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How do you evaluate a product company or opportunity and if it is a good job to take?

2 Answers
Veronica Hudson
Veronica Hudson
ActiveCampaign Senior Director of Product ManagementJune 8

Any time I've accepted or considered accepting an offer from another organization, there are a few things I take into consideration:

  • Why am I interested in this opportunity? What new challenges or opportunities does it present me that I am not getting in my current role? For example, am I wanting to step into an opportunity that is within my comfort zone so I can lean into honing my product and leadership chops? Or do I want to enter a new vertical/industry so I can diversify my skill set?
  • Am I excited about the problems I'll be solving?
  • Do I like the people I'll be working with? If I'm going to spend most of my day M-F with this team, I want to enjoy that time.
  • Company growth: Where is this company now and where are they going? What are their plans for growth and how does my role fit into that? Don't be afraid to ask hard questions here while you are in the interview process.
  • Career Growth: Does this org have a well-define path to promotion? How do they see me growing into and out of this role?
  • Comp: What is the total comp package? Is it competitive with the market? Does it include equity? If it includes equity, do all employees get equity or is it only for certain levels and above? (This can make hiring difficult if it isn't available for everyone)
  • Undefinable "feels": Usually my own intuition guides me one way or another (although sometimes I don't want to listen)

Note, I didn't say anything here about FAANG or the prestige of the company. While working at a big name can definitely help as stepping stone to other opportunities in the future, it's not something I personally give a ton of weight to.

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Luca Beltrami
Luca Beltrami
Faire Head of Product, RetailersJune 14

Evaluate in this order:

  • Company: This is by far the biggest predictor of how much you will benefit. Fast growing companies create the best economic outcomes, and the best learning and career opportunities for their employees. Often it's better to join a company post product market fit to catch the right sweet spot between risk and residual growth. Wealthfront has a great list of career-launching companies. Be sure to evaluate the company not only for success but also for culture. Ask how they make decisions and how the product function plays a role in company strategy. Many companies are actually remarkably less product-driven than you'd think - making PMs less central to decision making.
  • People: People shape the experience of working at the company every day and they are also the people you will learn from. Try to meet as many people during the interview process as you can.
  • Role: Many people weight this way too high. You'd rather be a junior PM in a company that 20xs than a senior director in a failed company. This applies both to the economics, to how much you learn and the career opportunities you get
  • Comp structure: Make sure you enter a situation where you are not relying on illiquid comp to retain or increase in value. It's a recipe for a lot of hearburn if you don't get this right. Make sure to balance risk across your career or with your partner.
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