Friday, July 22, 2011

Team or Company?

When looking at a new job you’ve got to consider a bunch of in particular is what’s more valuable to you: the company name or the team you’re joining.  

Now, in some cases they are the same thing right?  Joining a start up?  The team IS the company.  However, joining a larger organization like Apple or Microsoft you really need to consider the specific group you are joining as much as the overall company.  The question is, how do you make that call?  Alas, a few tips:

1) What can you learn?  This is really the crux of the issue right?  I mean, if a job is with an amazing team you can learn a ton even if it’s not the worlds greatest company. Assuming you learn a ton, you can then grow your skill set and long-term you’ve made a great move even if it ends up being a shorter term gig.

2) Reputation - Great team but a company with a bad brand?  Tough call honestly but I think you stay away from companies with bad brands if you can....for example.  Enron calls?  Um, pass.  Now, there are exceptions right and you can justify anything but as a general rule....avoid it if you can, even if the team appears awesome.  Not worth the risk.

3) Networking - The flip side of bullet #2 of course is networking right?  Some companies or organizations have AMAZING networks...getting into that network can be as valuable as the role. (Think Harvard)  So, if you have an opportunity to join an org with one of those legendary networks you should jump on it.

4) Other opportunities - Huh?  Consider other gigs before you even take the new one?  That’s right.  Here’s why.  If you are joining a company like Microsoft or IBM...whatever.....there are TONS of opportunities within the org that you’ll have the ability to compete for in the future.  So, let’s say you join a team in Boston...18 months later you’re a top performer and the world is your oyster.  Of course the flip side of this is you absolutely-positively have to perform to take advantage of these roles....and typically, it’s hard work so just be ready to bust your tail and make things happen.

5) Trust your gut - Sage advice here but if you gut tells you something is probably is the wrong company or team.  If you just can’t stop thinking about how great a gig it is and how cool the people are then you’ve meet a good crew.  You might think I’m crazy but I’m a huge believer in trusting you instincts when looking at gigs.  

Ok, that’s about it......just remember a new job is about much more than just the job description and your day-to-day work.  It’s about personal growth, professional brand and how it fits into your overall career........until next time, good luck out there.


  1. One of my mentors is in automotive recruiting and the advice he has given me is similar to yours. Years ago he advised me to approach my career a bit like a chess game - try and think several moves ahead - don't be captivated by what's immediately available but also consider where current options will lead and what new possibilities they can create.

  2. Thank you for your great advice. I have been looking for companies who will allow you to expand your knowledge by applying what you know whether it's your task or not. However, most companies are, I think, restricted when it comes to such cases. But, companies like Google will give you a chance to work on what you are interested in, which makes sense. That is what a career means. Its hard and you will become unproductive if you stick to what you don't want to work on.

    I hope to join Google soon.