According to Behling and others, an individual's decision to join a firm may depend on any of the three factors viz. objective factor, subjective factor and critical contact.
- Objective factor theory assumes that the applicants are rational. The choice, therefore, is exercised after an objective assessment of the tangible benefits of the job. Factors may include the salary, other benefits, location, opportunities for career advancement, etc.
- Subjective factor theory suggests that decision making is dominated by social and psychological factors. The status of the job, reputation of the organization and other similar factors plays an important role.
- Critical contact theory advances the idea that a candidate's observations while interacting with the organization plays a vital role in decision making. For example, how the recruiter keeps in touch with the candidate, the promptness of response and similar factors are important. This theory is more valid with experienced professionals.
These theories assume that candidates have a free choice of employers and careers. In reality the scarcity of jobs and strong competition for desirable jobs severely skews the decision making process. In many markets employees work particular careers simply because they were forced to accept whatever work was available to them. Additionally, Ott-Holland and colleagues found that culture can have a major influence on career choice, depending on the type of culture.
When choosing a career that's best for you, according to US News, there are multiple things to consider. Some of those include: natural talents, work style, social interaction, work-life balance, whether or not you are looking to give back, whether you are comfortable in the public eye, dealing with stress or not, and finally, how much money you want to make. If choosing a career feels like too much pressure, here's another option: pick a path that feels right today by making the best decision you can, and know that you can change your mind in the future. In today's workplace, choosing a career doesn't necessarily mean you have to stick with that line of work for your entire life. Make a smart decision, and plan to re-evaluate down the line based on your long-term objectives.