Hello and welcome to the second post in my After the Interview series! If you've already been following along, welcome back! If not, I would highly recommend reading through my first post of the series, Getting the Offer, as a precursor to what will be a very informative series on what to do after the interview. Throughout this series, we'll be discussing topics like receiving and evaluating your offer letter, as well as handling the negotiation process afterwards. There's a lot to cover though, so let's continue the discussion with what to do after you get the offer letter.
"You never achieve success unless you like what you are doing."
Congratulations, you did it! You received the offer letter you've been looking for and maybe even offers from multiple companies, if you're lucky. Now comes the difficult process of reviewing the offer(s) and determining if the offer, and company, are the right fit for you. This includes looking at factors such as the company's stability, how that company might impact your career development, your own happiness while working at that company, the financial package they are offering you, and other important factors that may be more critical to you and your values. Let's go ahead and take a little look into these various factors now.
I'm taking a leap here and guessing that you don't want be fired or laid off any time soon, right?
This is where evaluating the company's long-term stability is important. Are they a bigger company with a long track-record of profits and growth? Are they a smaller company at the beginning round of seed funding? Whatever may be the case, you have to do your research to ensure your future won't be turned upside down in a couple of months. It also will be important to understand your own wants and needs. Large, more established companies tend to grow more slowly, providing less opportunities to move up the career ladder. They also will be less likely to afford you the opportunity to work with bleeding-edge technologies.
If stability isn't an important factor of yours and you feel that you would be able to get a new job quickly, it could be better for you to take the offer from the start-up, even if it's unstable. Otherwise, stability might be more important to your values if you don't feel confident that you can get a new job quickly after a lay-off. Whatever the case, make sure you evaluate the stability against your own career development goals.
You have to review each offer before accepting to determine how the position might ultimately effect your career path. While one of these offers may be for the company of your dreams, it's very likely that you may want to move companies and start the interview process all over again. You should answer some questions honestly, and with deep consideration, to better understand your needs:
- What does the company offer you in terms of learning and growth development? Are there topics relevant to you that you will be able to learning while working for this company?
- Is the team I'll be working on growing any time soon?
- If it is growing, what opportunities will that provide for me to grow into a managerial or technical lead?
- What does their promotion and career development process look like? Do they have a defined process to help you in progress in your career?
- How does the company and position title look on your resume and portfolio? Will it make for an easier interview process with a different company, where you may get a promotion and increased salary?
- If you do decide to move companies in the future, is this current company located in a tech hub where you can join a different company easily, or will it require you to move? If there are very few tech companies in the city, your future career opportunities could be more restricted, making it less likely to reach your goals.
To some, hopefully most, this might be the most important category of them all. While the company and financial package is important, none of that will make you want to stay at a company if you are not happy. It will take a deep dive into understanding your needs and wants, your values, and what you're looking for in a career. The following are some examples of what these may be but you'll really want to look inward to identify what's important to you.
- The Company Culture🤼: Ask your friends in the company and future teammates how they view the company culture. As this is connected with everything, such as how the leaders make their decisions, how the company is organized, and even the social aspect of the company, it's important to understand if you will fit in well with this culture.
- The Manager and Teammates👩💼: Have you met these individuals and did you enjoy talking to them and getting to know them? If things were awkward or you felt uncomfortable, that might not change as you start working with them. As these are the individuals you'll be spending the majority of the day with, being uncomfortable around them will not be a very pleasant experience.
- The Hours⌛: Talk to your friends in the company and future teammates as well about the amount of hours they work. Try to deduce if this is due to their own personal choices or the culture of the company, as well as if it's a typical week or due to the launch of a new product. If they're working over 40 hours/week, does that align with your own lifestyle or will being overworked take away the joy of working for the company.
- The Product/Tech Stack🧑💻: This category might not be as important to you as the culture of the company or the hours worked, but you'll still want to find out what type of product you'll be working on and if it's something that intrigues you. If you're excited to work on this product and with the tech stack that they've chosen, great! Otherwise, you'll want to evaluate how this might impact your happiness. It would also be beneficial to do a little research into the company's policy on transferring to other teams. If you know the company is working on a product or with a tech stack you're more interested in, and you're allowed to transfer a year into working with the company, your current teams' product might not be a critical point to consider.
