Interview timing: Offer in hand vs interviews in-progress?

I got a pretty strong principal-level offer (which is title I’ve had for 2.5 years current job title at my current company, so this would be a lateral move) after months of searching this week. I’m not excited about the company at all, but the industry is exciting for me and pay is like 2x what I am currently making (in fact they went well over what I asked for because they are super-eager to hire me and were very clear about that). Job is remote forever, too, and pays SF salary regardless of where I live

I was applying for months and not hearing back from all but a handful of places, and also had an offer at a top company rescinded/frozen in the spring because of COVID which was a bit traumatizing (which seems not to have happened to others I know) so I’m confused about how competitive I am in the market overall.

I have a bunch of interviews lined up including a few for Director-Level roles, and this job is pressuring me to give them a yes/no within the week. I just don’t know what to do? What if I interview for months with these other jobs and come up empty?

Any advice?


Take the job. You’re doubling you’re pay. Do it for 6 months, don’t change your spending habits, and bank the leftovers. If you hate the job, quit after 6 months, and spend 6 months job searching while living off your savings. Feels like a no brained to me.


Ha, this is the minority opinion here. Thanks, I will consider this.

I was thinking along these lines, but I just wasn’t sure whether taking a job with the idea I’ll be in it for just a few months is entirely ethical. Also, the jobs I’m in process for are way better, too, so I could be presented with a significantly better offer (maybe not in terms of pay, but in terms of everything else) within like ~2 months. I’m not sure I can just bounce after two months without making others angry.


I would also encourage you think through what your priorities are for your next role. Are you mostly after a pay bump? Culture change? Industry change? Once you figure out what is most important for you, that can also help clarify your next steps.

I’ve actually made simple point-based systems to compare offers before (e.g., every $10k of pay = 3 points, short commute = 5 points, long commute = 0 points) and that can help weight each offer as well.


Long commute should be a negative point value IMO, severely impacts my quality of life. Cool idea though, I tend to take a binary approach - long commute is a hard no, lower than desired salary, hard no. etc.


@RohitKumar, love this system. thank you!

Just wish I had competing offers already so I could apply this system more effectively. What’s a suitable discount rate for “not even sure whether I will even get this job”? lol


@AnaRodriguez, I think that also comes down to how much you hate your current role, haha!

Recruiting during covid has been pretty tough for everyone, I hear, so best of luck.


If they’re so eager to have you, you have the leverage. I’d tell them you need another week. Job offers in tech don’t have an actual expiration date, regardless of how much pressure HR puts on you.


Interesting point.

It took them like 3 weeks to check references because I got a verbal offer right before the holidays and people apparently weren’t replying to work emails in that period. Their concern is that they have a bunch of candidates in the pipeline who’ve been waiting for a while because of my reference’s situation (which is not my fault, but I understand where they are coming from)


@FelipeRibeiro, I understand their position but at the end of the day this is your career, so be selfish (to a point). And of course, they’ll say they have lots of candidates in the pipeline to make it sound exclusive. It’s like dating.

While not in product management, I work on the strategy side and closely with PMs. I’m at a similar point in my career where I’m trying to move to director. I have strict criteria on this. So, while I will take calls for lateral positions, even those that pay more, at the end of the day I won’t move if it’s not Director. You should be considering the next step of your career without the blinders of immediate comp. you’re not excited about the company and it’s a lateral position, so you’re effectively starting over at that level at a new company. In 1.5yrs, how would you feel being a principal with 4 years’ experience at a company you don’t care about? Pushing into director level is where comp starts to really jump, so I’d try not to be swayed by this 2x comp offer in hand. I fear you’d take this, be psyched at the comp jump for a few weeks, but within 6 months you’d be adjusted to this new comp and realize you made a mistake and have to either wait it out for a year or start interviewing from a precarious position.

I only move jobs/companies now if I’m psyched for the new role. Having made changes before because “eh it’s better than what I currently have” only leads to mediocre situations which within 6 months I’ve been starting the search again. It’s better to stay put, determine your strict criteria for a job change, and hustle on those opportunities. Don’t sell your future self-short, you owe it to him/her.


God, this is so true. I’m very impatient and loathe job searching (confidence issues), and have done exactly this before.


What sort of references were they looking for? And why did it take 3 weeks for that?


@ChristieDook, Yeah, it’s weird – I’d never been asked for references from previous jobs before so that was supremely irritating. From what I understand that is common with smaller companies, and occasionally happens in bigger tech companies too (google asks for internal references for example).

The three weeks was just bad timing around the holidays.


It is tempting to say follow your dreams, partly because it is a very positive message many of are conditioned to via films and books. Reality is harsher in general + there is a pandemic. There is no way I would turn down an offer that doubles my salary if the new company has an OK culture (not toxic) and it is not a dead end road.

Is there a trial period in the new job? Why not trying out the new job and see if you like it while finishing the other interviews?

What would turn this offer from good to great for you? Possible to negotiate it?


Yeah, this is good pandemic-aware advice. I guess in the worst case I could just take the job, continue to interview, and if I really hate the job bail for something else in a few months. I’m not sure if there is a formal trial period per se. The only issue here is I might get a much better offer in <2 months if my current interviews pan out.

I’m just not the careerist type, and am not the sort of person who can easily do things that I perceive as screwing others over. I stayed in my current job (in which I’m underpaid) for at least a year too long out of loyalty to the founders because they are such nice people.

A change in title, which they will not entertain for 18 months. Being a company with a better name would also help, lol.


@FelipeRibeiro, I see what you mean, I was in a similar situation having a job offer and being in interviews with 3 other companies. But I was on the easier side: offer from a small company I liked, being in process with a big company with higher salary but with a role I saw as less impactful. I took the offer and stopped the other processes. However, the difference was not near double. And if you liked the people who would be your new colleagues, might be worth a shot. If there is an explicit trial period, then it is a chance both for you to understand the role better and for the company to check you. In that case I don’t see it as screwing them, a trial is a trial.

I was lucky because even the lower salary is enough to support a good life for my family. If you are in a similar lucky situation and your current salary is enough, then you have the freedom to choose anything.


Why can’t you take the job, see how you feel after 9 months and interview for director positions if needed? Would the new job offer a possibility to progress to director level? Also would you be learning anything new that will help you in the next step etc.?

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@PriyaVarma, Yeah, I get what you’re saying. I was told it’ll take 18-24 months to progress to Director level at new company. But I won’t have any direct reports for several months (I manage multiple PMs in my current role) which is not great. I’m also quite a bit older than my would-be PM peers and even the VP of product to whom I report, which also makes me feel weird or like I’m taking a step back somehow.

And I’m in process for jobs at significantly better companies, some of which include director roles. I’m well into my 30s, spent (too) many years in grad school getting a PhD, and the idea of wasting 9 months in a job I’m unsure about feels overwhelming at my age.

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@FelipeRibeiro, Make sense. Seems like you already have an answer to your question. On another note, since you started late in product management, you’re able to work later into your life than others who started earlier don’t you think?

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@PriyaVarma, who knows? There is supposedly age discrimination in tech, and I won’t be young-looking forever. :slight_smile: