Analyzing Startup Job Offers

I often get questions about startup job offers.  So I figured best to write some points down and provide some resources.  Here are some key points:

  1.  Evaluating an offer for a VP and higher position is much different than evaluation an offer for a position below a VP.
  2. Titles also don’t (and should not) mean a heck of a lot.  This is my personal view and others definitely disagree.  But if you are title “crazed” in your startup job search, I think you are misguided.  Said another way, if I were interviewing you for a job at a startup and you were title crazed I would never hire you.  Job performance is job security.
  3. VP and higher positions are outright entitled to understand exactly the percentage ownership of the company their equity package represents.  Equity packages are either stock options or restricted stock.  Lower level positions are often not tied to percentage ownership.  I think ok to politely ask for this information for lower level hires, but don’t be alarmed when you don’t get it.
  4. VP and higher positions are often given change of control acceleration on their equity vesting.  Lower level position are not typically given that.  So don’t embarrass yourself by insisting on it if you are applying for a position below VP.   Might be ok to politely ask for it, but expect the answer to be no.
  5. The key question from my perspective is “Am I being treated fairly compared to others at my level inside the company”.  If others at your level have change of control acceleration, then you should as well.

So, here are some good links.  I am not guarantying that all the information in the links is fully consistent with what I wrote above, but that is ok.  I think almost all of it is……


3 thoughts on “Analyzing Startup Job Offers

  1. I think there is an offer filter before you evaluate startup compensation. First, does it look like a promising company that has the right kind of people, product and market goals to be successful, and do you feel good about the people you’ll be working for and with. This should be binary with startups – if the offer does not make this filter then try to get an offer from a company that does.

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