When reviewing the offer letter, be sure to look at more than just the salary. While that number is important, the amount that you actually receive from the company each year will be vastly different. Be sure to also look over the new hire bonuses, annual bonus, stock options, health benefits, retirement plans, and cost of living.
- New Hire Bonuses💸: This may include things like a signing bonus, relocation bonus, and/or other one-time bonuses. When looking at these amounts, spread their value over however long you plan to stay at the company. If you're only planning to stay for two years, split that cash value by two and add to your annual salary. It's also important to look at any kind of payback clause on the bonus. For example, the company may require you to work with them for 3 years, otherwise you have to pay back the relocation bonus. If this is the case, how does that align with your career development plans?
- Annual Bonus💰: These annual payouts can range anywhere from nothing to over 30%. If your recruiter or hiring manger didn't provide this information to you, try to reach out to some friendly contacts at the company to find out what you might receive. Most company's annual bonuses are also tied to the profit goals of a company. If you don't believe the company will be in the green over the next few years, how might that look for your annual bonus? If your prior research points to a company that might likely exceed their expectations, you could be in for a large windfall of cash with a multiplier on your bonus.
- Stock Options📈: Equity in a company can be a make it or break it part of your annual compensation. Just like the annual bonus, you have to do your research to identify how well you feel the company will do in the future over the next several years. Once you have a feel for this information, treat that extra cash like your new hire bonus and spread the value over however long you plan to stay with the company before adding it to your annual salary.
- Health Benefits👩⚕️: Is the company providing you with the option for medical coverage or will you have to sign up for your own plan through the marketplace? If they do provide you with medical coverage, will their plans meet your medical needs?
- Retirement Plans👴: What about the employer match in your 401(k)? Some companies may provide something like a 100% match on the first 5% you contribute to your 401(k). While not immediately available due to early withdrawal laws on your retirement plan, it's still an important amount to consider as it helps set you up with a nice little retirement egg.
- Cost of Living🏠: The amount of money it costs to live in a specific, geographical area can greatly impact the amount of money left over in your gross income after your expenses. These costs can include things like housing, transportation, food, entertainment, healthcare, and taxes. For example, living in San Francisco, CA is 51% more expensive than Austin, TX. You will want to do a little research into the locations of each offer to determine the severity of their impact on your take-home pay. NerdWallet has an incredible Cost of Living Calculator to help make this process a little bit easier.
Remember that your salary will change year over year though and it's important to consider how a company will help you grow and advance your career. Try not to put too much emphasis on the short-term view of your immediate salary and consider how the company will help you towards your long-term financial goals
While the above factors are important, you'll also want to take some time and evaluate anything else that you feel is important.
This might include how close the new job location is to your friends and family, what types of events and activities you'll have in the city of your new job, walkability of the city, so on and so forth. Whatever you value in a career, company, and location are all important factors to analyze against each job offer to help you identify which is the right fit for you.
A great method to compare these potential offers would be to rank each factor's importance to you as a 1 (not important), 3 (important), 9 (very important). You can then rank each offer against how well they satisfy each factor, using the same scale of 1, 3, and 9, and multiply that against the factor's importance. After all have been evaluated, sum the numbers for each offer and you'll have your prioritization ranking for each. This can be done, not only for these other important factors, but also for the previously discussed factors above. Below is an example table showing this concept in action.
|Job Offer||Factor #1||Factor #2||Factor #3||Factor #4||Total|
|Offer #1||1 (3)||9 (9)||9 (27)||1 (9)||48|
|Offer #2||9 (27)||3 (3)||3 (9)||9 (81)||120|
|Offer #3||3 (9)||1 (1))||1 (3)||1 (9)||22|
That's all there is to it! A quick prioritization matrix can help you immensely in evaluating your offer and deciding what is going to be best for you. While there are numerous different factors to consider, this activity will be well worth your time. I hope you utilize it to properly consider everything and not just go with the offer providing you the highest salary. As you can see, there's a lot more to consider, which will net you a higher take-home pay in the future, as well as help ensure your happiness and mental stability are intact to see it all through.
If you enjoyed the post, be sure to follow me so that you don't miss the rest of this series, where I continue, in detail, on what to do After the Interview, including negotiating your offer letter! The links to my social media accounts can be found on my contact page. Please feel free to share any of your own experiences with the interviewing process, general questions and comments, or even other topics you would like me to write about. If this series of posts help you land that dream job of yours, be sure to let me know as well. Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you!👋