How to Choose Between Two Engineering Roles
Receiving multiple job offers can be the icing on the cake of a long and arduous job search. Most job seekers in the tech field send applications to numerous companies in the process of finding a new position, never imagining that two companies might compete for them. When they do and you are choosing between two job offers, it can be stressful to know which will be the best fit, particularly if they have similar duties, benefits, and on-paper potential. So how can you best decide between two great positions?
Before you dwell on the decision for too long, let’s consider how to weigh multiple offers.
What to consider when you receive multiple offers
Deciding between two offers can feel overwhelming, but evaluating your options using the same criteria is a great place to start. Here are eight areas to consider as you weigh your options.
- The company values. When choosing between two companies, consider the mission and values of both. What does the company stand for, who do they serve, and why? How do the mission and values of both companies align with your personal core values, which ultimately guide your behavior, actions, and decisions? How do the products or services of the companies differ and which product or service most closely matches your core values? Asking these questions will help you get clear about how you might impact the industry and the customers your company serves and will give you clarity about which will be right for you.
As you weigh the fundamental differences between both companies, also consider the culture both for leadership and employees. Although a hiring manager thought you would be a good culture fit for a company doesn’t mean it is the best culture fit for you. Find out what others in your potential role, department, and leadership team are saying about the company culture to determine if it’s the type of place you want to devote 40 hours per week to.
- The salary and employment package. Although software engineer salaries offered at both positions will differ, it may not be the black-and-white decision maker it appears to be. Consider what benefits come along with your offers, including paid time off, sick leave, parental leave, retirement, stock options, and more. For instance, although a startup may not pay as well as a large and well-established company, they may be able to offer equity in the company itself which could be more valuable in the long run. When in doubt, consult online resources, a salary guide, or the career support team at Bloom Institute of Technology (formerly known as Lambda School) to see if your offers are fair, to industry standards, and reflective of your skills.
- The role. Review the job descriptions of both positions. Consider what your daily tasks will be in each role, and how much you will work independently, with clients, and with your future team. How will your role at each job play to your strengths? How much stress and responsibility will each role entail? How much independence and creative freedom will each role support? Imagine the frameworks and languages you will use in your role and how much training and learning the roles will encompass. Finally, picture yourself in each role and imagine yourself completing your responsibilities. Which feels more natural and exciting for you?
- The leadership. Look online for information about those in leadership roles within the company. Read reviews on sites like Glassdoor to help you understand how others have experienced the CEO, CFO, Head of HR, and other forward facing positions of power. Reflect on your interviews and the interactions you have had with future managers and others on the leadership team. Did you feel comfortable and respected? Were your ideas valued? How were questions received? Consider if those in leadership roles moved into their positions or if they were recruited. Find out how long employees and leadership typically stay at the company. Quick turnover and a lack of upward mobility may indicate larger management problems. Find out if those in leadership roles are happy and well compensated – after all, you could be in their shoes before you know it.
- The team. When starting a new position, consider who you will be spending the most time with. Most likely you will be working on a team, communicating regularly about shared projects and outcomes. Consider the size and composition of the team you may be on and how this might play to your strengths and weaknesses. For instance, if you will be on a large team and working on large projects, you will likely be in large meetings. How comfortable will you be getting the needs of your projects met in this type of environment?
If you participated in any panel interviews with members of your future team, recall the interactions and how comfortable you felt with your potential future co-workers. These individuals could be your greatest supporters, mentors, and allies in your work and for your career trajectory. If you are unsure who you might be working with, don’t be afraid to do some social media cyber stalking on sites like LinkedIn. Identify who might be a resource for you on your future team, and how this will impact your work satisfaction.
- The location. Careers in tech often come with remote opportunities, however if you have the option between relocating or working remotely, you will have even more to contend with. If you will be working in an office, consider the location of each company and what the area or commute will be like for you. If you will need to relocate, is the company located near an area you would enjoy living in? Consider your quality of life in a new location and if moving would be worth any added compensation or opportunities. How far might you be from friends and family, and how easy would it be to foster community in a new place? If both positions start remotely, inquire about whether they will stay remote or if you will need to eventually move into an office setting.
- Upskilling potential. With any new job comes the potential for reinvention, growth, and advancement. Consider what training and skill development will be offered through your new position, and how the upskilling will benefit your mastery as an engineer. How will your growth benefit you in your position now and other positions in the future? Choosing the obvious or most comfortable position may not push you out of your comfort zone, so don’t let your fear govern your decision making. After all, you will never know what you are capable of if you aren’t willing to take a risk.
- Career path. Although you may be deciding between two different positions now, where you land will likely not be your only career move in the tech space. As you decide between two roles, think critically about how your position might lend itself to upward mobility in your company or next steps toward a future career path. How will the offers position you to maximize your potential? Consider all of the aforementioned considerations together and weigh them against how the two positions will influence your future goals and aspirations. Where will you receive the most mentorship and opportunities that will move you closer to the career you dream of?
No matter what position you choose, allow your happiness to lead the way. Remember that a job is never a qualifier of your worth and is never promised, and even if you land somewhere that is ultimately not the right fit there will always be another option around the corner.