HELP-How do you decide which job to take?

I'm interviewing with a few companies for product roles. I'm pretty anxious about picking the company, what if I pick the wrong one? What if I hate it? Not to mention interviewing is laborious, a lot of work, and creates its own anxiety. I think it's hard to know what type of company and work you're really getting into with interviews.- How do you balance various things you want from a job across multiple offers: like autonomy, good manager relationship, work/life balance, pay, growth, exit oppy -> esp when each company does better on each one. - How do you decide which one is most important to you when they are all imp to you? (Do I just want it all?!)- What questions do you ask in interviewing to really understand what it will be like day2day?- How do you make a decision on which company to take a job with?- How do you decrease your anxiety around this decision?I think part of this is letting go of my high expectations that the right job will fulfill and create all the happiness in the world, and by taking pressure off to find the perfect job it won't create so much anxiety for me around the decision.
There is always a bit of opportunity cost in taking one offer over another. A few tips I recommend to help you decide:--Qualify companies on what's important to you. Ask direct questions throughout the interview process that gives you insight about the things you care about. --Get clear about what is important to you right now vs. later on in your career. Have perspective about your career being a long game. --You won't get it all in one place but you can get the top 2-3 most important things you want. Figure out what those are and make them non-negotiable.If you want a template to compare offers feel free to DM me, happy to share it.
Thank you, so helpful!
Hey there! I know interviewing is tough, but congratulations on getting them, and moving along the process.From experience, I know something that helps me with interviewing is organizing myself. I like to open up an excel sheet and list out all the companies I am interviewing for or want to interview with (geeky but trust me it works). The few things I track are as follows: 1. The dated stage of the process (X company initial interview invitation on 08/03/2019). 2. The next big tracker for me and sounds like this might be useful for you, is what does this role help me accomplish. So X company gives me autonomy with my work. Y company gives me a faster ladder up. 3. You want to add weights to the aspects you value from a job: (so I do a scale out of 10. Autonomy for eg. is a 8, a good manager is a 9, work life balance: 4, etc) Then evaluate based on the weights you put - which company is maximizing my needs? An initial process here might be some self reflection. Ask yourself what it is you want!Some things that have helped me in the past have been mapping out what I want my life (personal and work) to look like in the next 2 years and then even smaller snippets (in one year, 6 months). I then break down this lifestyle: for eg: For my personal (outside work goals) in 2 years, I want to rent out my own 1 bedroom in San Francisco in a prime neighborhood, and not have to live in a cramped up studio. I also want to dedicate some time to my family and maybe take a trip with them. It is clear then I want to stay in SF in 2 years, and I want to have time off. Then the important things to me would be a steady income that allows me to afford the 1 bed, and a work life balance in 2 years to dedicate sometime to family. An example for work could be: At work in 2 years I see myself learning more about the product development process, and have a lot of high visibility, high impact work each day. Then I would back track. How would I get there in 2 years with this role today. What are some things I cannot do without - perhaps a good manager relationship and what are some things that are good to have but I can do without. This helps with adding "weights" 4. I would add some articles, linkedin profiles, tweet storms, etc anything relevant with the company - helps me with the interview prep 5. Any questions I have (step 4 might bring to life some questions). Something I do to understand my day to day is literally ask the hiring manager or recruiter "I've read the job description, and I have a good grasp on what your company is about, what would help me more is maybe running me through what a regular day with this role might look like"Another important follow up question for me is "I understand these are the day to day, but what kind of special projects/ad hoc tasks might there be" This gives me a good understanding of not only the work that I'll be dealing with, but also how well a company answers this question shows if they are better organized with their processes. If these aren't answered well by your hiring manager, then I would go do a quick search on Linkedin and find someone who is in the current role at your desired company or even a past employee and ask them the same question. No one will be able to give you a better run down of what your role might look like than someone who was once in it!This excel sheet/ database (notion works too!) may help reduce your anxiety since you have a more "tangible" outlook on all of your options. Also, this is something you can have always! So going forward it could be something you reference if you are ever job hunting again!I hope this helps.Best of luck!
Thank you, so helpful!
Adding weights to decide about jobs sounds so helpful! Thanks for sharing this idea. I think it comes very handy when one gets very overwhelmed with the offers. I also think if the person is very clear about what is looking, pondering becomes a lot easier. Although I would not say the same if there are many similarities between companies/offers. Many opportunities are tempting but not necessarily match our present needs or future goals. It would be a strong filter to understand this part.
