January’s “new year, new you” phenomenon applies not only to New Year’s resolutions about fitness and nutrition, but to reinvigorating your career. If that lead you to a search for a new role this year, you’re not alone.
When I speak with both active and passive candidates - especially this time of year, and especially in this hiring market - I counsel them to be prepared to make some choices, and probably faster than they thought when they first started their search. The time to think about navigating job offers is at the start of your search, so that you’re ready to field one, two, or several offers.
Once you’ve reached that point, there's something exhilarating about thinking about a resignation conversation - especially if you're particularly unhappy in your current role. It's tempting to rush to take whichever offer is - at the face of it - the "best". The most money, the most prestige, the most desirable company. But, take a breath, and take a step back. What might seem at the surface to be the "best" offer might not be the best offer for you. Why did you interview in the first place? What's your biggest motivator? What are the intrinsic things that matter most to you? Match the answers to those questions to the opportunities in front of you, and hopefully, a clear winner emerges.
At the start of your search, you've ideally put some real thought into what kind of culture will help you bring your best self to work. Make sure the interview process was a two-way street - did you ask all the questions you needed to about the culture of the organizations you're considering? Do you really know what your future boss will value in his/her employees? Consider doing a backdoor reference of your boss.
Know your value
Now is the time to look at each offer in-hand versus market data - and to do some fact-based negotiation. Sanity-check your offers against publicly-available information about salary, and make sure you know how to ask for what you need, if you feel the offers aren't competitive.
But...Don't get seduced by money
Money isn't everything. Look at each offer holistically. How do they compare to each other versus things like quality of life, benefits, interesting work, stability, career development, mentorship?
Assess your risk profile
Size and stage of organization matter a lot - an early stage startup will offer things an established, large company can't. But those larger orgs likely offer more cash. You've probably already thought about this, but now that things have gotten real - it's time to balance how much risk versus guaranteed cash you really need.
Talk to your Board of Directors
This is your personal Board of Directors, the people who are there to help make the tough decisions when you’re stuck. These are people who you can count on for honest advice when you still might be fixated on the most money or the coolest office. Your board of directors might help you see things from a different point of view, they could raise a new concern or even simply offer insight that you aren’t able to give yourself.
So, brace yourself - these offers are coming. Ask yourself the tough questions, and congrats in advance for making a great career move!
Written by Deb Feldman, Principal Consultant and Co-Founder