’s about the fit for you as much as it is for them. Comb through the company’s website and recent news articles. Clarify all the details about the offer and the benefits you received. This is your last chance to get all the details to make the most informed decision possible and to compare the offer to other opportunities.

Weigh the pros and cons. Fully evaluate each opportunity. What makes you want to take the job? What kind of work do you ultimately want to do? How will the compensation package impact your income? Is it in the city where you want to work? Is it remote or not, and how does that fit into what you want?

Be upfront about what you want. Once you figure out what’s important to you, ask questions about anything that’s missing from the position. It’s no longer a stigma to ask about things like flexible work hours and remote work options. If you are hoping for possible advancement opportunities within the organization or training opportunities, inquire about these opportunities.

Know the culture of the company. Talk to people already at the organization. Use your LinkedIn connections or contact your university or college careers office to find other alumni who work or have worked at the company. Try to get a picture of what it’s really like there.

Do what is best for you. I never encourage giving up a job you’ve already accepted. But you have to do what’s best for you. If your dream job becomes an option after you’ve moved on to another position, think about the consequences, such as cutting ties with the company. I would also take the opportunity to have a conversation with the recruiter to negotiate or build your network. Be honest and share your reasons for quitting – a better opportunity, a unique job, more money, more flexibility, etc.

And remember: Seizing an opportunity now doesn’t lock you in forever. There will be times to re-evaluate your career goals in the future – and if the job market is like this, you will have options.

Cynthia Velazquez O’Brien is Senior Director of Employer Relations in the Office of Career Services at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland.

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