Choosing Carefully Between Job Offers

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You were looking for a job since long now. Sometimes, you thought the interview went well but sadly, you didn’t receive any call. Other times, you gave the interview but politely turned the offer down because it didn’t match your expectations.

It was a frustrating process but finally, your hard-work paid off, and you have got a job offer!

But wait, there’s another too.

You can’t help but wonder at the irony of life when at one moment you were not sure if you would find what you are looking and now you have two offers. Both are the kind of offers you were looking for, and now you are spoilt for choice.

How to make an informed decision, now that you have multiple job offers?

 

Getting the Facts Right:                   

First things first, make sure you get all the information about the offers: factual and perceptual. The salary, benefits, the company and work culture, the values the company has, the reputation, the hours you need to devote, the number of leaves you are entitled to, who the manager will be, the kind of co-workers you will have, among other things.

Take all of this into consideration and compare. The general impression you got also counts. You might want to recall how you got along with the prospective manager/boss, co-workers, if you’ve had the chance. You could also try to recall how you felt when you walked into the office.

 

Relevance:

You made a list of the salary, perks, hours, commuting time, personal days, etc. But how much of this is going to be relevant to your life?

How much relevance an aspect has changes according to the individual.  For example, some places provide lunch. Someone who lives far away and has to spend a lot of time commuting would find this a very convenient and important arrangement. Some people pay more attention to the salary, while some want a shorter commute irrespective of how much they get paid, while some people want a place which has a crèche for children.

Think about your priorities, compare and then make the decision.

 

Long-term or Short-term?:

Which one of the offers has a scope for a long-term tenure? How would it contribute to your growth, personal satisfaction and in what ways?

What are you looking for? Do you want a job for the time-being, or do you want a job where you can possibly stay on for years with regular progress?

Think about what you exactly want, compare where the offers fit, and then make a decision. Just like the relevance of the benefits and perks differs from person to person, so does this aspect.

Here, matters concerning the family, immediate and possible life situations, etc, factor in as well.

 

Gut Feeling:

A very important thing to pay attention to.

This is something which just doesn’t work that rationally. A job may have all the perks you have dreamed about, the perfect salary, a company culture you were looking for, and still not feel right.

When you don’t feel right, perhaps it is time to dig a little deeper. Did the interviewer say something which was a red-flag to you? Did you perceive any hostility (not necessarily towards you) in the atmosphere?

When everything in an offer is perfect, and you still find yourself looking at the positives of the ‘lesser’ offer, it is time to be true to yourself, and try to get a deeper understanding of  what exactly are you looking for.

Gut feelings often work up when it’s time to make the call accepting the offer. If you feel any bit of hesitation, it is time to rethink and reconsider. Sometimes, the instinct picks up cues which you haven’t.

Moreover, the gut feeling often acts as a deciding factor when the offers themselves are great and more or less similar.

 

Paying attention to the factual, perceptual, sensory information you have gathered could help you make a truly informed decision when you have a choice to make. While you will happily accept the offer you feel and think is right for you, it is also necessary to decline the other offer politely, without burning bridges.

The Ladder of Inference: Is Your Decision Quick or Rash?

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There is a meeting going on. Someone is giving a presentation, let us call him person A. He expects everyone to pay attention to what he is saying. He spots person B “fidgeting” with his phone. He assumes B is not interested and thus has a problem with him, and at the end of the meeting when B tries to appreciate the presentation, A gives him a cold response.

Turns out, B was on his phone, but contrary to A’s assumption, for a completely different reason: he had forgotten to put his phone on silent, and had just remembered this. So he was just changing the phone settings quickly so that he can pay attention properly to what A had to say. And since it was a new phone B had just recently bought, he was taking more than usual to navigate the settings, he was still getting used to it. B was in fact,  not “fidgeting” with his phone.

Jumping to conclusions is something we are all guilty of. Most of the times it happens unconsciously. We are always in a hurry these days, and any lag in the mechanism is not acceptable. But it is important to be aware about the thin line between a quick decision and a rash decision.

 The Ladder of Inference, also known as the “Process of Abstraction”, is a phenomenon pioneered by organisational psychologist Chris Argyris, and applied by Pete Senge in his book The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organisation.

 

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In an era of making snap decisions and quick judgements, it is necessary to remember and when possible, apply this conceptual understanding in our corporate interactions. This is a tool that would take us a step closer to objectivity, accuracy and balance.

Now, the Ladder of Inference gives an analogy of our thought processes, as the name suggests, through rungs of a ladder.

  • The first rung is that of Reality and Facts.
  • We then take in and process the reality and facts selectively according to our past experiences and associations. This is the rung of Selected Reality.
  • According to our experiences and associations, we interpret those facts and the reality. This is the rung of Interpreted Reality.
  • We then apply the assumptions that the Interpreted Reality gives us.
  • We draw conclusions based on those assumptions.
  • We form beliefs because we “climbed” to the conclusions.
  • Our actions then are based on those beliefs.

So if we look at the example given, in the reality of the presentation and the meeting:

  • Person A took in and processed the reality of B using his phone according to the former’s existing associations and experience set. There was a process of selection.
  • Person A thus interpreted that B was fidgeting with his phone.
  • He thus assumed that B was not paying attention.
  • So, Person A formed the belief that B must have a problem with him.
  • So, according to this belief, A begins to give a cold shoulder to B. The former’s actions are now governed by the Ladder of Inference he climbed.

One only needs to imagine what would happen if the “conflict” kept on brewing and if it never got addressed.

Let us take another example. Miss Y went for an interview in a crumpled shirt. The interviewer Miss Z  made an assumption in her head that Miss Y is untidy and not so nicely groomed and hence unprofessional. But she decided to not jump to conclusions, and hence decided to simply ask Miss Y the reason for her untidiness. Miss Y then replied that she lives very far away, and she had actually ironed her clothes well, but the three hour crowded local train journey in the heat took away all the crispness.

Miss Z simply paused and asked herself in a quick mental process:

  • Had she dug up enough data?
  • Was the assumption well-founded?
  • Would the assumption lead to a valid conclusion?
  • Had she considered all facts, and are there any other facts she should be looking at?
  • What belief is her action based on, and is there any other better way to act based on a different belief?

These seemingly simple questions go a long way.

All it takes is asking questions at each rung to ensure dialogue, co-operation and better decision making.

The Ladder of Inference thus proves to be useful, in order to not fall off. The rung allows us to be mindful about our thought process and the steps we take while making decisions. Taking conscious pauses while climbing the rung could eventually turn into an unconscious habit, leading us a step closer to making well-informed, well-balanced just decisions.