Though your IT adventure isn’t taking place a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, it’s filled with some of the same exciting twists and turns that the on-screen story brings to life. Like your favorite Star Wars characters, faced with choosing between good and evil, your choice to become an IT pro set the course for your future. It also meant that you’ll have to make many more difficult decisions in the years to come. For some, these decisions may not only have included considering one offer, but choosing between two or more opportunities. Due to the tech talent shortage, IT pros may frequently find themselves in such a position during their careers when planning to move into a new full time role. Knowing how to professionally navigate the process, from communicating with IT hiring managers to making a sound decision, will be key to helping you land the best opportunities. Before entering the “battlefield,” consider these tips from the Star Wars big leagues:
Don’t Rush To A Decision Like Rey: Ask For Time To Think
Rey is proof that the best decisions usually don’t happen on the spot. Though she initially declined a permanent involvement with the resistance, in time she realized her calling to join in battle against the dark side. Unlike Rey, you may not be able to change your mind once you’ve given your answer to a prospective employer, so it’s important that you weigh the pros and cons to an opportunity both at the start of the interview process and after an offer has been made. In order to do this effectively, thank your prospective employer for the offer and opportunity and ask if you can respond by a specified date. Most IT employers will be willing to give you anywhere from a day to a week to consider an offer, but all will prefer an answer sooner rather than later. If you have another offer on the table, or even if you are still in the interviewing process with another employer, it’s best to be honest when asking for time to consider, and let the offering company know that in fairness to both employers you’d like to take the time to communicate with the other company and consider your choice carefully. Remember, it’s much better to ask for this time than to accept an offer with plans to later rescind, should a different opportunity come through. Work with your potential employers to ensure that both you and they are being respected and considered while you make a decision.
Consider Your Team Like Chewbacca: Remember Culture Fit Matters
The famous Wookiee warrior likely didn’t plan to become a smuggler and co-pilot. But while his relationship with Han Solo may have begun out of personal need, it’s clear that Chewbacca came to love his job thanks to his partner in crime. The adage that says people leave bosses, not positions, should be carefully considered when you are faced with multiple opportunities. If you got the chance to meet with your prospective direct supervisors, consider how the conversations went. Were you getting along on a professional, as well as personal level? Remember that on average, you will spend a minimum of 50% of your total waking hours on any given workday at work, so it’s crucial that you work somewhere you can have fun. Your interview and offer process should serve as a good example of what to expect from your working experience – including your compatibility with your boss and coworkers, comfort with your potential office environment, and the sort of programs (i.e. wellness), competitions, and team-building events that the company offers. Such factors can make or break your experience, and will likely be key in influencing how long you remain at a place of employment.
Communicate Clearly Like C-3PO: Handle Negotiations Gracefully
C-3PO, a droid programmed for etiquette and protocol, would never enter into a conversation without following protocol and politely communicating his message. Like C-3PO, if you find yourself in a position for negotiations with one or more companies hoping to have you on their team, you should navigate the negotiation politics judiciously. While your instinct may be to go with the highest monetary offer, there are a number of other factors to consider that you may want to bring up during this stage. Items such as location, commute, hours, and remote working all should be clarified, and may be negotiable. Use the information that you gathered on these offered benefits during the interview process to determine whether or not your employer would be willing to make changes to them – most will tell you up front which areas are more flexible, and which are not. Additionally, factors such as health benefits, bonuses, and opportunities for career advancement may have a greater monetary impact even than salary or hourly wage, so you must also take these “hidden” financial gains into consideration when weighing the value of one position over another. No matter what, do not negotiate using ultimatums unless you encounter a true deal-breaker. If you tell one company that they would need to meet a certain amount in order for you to accept their offer, be prepared for the answer to be “no.” Likewise, if they are able to meet your wage, schedule, or other negotiating requests, follow through by accepting the position. Always be honest, and don’t gamble with your future or professional reputation.
Lead With Confidence Like Princess Leia: Don’t Take A Counter-Offer
From her early days of commanding a Rebel base, to her eventual role as a general for the Resistance, Princess Leia made it her mission to fight for good. Even in the face of personal conflicts and tragedy, she stood by her values and marched against the dark side. Likewise, once you have informed your current employer of your decision to resign, it’s best that you remain grounded in that decision and forge forward with your career path. Though you might be tempted by a counteroffer from your current employer, in most cases you should not consider accepting. Different from multi-offer negotiations, the counteroffer is very unlikely to lead to professional satisfaction. In fact, one survey revealed that 80 percent of workers who accepted counteroffers experienced a strain on their relationships with coworkers, and loss of productivity. Additionally, it isn’t uncommon for employees who accept a counter offer to end up losing their job a few months later, once their employer can place their exit on more convenient terms for the company. Remember: if you did not feel valued before the offer, you will not feel valued after. The counter offer is made for the convenience of the company, not the benefit of the employee. Take control of your professional success by making a move when you feel the timing is right.
No matter what the decision-making process may throw at you, ultimately you can’t go wrong when you pursue a positive outcome, and maintain integrity and professionalism. Though it can be hard to turn down a current or prospective employer, you will be rewarded with the “victory” of a new and exciting IT position. Explain the reasons for your decisions briefly but ultimately say goodbye when the time comes. It’s an IT pro’s job market, which means you’re in the best position to land a great opportunity. Approach your job search keeping that in mind, and equipped with the tools necessary to navigate multiple offers, and the force is sure to be with you.