Absolutely. You’re right, job offers are tempting regardless of the present needs or future goals you have in mind. I think that filter also depends on what stage of life you’re in. For instance, when I was graduating college as an international student in the US I had one offer that didn’t meet any of the above but was tempting because it allowed me to stay in the states and further my career out there vs the alternative. I guess a way to make a balanced decision during such times really comes down to what’s more important and breaking it down short term vs long term for me. In the short term it was more important for me to stay in the states, so that in the long term I could do what was planned. If that makes sense! But definitely something I’ll be thinking more about!
It definitively makes sense! I am currently an international student, and I cannot relate more. Adapting the plan makes more sense than expecting a non-realistic outcome in the short term. Not even mentioning the energies it burns + time.I think is part of being practical and see opportunities and situations the way they come. I agree the stage of life plays a significant role in this. I had colleagues with strict rules to choose in which company they could work, as they have families and will never negotiate on that. This will never be the case of a recent graduate, for sure.
I know how difficult being an international student can be, and I can only imagine what a recent graduate right now is going through. Adapting to a plan is sometimes the only option international students have. But, it looks like you're doing a great job of reaching out and trying to figure things out. Planning is always better than going in blindsided. Rooting for you! Best of luck.
Your first question is a great one. I think there are so many things a job can offer and when comparing opportunities across companies, the process can definitely be very overwhelming. To help with this, I think a good way to go about it may be to identify what it is that you're looking for BEFORE evaluating what's at hand (actual offers, prospective, doesn't matter). It's always enticing to think about how Company X can offer you 4 things and more pay, but Company Y 10 things, less pay, and unlimited PTO. In truth, all of these additional variables can skew your thinking, alongside people who you've spoken with, public perception of the company, their brand, etc. That's why I think first identifying YOUR list in silo serves as an appropriate grounding point for you to refer to when evaluating. In short, set up the rubric before tallying the scores.Additionally, there was a great thread here on how to suss out companies during interview processes: also appreciated this article on common questions to ask during an interview (eg. what do you like most about working here) to the BETTER questions to ask:
This is so great. Thank you for linking the other post!
If you actually have offers in hand, that's one thing. If you're just interviewing with each one, wait until you have an offer (or more than one). Ask questions about the work environment you want to be in and how you would actually be spending your day in that job. Meet other people there, virtually if needed at the moment. Ask them what they wish they knew before they started there. Ask what will make you successful there.Which one is going to help you grow? Which one is a little bit of a stretch? Which one are you more excited about? Go with that one.Good luck! :) Joan
Second this. Everything is theoretical until you have written offers in hand. Timing is of course a factor on whether you’ll have competing offers at the same time but in my experience it’s more likely to be a stopping problem. I’d recommend reading Algorithms to Live By to help with figuring out when to stop searching and accept a job. For interviews, especially for the first round I ask the following questions to give me an idea of the work and the company. 1. What are the biggest challenges of the role? 2. What are the key expectations/deliverables in the first 6/12 months? - Gives an indication on how the hiring manager defines success and what the horizons look like for you. 3. How would you describe the team/company culture? - Here I pay particular attention to the interviewer’s tone of voice and whether they’re just parroting the company’s publicly stated culture or really speaking from personal experience.
Hey! Great question, thank you for sharing it! I 100% agree with others on the importance of working out what's most valuable to you irrespective of any offer on the table. Is it that you're after knowledge, experience, progression, work/life balance? It's definitely hard and all of them are important, but having one (or two in worse case) top ones helps enormously. And it's very personal as well as timely, could easily turn around as your life circumstances change (not to mention the very human tendency to shift toward what we were lacking before). When I felt stuck between two opportunities that could hardly be more different, I followed the advice of looking where I would learn the most. I found that immensely helpful, but again it's personal.Another thing, in my experience the fit and the bond with the hiring manager trumps a lot of other things, as opportunities, learning, autonomy and other aspects of a great role could easily be restricted or enabled by the manager and your relationship with them. I worked with plenty of managers who largely ignored or diminished my work and accomplishments (even when heads of other departments praised me). It demotivates, very quickly, even if you're actually outperforming (better spend that energy on a personal project outside of work). Equally you will get few opportunities to do new, valuable and important projects and learn from that experience. Since I was in the mindset of "where I could learn more" I was very much seeking out a mentor-type manager (which I believe I have found! I am convinced there aren't too many of them), who is interested in growing and enabling people. I try to fish that out in the interviews with questions like: "What's your management/leadership style?" (ones that mention that their job is to make the team do well and that the team's results and their results are usually gold! Most of the time they just say that they are hands-off, and that's just because nobody likes micromanagers). Also I ask them (in the later stages): "Based on my resume and your knowledge of the