Factors to Consider When Assessing a New Job Opportunity

The average tenure of a technical professional within a single company is a mere 2.1 years, resulting in a constant shuffling of new job openings. Although this might come across as common sense, there are a handful of factors you should take into consideration prior to accepting an offer, namely:

  • Commute. Unless you’re one of the few road warriors out there, a commute of more than 45-60 minutes each way can start to weigh on you pretty quickly. Drive the route to/from your new potential office during “peak hours” and test it out. If it’s daunting during your trial run, chances are it’s only going to get worse.
  • Work culture. Be highly observant during your interview, and if appropriate, request a tour of the facility. Get a sense of the energy, team dynamic, and overall vibe. Do team members go out of their way to introduce themselves, or do they shy away from making eye contact with you? Is there noticeable interaction between team members?
  • Opportunity for advancement. Depending on your career ambitions as well as where you are currently in your career journey, you will want your new potential manager to paint a clear picture as to what their unique promotion path looks like. If they can’t paint a clear picture and/or give a few real life examples, this may be a red flag.
  • Job perks. Human Resources can give you all the specifics in terms of the company’s benefits, so make sure you take the time to speak with them and understand exactly what you’re getting in addition to a salary. Some of the most popular perks are:
    1. Medical, dental, and vision benefits (PPO? HMO? What percentage of the premium does the company cover? Does it cover just you, or is your family eligible as well? When are you eligible – day one or after ninety days?)
    2. 401(k) matching program (what ratio will they match, and what is the annual cap?)
    3. Flexible work schedule including the ability to telecommute or working a 9/80 week (nine 10-hour work days over the course of two weeks; in other words, you have every other Friday off)
    4. Stock options (since the majority of new tech hiring in 2010 has been with small, entrepreneurial companies, they will oftentimes offer a stock option program to attract and retain talent, although you are seldom eligible for such a program until you’ve successfully completed 6-12 months on the job)
    5. Paid vacation/holiday and sick time (how many days off are you eligible for, and is it on an accrual basis?)
    6. Tuition reimbursement (do they encourage you to advance your education, and if so, will they reimburse your for doing so and to what extent?)
    7. Company outings (maybe they offer free lunches every Friday, or perhaps there are company-sponsored trips throughout the year when you are encouraged to include your family)
  • Financial stability. If it’s a private company, chances are they won’t share their financial statements with you. That said, you can still uncover plenty of information by doing your own due diligence. And there’s no harm in asking them to provide you with a general financial snapshot and outlook; at the end of the day, it’s in their best interest to paint a clear picture for you.