Ajay is going places. It has been hardly two years he passed out from his MBA course and he has already changed more than 3 jobs. Each change in job is offering him a hike that not many would command. So appraisals are a passé for Ajay who is always open to talk to any recruiter as long as the hike is considerate. And ask him why he is on to job-hopping – he simply says, “I want to make more money quickly. Staying in the same job will not guarantee that!” However Ajay is facing a strange problem. He has more than two offers in hand (thanks to the talent drought the economy is facing) and he is not too sure on which one to bite. Both the offers are equally appealing and he is in a fix. Ajay’s case is not an isolated example. People who are active on the job market know how many recruiters call them everyday. While not every call can be considered there do come a time when you find yourself in catch 22?
So what should Ajay do? Well if it was so simpler then possibly there would have been no dilemma at all and he should have accepted one and had forget about the other one. However since both were equally appealing, decision-making got stuck.
In today’s market where talent (read employee) is the King, expecting calls from recruiters is the truth that most of us have to live with. One cannot shun the doors on their face (as tomorrow they might be coming to you with that dream offer), at the same time it is not necessary that we bite on their offer. The number of offers one get’s is not directly and entirely related to the talent the candidate posses. It is also related to factors like: availability of other candidates with similar profile, candidate’s accessibility to recruiters, commission the recruiter gets once the position is closed etc. So how does one decide in such situations?
There is no universal solution and therefore I cannot suggest an algorithm that will be a one-size fix all and can be used time and again. However presented below is a framework that can help you take a better decision in such demanding times. I call this framework as the pH test for job related decision-making.
So what is the pH test for decision-making? The pH test allows you to take your decision on variables that are most important in your life at this point in time. Let’s examine the pH test in some details:
Purpose (p) – What is the reason why you are seeking this job change? If you are not happy with your job then possibly this question doesn’t makes sense, however if you are satisfied with your current job and still have got a compelling offer then this question needs to be addressed. Why are you looking for a change? Is it because of salary offered, is it because of more responsibility that comes to you as a result of the job, is it because of brand name of the company offering you the job or what is the reason why you are seeking a job change? Sometimes we are not seeking a job change even then if a tempting offer comes we are the first to bite it. Having an understanding of why you are seeking a change can be very helpful in validating your decision and executing the same.
Second (p) is the People – whom you will be working with. Now this can be tricky as it will never be possible for you to find out sufficient information about people who you are going to work with. There will always be some unknown elements in terms of your boss, peers and subordinates. Will you be comfortable in working with those new people? How is the general culture of the company you plan to join? This is very important; as this will be the support group you will depend upon to make any progress in your next job.
Third (p) is the Priority – what is the list of your most important priorities that will be affected by this decision and how much importance do you give to each one of them? Obviously your decision will be based on things which you have a higher priority. Let’s say Ajay wanted a higher salary but at the same time did not want to relocate to another city because he cannot stay away from his parents or family? Obviously family has a higher priority for Ajay and therefore Ajay will not mind giving up an offer from company that wants him to relocate.
Let’s look at the (H) now:
Hike (H) – What hike are you expecting in the offer you propose to accept? And hike doesn’t means only the hike in your take home salary, but also in terms of your learning, you’re responsibilities, your career advancement and the like. It is very likely that a new offer with increased salary might offer you a specialist role but you might be more interested in a generalist kind of profile within the same work domain. So should you accept such an offer? It is very much possible that you might get hike in some factors while the others might not be hiked. For instance the company offering you has a big brand name, gives you the salary you wanted but cannot give you the designation you were looking for as they have a different designation policy and they cannot over rule it. Here also one needs to look at the most important factors which one is looking at in making a decision. So if designation doesn’t matter to you and all other factors are in favor then possibly you can take a decision in favor.
Second (H) – Head Start – You also need to take a decision whether the job you want to take up will give you a head start or not? Head start would mean – should you any point in time decide to leave the company will this decision open more doors for you or will the future choice will be limited. This is a very crucial point as you are about to join a company about which you have just dipstick idea. Few rounds and bit of google search will only give you a vague idea about the company you plan to join. The reality sets in only later when you are actually on the job.
Third (H) – Happiness – Will your decision about the new offer make you happy? Are you taking this decision because you want to earn more despite you know that the job content sucks? Be very clear on this. Don’t take a decision just because it gave you the hike you needed, even though you know the content sucks. It is better to work with a without hike job as long as you are enjoying it. So if you are not going to be happy with the new job, please don’t take the decision yet. What will the hike do when the energy to come to the office just becomes negative? What will the brand names do when you are not happy about the job content that is offered to you?
The pH model described above can hold true for a variety of people who are in different stages of their careers. The model can work even for freshers who do not have industry experience and are not skilled to identify what will best suit their long-term requirements. While the model describes some of the most important P’s and H’s useful in decision making there can be certain other factors also which will vary from individual to individual.