Product Managers, would you risk a startup offer for FAANG Interviews?

Elphas, I desperately need advice. TLDR; would you risk a startup offer 50% more than current base pay to finish interviewing with Google and Meta?

Last month I started interviewing for Product Manager roles. I have a non-traditional background, started in customer service and transitioned to PM 4.5 years ago, Im secure in my current role but have hit the proverbial “glass ceiling.” I have some college credits but no degree. This job search is to figure out if I’m hire-able without finishing school, understand my market value, and to find a role that’s interesting and has growth potential. I responded to recruiting messages from a couple startups and Meta. I also had a friend refer me to Google.

Start Up 1 (first choice): gave me a verbal offer, one more call with CEO this week

Meta: 2 interviews completed, 4 more ahead

Startup 2: screening complete, 1 interview this week

Google: screening complete, no interviews scheduled yet

I love startup 1, their product and vision align with my career goals and would give me the ownership I’m looking for, everyone I’ve met has been smart and passionate. If they offer me what I’ve asked for, I’ll take it - it would be a 50% base increase. BUT, I feel like I need to see the Google and Meta interviews through. Mentally, I’ve struggled with shame and imposter syndrome from my lack of a degree. Getting an offer from any FAANG would remove that doubt and pressure which led to burn out last year. I’ll feel truly secure in my career whether I take the FAANG role or not.

I told the Meta and Google recruiters I have an offer but I doubt they’ll be able to expedite the interview process more than 2 weeks. Is it rude to ask for two weeks to decide on the startups offer? Should I risk the startup offer to continue with Meta and Google?

iynna's profile thumbnail
Hi Anon,First you're crushing it with all these invites! Get it!So pardon my ignorance in advance as I genuinely have no idea but wouldn't Meta/Google/FAANG require candidates to have at least a university degree (Bachelors etc) or has that changed?If the former, I'd try and see if I could speed up the process with Meta (while the process with the startup is going, yes they gave the verbal offer but there's still some process to go through eg referral, talking to CEO etc so you have perhaps another 7 to 10 days). It seems to me that the startup is giving you some satisfaction since you love the product, vision, and liked the people. I'd think more clearly about the things that you value most in your next role: is it the money? the project you're on? something else? And see where you place the startup vs FAANG (though I get a sense you really like the startup hehe) You mentioned some imposter syndrome driven by lack of a degree, I think this is separate from this job search and something you can work through with the support of outside resources for instance (a coach, therapist, friends, family) and if you really want to, it's never too late to complete that degree :) Lastly, I like that you will feel secure in your career no matter what and that's what matters at this point!
Hi Iynna! Thank you for the encouragement. Initially, I discussed my lack of a degree with the Meta recruiter - he reached out to me via linked in where I DONT have a degree listed but have that I’m currently in school for computer science. Part of the reason I started interviewing was to validate my decision to withdraw from classes and potentially drop out. I’ve been doing double duty, school and work, the last 4 years and I still have another 5-7 years ahead of me in order to finish.It really feels like a waste of my time when compared to the other ways I could spend it building my career and just enjoying life.Meta and Google have bachelors OR equivalent experience listed so I think my 7 years working and 4.5 in Product are what qualify me. I asked the Meta recruiter directly if no degree would be a problem and he was honest and said it depends on the interviewer - some people care about how you look on paper more than the content of your interview.The startup CEO said he loves that I didn’t go to college ( I explained that my family lost their house in 2008 and my sister was drowning in student loan debt without a job. I didn’t want to do the same.) so I think views about degrees are changing but for people who care about how you look on paper, FAANG companies would outshine my lack of a degree which is why I’m torn.
nnenna's profile thumbnail
I would accept the offer from the startup and continue through with Google & Meta interviews. My rationale: - a bird in the handI would accept the offer from the startup and continue through with Google & Meta interviews. You may get one or two offers; you may get none. - from what I've heard, there's the recruiting and then the placement process; the placement process may take time based on your level. - you may get offers from one or both AND still prefer the startup offer. So why burn bridges? With the current economy, if I were a startup/hiring manager and you asked for two weeks to consider your option, I would continue my recruitment effort as two weeks is a long time to wait for a candidate, and a lot can happen in two weeks. Good luck! It's a great position to be in.
I was recently in the same position interviewing with a startup, Meta, and Microsoft. After accepting an offer from the startup, having the control to turn down continuing the interview process with Meta and Microsoft made me feel powerful. It definitely alleviated any imposter syndrome I had! Also, consider how it may make you feel if these opportunities turn you down. Will they validate your imposter syndrome feelings? Think about it like this, it’s like breaking up with a boyfriend, before he gets a chance to break up with you first lol
YvonneBarrera's profile thumbnail
If you have 4 interviews, 2 with Google and Meta, try not to feel imposter syndrome. I think you are obviously an incredible asset to any team and they are seeing that. Some of the smartest people I worked with in tech didn't finish a 4 year degree. Some of the not-so-smart went to Harvards and Yale. Keep crushing it and trust yourself.