role, what are the areas that you believe I will have to learn the most?" - mentor-type managers would have already though about it and will not scrape for words to answer it, will also have some pointers/a plan of how they/team will help you with that. Finally, I ask about the work of their team that they are particularly proud of or that worked really well? That's primarily to spot big red flags if they struggle to answer it (they might be leading solo or not know much of what the team has worked on). You could follow up asking how the project went to get specific understanding of their level of involvement vs the team, and their role in the successful project and how they actually measure success (again, if they spread or built-up someone's great work or idea without taking ownership of it - you've struck gold).Lastly, the impressions from the interview is one thing, but I find reviews and comments on Glassdoor or other employer review sites to be fantastic pointers into the culture and potential issues. There isn't an ideal workplace or role (as you've mentioned), at least not for everyone, and I find it really great to get a grasp of how things actually work and what are some of the not so great sides of the company, just to manage you own expectations and be prepared for what you might find inside (appreciate startups often have very few reviews). I always found them shockingly accurate, just note that the experience in different departments can be largely different (again depending on the manager). Hope this helps!P.S. Final final note, I found it very helpful to get into the mindset that there's nothing to consider until I have an offer in writing. It's too easy to get excited and start choosing, and I've done it a million times, only to get disappointed when something falls through (or you just get ghosted :D ). It's important to keep going until the very moment of signing an offer.
Such a great point on listening to Glassdoor reviews. I didn't do that with a previous startup, and really should have because it rang true.I like your question geared toward mentor-type managers!
@AbigailWoopWoop: Would you go somewhere where you could really learn a lot with more responsibility in the role + a potential big exit with equity, however, you know that the CEO/your boss can be very difficult at times? I.e. you talked to a former employee, and his current employees say he can be the 'x factor', 'headstrong', interjects/meddling, and micromanging but he's being actively coached on it?
Hey! It of course depends on what other options I have at the moment, or how long am I happy to maintain the situation that I'm in while hoping for a better offer. What about other C-level? Do I feel I can handle headstrong? I might decide on it as a personal challenge to try and win over the CEO. Or am I sick of managing up? Could I dare to bring it up with him directly and get his take? Does he recognise it as an issue and wants to change or coaching is a tick box exercise?No place will be perfect. If it look perfect, do more research and digging. It's the battles and challenges we choose and the goals we are after. Hope this helps!
I have a quick and simple answer: Imagine each of them called you and pulled their offer. Which is the most disappointing? Which will you regret losing the most? They may not pay the most or have the best benefits, but there may be something intangible that draws you. Imagine losing each of them and choose the one that breaks your hear.
I love this!
It's how I decide everything...buying art, where to vacation, who to date... if the choice got taken away from me, which would break my heart. All the rest will work itself out.
I've learned that a great way to judge managers/leaders is to see what happens to the people who report to them. I had a leader who had the same exact team working for him for 6 years. Another leader was constantly getting her people moved to better or different roles so they could round out their experience. Even lateral moves can be a good sign. I had a much better experience and my career moved more quickly and satisfyingly when I worked for the leader with high turnover. Good managers want to develop their people and see them succeed, not hold onto them forever. In an interview, ask how long the team members have worked for the manager. If every team member has been in their current role for more than 2-3 years, that's probably a bad sign. Obviously, high turnover can also be a bad sign. Try to find out what happened to the team members who left. I think it's a surprisingly good indication of what to expect. Dynamic teams will be more fast-paced, ambitious, varying skill levels, more opportunities. Stagnant teams will be more risk adverse, stick to status quo, less innovative, safer, and possibly less stressful if you like routine and develop good relationships with the team. I prefer managers who nurture dynamic teams, but I can see the appeal of maintaining a position, getting in a rhythm and being content. It can also be tough being the "new" member of a team where everyone has been in the role for years vs a team that is used to embracing new members.
Such a valid point! Thank you
I actually take a quantifiable approach to this. Before I look for a new job, I sit down and evaluate why the current role isn't a good fit for me. Then I choose to accept that I will not usually get everything in one single role. There will always be tradeoffs. I list my priorities in a ranked order. And get really really clear on why this is important. Then I'll use that ranking and a 5 star system to compare roles. For example, let's say my current priorities are commute (because I want more time with family), salary boost (because I want to save more for college), and diversity (because I value an environment where I can be my whole self).Role 1: 2/5 for commute, 5/5 for salary boost, 1/5 for diversity. Additional perks: free snacks Trade-off: I'm not improving my commute and it's not diverse. Role 2: 4/5 on commute, 2/5 for salary boost, 4/5 for diversity. Additional perks: remote workTrade-off: I'm staying level with my salary. I won't make any additional cash. I'd clearly go with Role #2 since it's optimized for my highest priority even though Role #1 gives me more money. Especially as someone who's earlier in my career, I have learned that making trade-offs that are worth it for *me* helps to quiet the voice of "what company should I be trying for?". I hope this helps!
Yes, this is great!
This is all so helpful! I'm in the same situation and it's great advice. Thank you for asking!
Glad it's helpful! :)
There are so many great articles with interviewing tips. This is one I often share with candidates before they have an interview. It's from Marc Cendella of The Ladders:How to answer ‘Do You Have Any Questions for Me?’ 25 great questions to ask your future bossBy Marc Cenedella Mar 3, 2017It’s time for my twice-a-year update of the best questions for you to ask in an interview. This year, I’ve asked my classmates from Harvard Business School, class of 1998, to weigh in with *their* favorite questions to ask companies in job interviews. They’ve added some terrific questions.The reason I put this list together each year is because we can so easily forget what an interview’s all about. It sure feels like it’s about you, but it’s really not.An interview is actually about how you can help your future boss and future employer succeed. It’s about finding out what their requirements and hopes are and matching up your background and experience with what they need.Overlooking these basic facts about the interview is easy. There’s so much else going on in your work, your life, and in your job search, that you can forget to look at the interview from the interviewer’s point of view. And that’s a shame, because you need the interviewer to walk away from the interview thoroughly impressed.With that in mind, here’s the twice-a-year update to my collection of “best interview questions”. My aim here is to arm you with easy-to-ask, revealing-to-answer questions for you to take with you to an interview:1. What’s the biggest change your group has gone through in the last year? Does your group feel like things are getting better in the economy and for your business?2. If I get the job, how do I earn a “gold star” on my performance review? What are the key accomplishments you’d like to see in this role over the next year?3. What’s your (or my future boss’) leadership style?4. What are the three things I can contribute in the first 100 days to make you feel great about hiring me?5. About which competitor are you most worried?6. How does sales / operations / technology / marketing / finance work around here? (I.e., groups other than the one you’re interviewing for.)7. What type of people are successful here? What type of people are not?8. What’s one thing that’s key to this company’s success that somebody from outside the company wouldn’t know about?9. How did you get your start in this industry? Why do you stay?10. What are your group’s best and worst working relationships with other groups in the company? What are the pain points you have to deal with day-to-day?11. What keeps you up at night? What’s your biggest worry these days?12. Who are my customers (internal or external) and how do they measure me/us? Who views me (my team) as a customer (internal or external)?13. What’s the timeline for making a decision on this position? When should I get back in touch with you?14. The economy has been getting better, and there’s a lot of hiring going on. Why did you decide to prioritize this position instead of the many others you could have hired for?15. What is your reward system? Is it a star system / team-oriented / equity-based / bonus-based / “attaboy!”-based? Why is that your reward system? What do you hope to get out of it, and what actually happens when you put it into practice? What are the positives and the negatives of your reward system? If you could change any one thing, what would it be?16. What does success for this group / team / company look like in 1 year? In 5 years?17. What information is shared with the employees (revenues, costs, operating metrics)? Is this an “open book” shop, or do you play it closer to the vest? How is information shared? How do I get access to the information I need to be successful in this job?18. If we are going to have a very successful year in 2018, what will that look like? What will we have done over the next 10 months to make it successful? How does this position help achieve those goals? (This question helps show your ability to look beyond today’s duties to the future more than a year away.)19. How does the company / my future boss do performance reviews? How do I make the most of the performance review process to ensure that I’m doing the best I can for the company?20. What is the rhythm to the work around here? Is there a time of year that it’s “all hands on deck” and we’re pulling all-nighters, or is it pretty consistent throughout the year? How about during the week / month? Is it pretty evenly spread throughout the week / month, or are there crunch days?21. What type of industry / functional / skills-based experience and background are you looking for in the person who will fill this position? What would the “perfect” candidate look like? How do you assess my experience in comparison? What gaps do you see? 22. What is your (or my future boss’) hiring philosophy? Is it “hire the attitude / teach the skills” or are you primarily looking to add people with domain expertise first and foremost?23. Is this a new position, or an existing position? If new, why was it created and what are the expectations? If an existing position, where did the prior person go? What were the things that person did really well, that you hope to see in the next person? What are the things you hope change?24. In my career, I’ve primarily enjoyed working with big / small / growing / independent / private / public / family-run companies. If that’s the case, how successful will I be at your firm?25. Who are the heroes at your company? What characteristics do the people who are most celebrated have in common with each other? Conversely, what are the characteristics that are common to the promising people you hired, but who then flamed out and failed or left? As I’m considering whether or not I’d be successful here, how should I think about the experiences of the heroes and of the flame-outs?Many thanks to my business school classmates who helped with questions: Patrick van Wert, Aaron Pempel, Tasso Roumeliotis, Radju Munusamy, and Susan Hamilton!
