When evaluating a job offer, you might rely on traditional metrics, including salary, vacation time, and equity. But while those are all useful, they might not serve as accurate predictors of how happy the new position will make you. After all, a lot of high-paying jobs are also miserable experiences. And for some tech pros, even lots of equity won’t balance out a few years of awful work-life balance. In the worst-case scenario, a job with a lot of short-term benefits ends up hindering a career in the long-term, as employees find themselves unable to advance within the corporate ranks or learn new skills that will increase their value on the open market. With all that in mind, here are some things to look for beyond salary when considering whether to take a new position:
A Clear Career Course
Many companies will have candidates interview with a number of employees. During those chats, make sure to ask your interviewers about their paths at the firm. Have they climbed the ranks? Or does everyone seem stuck roughly where he or she started, despite years of tenure? Their answers will indicate whether the company believes in advancing employees to ever-greater levels of responsibility. And if current employees seem stuck, beware.
Jobs benefit tech pros by teaching them new skills. A lot of that learning comes when employees are looped into experienced teams and given interesting projects to work on. With that in mind, make sure to ask your interviewer about team structures, and how tech pros move from project to project. If you get the impression that employees don’t field new opportunities on a regular basis, treat that as a red flag. You can also ask outright if there are tools in place (such as in-house classes) that enable employees to learn new skills. If you’re just starting out in tech, take a look at a recent column on FreeCodeCamp
by full-stack developer Felix Feng, who diagrammed out some questions to ask employers about technical challenges, team structure, and other key aspects of corporate objectives and culture. The answers to those questions can give you crucial insight into the things you might learn once onboard.
More and more firms are waking up to the idea that tech pros want flexibility in their working lives. Rather than chaining employees to a desk for a set number of hours per day, they’re increasingly open to concepts such as remote work and adjustable hours. Even older, larger companies are jumping on this particular wagon—just take a look at Microsoft, which recently signed a deal with WeWork
to allow its employees to work at several flexible spaces in New York City. If the gig seems particularly inflexible, and the employer doesn’t seem open to a discussion about how to adjust schedules or office space in a way that works for you, that might be a sign that the job isn’t for you (provided, of course, that you’re actually looking for that flexibility).