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Is This a Good Job Offer?
A surprisingly difficult question to answer at the earliest stages...
You found a startup you’re excited about joining. You interviewed, nailed it, got the offer and now you’re wondering… “is this a good job offer?”
We get asked this question just about every day at Founders You Should Know. There are a bunch of considerations to weigh when evaluating an offer. But the main components of an offer are usually expressed as cash and equity compensation. Ideally you could calibrate the offer based on comparables in the market, but for early stage startups it’s often difficult to find high quality data – also the market is often an n-of-1 for any particular early opportunity.
On the other hand, the company presenting you the offer has a huge advantage in the negotiation. They usually subscribe to a compensation database and benchmarking service called Option Impact (now part of Pave). It costs a minimum of thousands of dollars a year to subscribe – as an individual job-seeker I don’t think they’ll even let you subscribe. It’s very high quality data since it’s sourced and vetted through relationships the platform has with many companies across the industry.
There are some rules of thumb I share when job-seekers ask about this, but, unfortunately, the best advice is to “ask your VC/founder friends and try to get a sense based on what they’re seeing for similar roles, geography, capital raised, industry, team size, company stage, etc.” It’s messy. It’s unsatisfying.
On the job-seeker side some of the best resources available might be Levels or Glassdoor. They’re each operating at a fairly large scale, but the kinds of companies our community is interested in are often too early to be listed by these services. Also, ensuring data quality in the more developed markets where they play has a very different set of challenges from doing so in the early stage where we focus.
If you just got an offer at a startup and you want to know “is this a good job offer?” DM me and I can share some private resources and upcoming sessions we’re hosting which might be helpful to you.
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