You've been there. You think you'll buy that pair of shoes that you really, really like. But as you ponder your decision, you think, well, let me just look in one more store before I buy these. And you pass one pair up to keep looking for that next pair.
You might have noticed that same scenario in the job world. With companies desperate for good workers, choices for the job-seeker can seem endless--or at least a better offer right around the corner seems ever possible.
So finally settling down, tuning out the calls from employers asking you to come in for interviews, and actually making a choice can be tough.
Lisa Calla-Russ, personnel director at Snelling Personnel Services in Tysons Corner, said she and her colleagues call that the "Goldilocks Syndrome." This one's too hot, this one's too cold . . . you get the picture.
"People are getting so many offers, it's kind of ridiculous," Calla-Russ said. "Most feel like a good job is very easy to find."
Indeed, in many cases it is very easy. You are getting offers. Now what? When do you just take a job you are happy with?
Sometimes options can be a drag. But don't fret it, bask in it. Still, those choices aren't necessarily all good. The trick is making the right choice.
A Job Hunter's Market
A few years back, a job search was a painful experience. These days, the hardest thing might be trying to figure out which good offer to take and which good offer to turn down. Woe is us.
Kimberly Jaecksch, 30, has been through such a situation as of late. After actively looking for a new job for a whopping 2 1/2 months, she finally settled down and accepted an offer. But it wasn't easy.
To prepare for her job search, she polished up her resume, contacted a headhunter and posted the resume on hotjobs.com, tecHound.com, headhunter.net and monster.com.
"All I knew was that I wanted to stay in technology and I would wait and see which ones would contact me," she said.
After two or three weeks of resume posting, she was receiving two or three calls each day from employers. "It was overwhelming to say the least," she said. "I didn't want to weed any out because I didn't know until I talked to them if I would want to turn them away."
So after a few interviews, many calls and much researching of companies through their Web sites, Jaecksch decided on a sales job at a start-up virus-protection firm in Fairfax.
She chose the company because of the small start-up atmosphere (there are only eight people in the company right now) and because of what she deems to be great benefits--a good 401(k), stock options and good incentives.
"Just as we tell our clients there's no perfect employee, we have to tell the [job-seeker] that there's no perfect job. You have to look for some criteria and if it fits and you feel good about it, take it," said Calla-Russ.
And that's what Jaecksch had to face. "To tell you the truth, it was very hard to say yes," she admitted. "But I figured if it didn't work out, I'm still leaving my resume posted. I'll always have something to fall back on."
Take Time to Be Choosy
Connie Ramberg, president of Jobtrak.Com, an online job listing service for college students, grad students and alums, said multiple job offers can be among the biggest problems facing today's college graduates-to-be.
"It's a huge ethical problem for the kids that accept the jobs, then a better job comes along two weeks later," she said. "So something they're trying to do in the career centers that they didn't have to worry about before is [teaching students] to be very careful about making their choices."
One suggestion Ramberg had is a piece of common sense that, sometimes, we need to hit ourselves over the head with: Look carefully at your options before you say yes.
"There are so many of these companies giving offers so quickly, students are getting multiple offers. And many are getting them on the spot," she said.
If you're offered a job on the spot, though, she said, you don't have to accept it immediately.
Go home, mull it over, make a list of pros and cons, and see how many criteria fit your desires. Then make an educated decision, not a hasty one. Ask the employer how much time you can have before you give an answer, and take it.
"What is different today is that the employers are coming to campus [to recruit] earlier. The recruiting schedules are booked and students have to be prepared earlier for what they should do," Ramberg said. "Students have to be ready earlier, but they don't have to accept on the spot."
Before you can make a choice, you've got to organize--a curse word to many of us, I know. But throwing yourself out into the job-shopping world without knowing what you want can slam you with decision-making paralysis.
"Really get yourself organized in a checklist of things that you value the most," advises Ron Krannich, president of Impact Publications, a publishing company focusing on career issues. And be careful when you do it--with all of the money floating around, especially in the tech business, he said, many people immediately think compensation is the most important criterion.
But, he said, once people are settled into their jobs, studies have found (and hey, you can admit it, too) that they are most concerned about the work experience and the culture of the office; money issues fall lower on the list.
So really think about what is important to you, and what will be important to you if you stay at Company X for more than a few months.
"Make sure to look at all these other important values," he said.
Jaecksch would suggest the same thing and took that route herself. "I saw companies offering vacation homes and new car leases" to potential employees, she said. But she chose her current employers even though they weren't offering a lot in the way of perks for new workers. "It's a very team-oriented atmosphere and their potential is definitely good. . . . It's not as lucrative as some, but I was looking for the opportunity."
Amy Joyce's e-mail is email@example.com.