Sometimes you hit the jackpot. You're searching for a job and get more than one offer. That's generally not the plan, but it's a nice side benefit of a very strong market for workers.
Sometimes, however, more than one offer can create confusion. If you get multiple offers that are roughly equal, it's not always easy to decide on which one to take.
Assuming the salaries are close, consider these four factors before making your choice. Also, remember that sometimes there's no perfect choice and no clear right answer.
1. How long do people stay?
If a large percentage of the workforce has been at the company for multiple years, that's a very good sign. It's OK to ask this question during an interview or to ask around after you get an offer.
In a strong job market, people leave bad companies, and even in weak economies, people leave when they can. If a company holds on to its workers for a long time, then it may well be a place you want to work.
2. What are the benefits going to cost you?
Health insurance, retirement plans, and other benefits can mean very different things even when they look similar. Find out exactly what the company offers and what your out-of-pocket expenses might be. Consider things like deductibles and whether the company matches 401(k) contributions.
3. Are people promoted from within?
If you're looking for a career, not just a job, it's important to know whether a company routinely promotes from within. When that's not the case, it's a major red flag that shows the company either doesn't value its own workers or that they don't stay long enough to move up the chain.
4. How does the company handle life issues?
Nobody plans on getting sick or having to care for an ill child, parent, or significant other. It happens, though, and some companies do everything they can to make it possible for workers to balance life's unexpected disasters.
There are also life changes you may actually plan for. Find out how parental leave is handled. It might be different for mom compared to dad -- or it might not.
Ask about how time off for funerals or other unplanned situations work. Good companies support their employees when things go wrong. The best ones have flexible policies that can be adapted to whatever reality someone faces.
Know the whole picture
Getting paid a little more money to work someplace terrible may not be the best idea. Dig as deep as you can to figure out which of your multiple job offers will give you the best life experience. It's not about today or even a few months from now. You want to know which job will have the best chance of making you happy in the long run.
Dig in and figure out what's most important to you. Once you understand that, you can figure out which company seems to offer the most of what you want.