So helpful! Thanks for sharing.
Fantastic questions - TY!
One tool I used during my interviewing was Key Values ( It’s geared towards engineers, but the questions in there worked for me as a marketer. Helped me ask better questions than I’ve ever been able to come up with on my own by asking me to take a quiz on what matters and then it spits out recommended questions. It’s true, there are like 100 things that can matter about a job and in some ways all of those things are important. Don’t really have a great answer on how to decide that other than to look at past jobs. When I look back I can clearly see what I liked or disliked most about a job. Ex. I didn’t think it was important at the time but when I looked back I noticed how hard having a bad manager was so decided that needed to be prioritized. Or I generally preferred jobs where I was working on growing newer products rather than incrementally improving long existing ones. Stuff like that. And then there were things that on the surface I thought was important, but maybe wasn’t like working on the flashiest product. I worked at YouTube for a while and everyone thought that was so cool, but there were times I was miserable due to cultural elements of my team and the flash couldn’t make up for that. Based on all that I try to decide what makes me happy and what makes me unhappy in a job and search out jobs and ask questions to my interviewers to try to figure out which jobs help me get there.
Oh that's a fabulous resource. Thanks for sharing!
Sounds like you have already searched enough information and given things enough thought. You don’t need tactical advice. I would say explore Daoism philosophy, understand the idea of “wu wei” which translates to acting without intention or not doing anything. And I’m general explore branches of philosophy that are more tied to having a certain level of determinism in life.The leading philosophical ideal in the western sphere has been one highlighting individual autonomy. A story of a person, through their own action, achieved greatness. This was undoubtedly useful on many levels as the western society has achieved great economic success and scientific breakthroughs, but it fails to address the fact that many factors in ones life and ones ultimate life achievements are often not in control by that person, so by following that philosophy closely, it just creates unnecessary anxiety. I hope this helps and it’s not too meta. Always happy to chat more if you’d like.
For my last job search, I focused on: 1. What are the most important things I'm looking for in my next role? This is different for everyone, so if you haven't already, I would sit down and brainstorm what it is your truly looking for, what your ideal next role looks like, and why those things are important to you. It might even be helpful to quantify this in a spreadsheet so you can see which opportunity checks most of your boxes (and even rank them based on most to least important). 2. Which opportunity will teach me the most? Where can I learn and grow the most? Again, this will look different for everyone. But during my last job search, I found that recruiters kept reaching out to me to interview for jobs that looked a lot like the job I was trying to leave - so even if the money was better, I wouldn't really be learning anything new. I started to prioritize opportunities where I had room to grow - not just that the job itself would provide personal growth, but also where there were opportunities to take the next step in my career after the job they were offering. 3. Where will I be happiest? Again, different for everyone. But think about what industries excite you. What kind of culture a company has. What kind of team you want to work on. If you can tell if the company is diverse/inclusive. What job location will work best for the life you want, not just what city/state you'll live in, but once we go back to normal, what the commute will be like. I'm currently in grad school, so I also had to think about what will work for my school schedule (I couldn't do something with too much travel) and also were they excited that I'm in grad school (if they aren't, not a good fit). Once you get an offer in hand, make sure to try to do your best apples-to-apple comparison. Not just salary, but also bonuses, the value of benefits (paid time off including holidays, health/dental/vision costs, 401k match, tuition reimbursement, etc), and any other quality of life stuff that's important to you (like free gym membership, commuting time + costs). Also, remember that no job is permanent. If you're currently employed, obviously you want to make sure you're leaving for a better opportunity. But remember that eventually, you will probably leave this new job too. I find reminding myself of that helps take the pressure off. Good luck!
So helpful!
One of the best pieces I got when I was deciding between a couple different paths is decide where you want to be in 5 years, then write the story of your life and what it might look like in each of those paths. Maybe they all get you to the place you want to be, but which one seems more appealing, has the quality of life you want, the skills you are most interested. Sometimes writing a totally fictional story can help frame it more tangibly.
Hi you! So many great answers and I hope these helped you!I am just out here curious to know what you ended up doing? And most importantly how are YOU doing :)