Quick Guide: Managing Your Graduate Job Offers

31 March 2018

Ellie Giles

 5 Essential Steps to Managing Graduate Job Offers

1. Assess which opportunity is better suited to your career development plans

It seems an obvious place to start but it’s crucial to remember that your first job after university will almost certainly not be your last. Think about where you want to be in your career five years down the line and what opportunity gives you the best platform to fulfil your ambitions in this sense.

Things to consider:

How do the training opportunities compare in relation to your interests?Is there a clear career progression structure in place and how does the timescale suit you? Are you looking for more of a career stepping-stone? If so, which opportunity is more equipped to help you make a transition to a more advanced role at a different company?

 2. Do your research

Getting to know a company’s culture is something that is important during a recruitment process and by all means, you should be asking questions about an organisation’s working environment during a job interview. However it’s important to delve deeper than what potential employers tell you themselves about their respective companies.

There are plenty of sites like Glassdoor that allow you to read what employees have to say about the companies you’re interviewing with. Err on the side of caution however as there will be companies (typically larger organisations) that with a vocal minority of disgruntled employees, so use your research in this sense to try to attain a better understanding of your cultural fit to a working environment more than anything else.

If you’re interviewing for a number of jobs in different sectors then you should rely on your knowledge of each industry. What is the future likely to hold for each sector? With this in mind consider what opportunity offers you greater job stability.

Need help with other aspects of your job search? Check out the careers advice section of our site.  

3. Analyse your findings

Applying and interviewing for graduate jobs can be stressful considering the competitive nature of the market and inevitably there will be a lot of information for you to process, especially if you’re juggling job applications with final year university coursework and exams.

Why not compile a chart to help you assess the pros and cons of each opportunity?

It’s also important to revisit the information you already know about each company, so for instance you could score each opportunity on the practicality of their location or how the company size suits you.
You might have an instinctive feeling about which opportunity is better for you, but if you’re genuinely torn then breaking down the information you have and assessing your findings can be useful.

4. Confide in others

Your friends and family members are the people who know you best and by discussing your experiences at job interviews with them they could be in a position to reaffirm your gut feeling about an opportunity.

If you’re working alongside a recruitment consultant, enquire about previous candidates they’ve placed within the companies you’re considering job offers from. How long do employees tend to stay in their jobs? Have they progressed in their role? And first and foremost do they enjoy working there?

You can often chat to a university careers advisor as they have extensive experience of speaking to people who have been in your situation. They’ll be aware of what it’s like to work in a particular sector and the chances are that they may know about what it’s like to work for a specific company, so don’t neglect this impartial source of advice.

Want to put your skills of diplomacy to the test? Check out the live jobs currently listed on STEM Graduates.

5. Don’t burn your bridges

So you’ve decided which opportunity is your preferred choice but you’re waiting for a concrete job offer from the employer, meanwhile your second choice offers you the job. Quite a predicament and your timing is crucial here.

You can delay your final decision by explaining that whilst you’re extremely happy with the offer you could do with a day or two to talk things over with your family. Although you need to ensure that this delay doesn’t become so extended that you start to irritate a potential employer, so enquire about when they’d need a decision by. In the most part employers will understand and they’ll give you time.

It’s important however that once you’ve made your decision you inform the employer as soon as you can. If you’re rejecting an offer, explain politely that how at this point in time the other opportunity suits your preferences and priorities slightly better – it doesn’t mean this will be the case in the future, so even if you’re rejecting an offer you need to leave a lasting positive impression on an employer.

Working with a recruitment consultant is beneficial in this sense as they will be on hand to advise you how to accept and reject offers and can even handle the process for you.

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