Years ago, back before I became a consultant, a job search led me to an interview with a technical company. The company was large enough to offer a variety of challenges with room for advancement, but wasn’t so big that one would get lost in a sea of employees. The company’s line of business was one that I was already familiar with, which meant that I’d be able to hit the ground running and add value almost immediately.
After a phone screen and a face-to-face interview, I got the call every job seeker wants: “We want you to work here.” A written offer followed shortly, which described a position that would have been a significant upgrade both in responsibilities and compensation. However, after a couple of days of contemplation and research, I respectfully turned down the offer.
Why on Earth would a job seeker turn down a job offer for more money? For me, it was this: I was selectively picking the right team for me.
Picking The Right Team
During the interview process with this company, a couple of things gave me pause. First, although I had requested to visit with some of the other members of the team, the only person I was able to meet with was the team leader. I was also concerned about the communication during the interview process: I was asked exactly one question (which was a very simple technical question), and there was no discussion about company culture or organizational fit. During the one-hour interview, the team leader spent at least 50 minutes talking about the technical architecture, and I didn’t get much time to ask questions at the end because another candidate was waiting to be interviewed at the top of the hour.
Everyone I dealt with at this company was cordial and professional, and my research did not find any serious deficiency in the company. Still, I just couldn’t shake the sense that I’d be out of place at this company. I was already in a good job without an immediate need to make a move, so I stayed where I was. In retrospect, I am confident I could have made the new job work for a time, but it was the right move for me to stay with the great team I already had.
When looking for a change, whether it’s a new job, a business venture, a volunteer group, or a new neighborhood, the people around you will have a huge impact on your happiness – probably more so than salary, benefits, profit, or other factors. Consider carefully, and pick the right team for you.