Choosing the right job is one of the most important decisions you will make in your career. It can impact your success, happiness, and overall satisfaction. Unfortunately, many people don’t have the tools to evaluate a job offer effectively. In this article, inspired by Romeen Sheth, we’ll discuss a guide on how to evaluate a job, based on three types of “fit.”
Company-Market Fit: Is the Company Going to Win?
When you join a company, you become an investor – investing your time rather than your capital. It’s important to evaluate the company’s potential for success by looking at key metrics, such as revenue growth, customer acquisition, and market share. You should also evaluate the company’s vision for scaling, business model, competition, and customer satisfaction. These factors will give you a sense of the company’s potential for growth and success.
You should ask:
- Metrics: How is the company doing?
- Vision: What is the strategy for scale?
- Business Model: How does the business make money?
- Competition: Who are the competitors; why are they better or worse?
- Customers: Why do customers buy? Do they love the product?
Person-Company Fit: Am I in a Position to Succeed?
While the company’s potential for success is important, it’s also essential to evaluate your fit within the company. You should consider your day-to-day responsibilities, the team you’ll be working with, and the attrition rate of employees. Additionally, you should ask why people love working at the company – focusing on substance rather than perks. While it’s important to be in a position to succeed, it’s equally important to contribute to a winning team.
Most people early in their career overvalue position and undervalue contributing to a winning team. Getting 20%+ compensation at a flailing company is always worse over the long term compared to joining a rocketship. High growth companies unlock opportunities – they are the opposite of zero sum environments. You want to be in a position to succeed.
You should ask:
- What is the day-to-day responsibility of the current role?
- Who is the team I will be working with?
- What are the other teams I will be interacting with?
- What is the attrition rate of employees?
- Why do people love working here? (Focus on substance, not perks)
Person-Problem Fit: Am I in it for the Long Term?
Career gains are often inversely correlated with career hopping, so it’s essential to evaluate whether you’re in it for the long haul. You should evaluate whether you care about the problem or industry the company is addressing, whether you’re motivated and excited enough to stick it out when things get tough, and whether you believe you can excel in this domain. It’s important to imagine spending the next five years at the company and consider the knowledge and skill accumulation that comes from staying past the honeymoon period (0-12 months).
You should ask:
- What skills are particularly valuable to this domain?
- Is this a problem / industry I care about?
- When it gets tough (it always does), am I motivated and excited enough to stick it out?
- Do I believe I can uniquely excel in this domain?
Bringing Rigor to Your Decision: Writing a Career Memo
To make an informed decision, you should evaluate each opportunity you have across the three vectors discussed above and compare the full opportunity set. Writing a “career memo” can help you bring rigor to your decision-making process. The memo should include an analysis of each opportunity and an evaluation of your fit with the company, problem, and market. Choosing the right place to work is an important first step in setting yourself up for success. While you may not have perfect information, you can have perfect intent by evaluating each opportunity thoughtfully and intentionally.