Guten tag Reader -
It doesn't happen to everyone, but it can happen, especially for people who work in Germany's highly demanded profession - they receive multiple job offers and then have to make a hard decision about where they want to work.
When this happens, many people wonder what to do and how to decide. Let me tell you my story, as perhaps my words can help you out too, should you land in this situation.
It happened to me a couple of times during my career in Germany. I had to think about which company I wanted to join, weighing the pros and cons of each opportunity, as well as my feelings about how the companies treated me during the recruitment process.
It was early 2016 when I found myself fresh out of a job only three months after joining a company. My entire team was made redundant one afternoon, so shocked and sad, we gathered our belongings and headed to the nearest bar to drown our sorrows in beers and plan our next move.
I started my job search that very day and over the next while, applied for tons of positions, attended interviews, and completed onsite workshops. After a lot of hard work, I reached the end of the recruitment process with three different companies and received job offers from each one.
Let's start with company 1, with whom I had a series of video interviews and an onsite day so I could meet my potential colleagues and complete a series of rather intense meetings and workshops. The final workshop had been so tough that I was sure that I didn't have the job. I'd been sweating buckets through the whole thing. Yet, the next day I got a call from the VP of Engineering congratulating me and offering me the position - which I happily accepted without hesitation.
Then there was company 2, with whom I also had a series of video interviews and later, an onsite day. My onsite day just happened to be the day after I had my onsite with company 1. The day with company 2 was much more relaxed and I felt confident I'd receive a job offer. On the day of the interview, I sent a thank you email telling them I enjoyed our time together and that I was very interested in working for their company. They replied and told me they'd get back to me "soon", but I heard nothing, despite a couple of follow-ups.
A little over a month later, they sent me an email with the subject line "WE WANT YOU!" in all caps just to emphasize how much they wanted me to join their employee ranks. I realized that a couple of things could've happened that explained the delay - they may have extended a job offer to someone else and I was their second choice. Or people who make hiring decisions or write/sign contracts for job offers may have been out of the office due to holidays or sickness. Either case is certainly understandable, but they'd left me hanging for a month and I'd already taken the job with company 1.
I politely rejected their offer and thanked them again for their time. Even though I hadn't been happy with how they'd handled my hiring, I didn't want to burn any bridges.
Last, but not least, was company 3 with whom I interviewed after I'd agreed to work for company 1. Even though I already had a job, this was a dream company, and I also thought it wasn't a bad idea to have a backup plan. Same as companies 1 and 2, I did a series of video and in-person interviews, as well as a full-day workshop - all of which went well. Within two or three days, they offered me a job and it even came with better pay and perks than company 1.
It was then I had to make a decision - work at company one or three. Company number two wasn't even a consideration, especially after it took them more than a month to tell me I had the job while also knowing I needed to start work as soon as possible.
Even though it wouldn't have been the most professional thing to do, I could've canceled my contract with company 1. In addition to the better pay and perks, Company 3 was more prestigious and would've looked better on my CV. On the other hand, company 1 had cool people and interesting work. On top of this, my visa application was already in progress and my savings were running out while I was between jobs. Restarting the process would have required me to be out of work for even longer and I couldn't afford it (I hadn't been in Germany long enough to qualify for unemployment benefits). On top of that, I was coming off a year of employment instability and the stress of more change was too much.
Pros of Company 1
- My visa with them was already in progress and my start date was coming up soon
- They acted fast to sign me on and I appreciated this a lot!
- A chance to work with talented colleagues from around the world and a friendly and social company culture
- A fast-paced start-up with an interesting setup that I'd benefit from learning about and working in
Cons of Company 1
- They were a start-up and I wanted and needed stability
- They paid less and offered fewer perks and I desperately needed to build up my savings after my experience of the prior year
Pros of Company 3
- They didn't take too long to arrive at the offer stage either
- It was a chance to work for a big-name employer
- I'd work with highly experienced colleagues who'd help me develop further professionally
- A different but no less interesting setup that I'd benefit from learning about and working in
- Better pay and perks (an extra 2 weeks of holidays and a monthly transit pass!)
Cons of Company 3
- I'd have had to cancel my contract with company 1 - running the risk of them suing me and also, making the person who referred me look bad and miss out on a referral bonus
- I'd have had to restart my visa process and would have been out of work longer
- I didn't have enough money to be out of work for even more time (my savings had been depleted due to the expense of moving back to Berlin and working for a company that stopped paying our salaries on time)
- Being out of work had been really stressful and I couldn't handle another day at home in bed depressed and running on a shoe-string budget
So as much as I wanted to work for company 3, with a heavy heart, I turned them down.
Working for company 1 turned actually out to be a really good decision! While I was laid off yet again about 18 months later (of course!), I gained solid working experience, had a lot of fun, and made some lifelong friends. It helped land me my next job and finally, a higher salary where I was able to start building savings again.
If you happen to land in this predicament, I highly recommend doing as I did - weighing the pros and cons of each opportunity, taking a realistic look at your life situation, and reflecting on how those companies treated you. If you saw red flags or your gut is telling you something is wrong at one of the companies, don't disregard that information or your feelings.
If you have any further questions or want to discuss this topic more, jump into our Facebook group, and let's chat some more.
Thanks for reading and being part of our community at The Berlin Life! ❤️
Founder - The Berlin Life