Congrats on getting a job offer! You spent hours preparing, talking to people, and interviewing, All your efforts had paid off! Now what do you do next? How do you decide whether to accept the job offer? Better yet, if you have two job offers in hand, how do you decide on which one to accept?
Making this decision can be stressful. You will need to weigh the pros and cons of the job offer. In my case, whenever I felt it was time to move to a different time within Google, I had to go through the same thought and decision process. Here are some five factors to consider when deciding whether to accept that job offer or not.
People has always been my number factor when accepting a job offer or transitioning to a new role. By people, I mean your manager, your teammates, and your co-workers. You will be spending 8 or more hours in a day with these people so it is important that you like the environment you are in.
The manager is most important. I had horrible boss a couple of years ago. He was a micromanager and even asked to read my draft emails before letting me send them out. I did not feel I had the opportunity to grow and take ownership in my role so I asked to move to a different team.
As a hiring manager, I always ask my team to reach out to candidates whom we made a job offer to. I encouraged everyone to send a congratulatory note and offer themselves up for any questions. This is a great way to make people feel welcome.
The work culture is equally important. Is the work environment collaborate or competitive? Is it a meritocracy or bureaucratic? Is there pressure for people to stay late and do face time or is work-life balance a priority?
One reason I enjoy working at Google is that people are generally helpful. Whenever I get stuck with a problem, it is easy for me to ask the person next to me. There are also various mailing lists where group members answer questions from people who need help.
Another reason I like my environment is that diversity is celebrated. My broader team includes people from different countries. As a result, differences in opinion is not tolerated, but encouraged.
Let’s face it. No matter what people say about passion and loving what you do, compensation is still a big consideration before accepting a job offer. I work in Silicon Valley where housing is crazy expensive. As a result, I care about compensation as it impacts my ability to get a loan and buy a house.
When considering compensation, look beyond the base pay. I wrote about 3 ways to increase your compensation if the company won’t budge on salary. Think of the overall package and decide whether, taken as a whole, the compensation is fair for you based on your needs and at what stage you are in life.
Don’t forget about benefits. For example, Google has a great 401K matching program. In addition, benefits related to insurance, food, internet, and other perks are very generous. Google providing all my meals for sure save me a lot of money (pre-tax!) every month.
The role that you have a job offer for is important. But what is also important is the opportunity to grow and develop your career. Discuss the career path with the hiring manager. Make sure there is runway to grow and further your career.
Career development is an important topic for Googlers. What does it mean to you? For some, it could mean promotion. For others, it could mean continually learning new things. It could also mean liking what they do and making an impact.
The role may be attractive today but it may be a dead-end job. If the role is that of an individual contributor, ask whether the role will grow into a people manager role. More importantly, think about what career development is for you and make sure you have a conversation about this with the hiring manager.
Depending on your risk aversion, stability may or may not be important. For younger people with easily transferable skills, i.e. engineer, stability may be less important and he won’t mind if the startup who offered him a job goes bust within a year.
However, for someone with a family and is the only income-earner, stability is much more important. He or she cannot afford to lose the job tomorrow. For older workers, stability may also be more important if the possibility of finding another job is hard. Finally, don’t forget people on work visa. The company is sponsoring their H1B visa and they cannot afford to get laid off just like that.
A strong indicator of stability is the company’s leadership and management ranks. If the company has a strong leader with a clear vision, chances are the company will continue on. This is one reason I’m still in Google. Larry Page regularly shares his vision for Google and I know this company will continue to innovate and be relevant. Take a look at the company’s financials and industry it is in. These will help you figure out whether the company is in for the long run.
You have done all the hard work to get that elusive job offer. Now the bigger decision is whether to accept the offer or not. Think carefully and strategically about whether or not the job offer will make you happy and productive. Your career will thank you for that!