You’re reading an excerpt of Land Your Dream Design Job, a book by Dan Shilov. Filled with hard-won, personal insights, it is a comprehensive guide to landing a product design role in a startup, agency, or tech company, and covers the entire design interview process from beginning to end, for experienced and aspriring designers. Purchase the book to support the author and the ad-free Holloway reading experience. You get instant digital access, commentary and future updates, and a high-quality PDF download.
Making the Decision
When you get an offer, take the time to zoom out before you zoom in. If you were to take this role, how will it help you achieve your current and future goals? Ultimately, we’re all captains of our own ships. A good job is one that pays well, grows your skills, and advances your career. Of course, choosing a job isn’t all about career aspirations either. Work-life balance is also key. In the end, you should weigh factors based on how important they are to you.
Remember the mapping your futures exercise exercise that we did earlier on? Now’s a good time to reflect, since you’ve been through the process and a few weeks have passed by since then. Are your fundamental goals still the same? Have they changed with new information?
important There will never be a sure thing or an ideal workplace. Companies reorg, teams change, projects shift. The best you can do is to look at core factors (such as culture) and the key people who influence the process so that even in the times of reorg, you’ll still end up in a good place because the culture of the company is one that resonates with your values.
Choosing Among Multiple Offers
If you’re in a lucky position of deciding among multiple offers, it helps to step back and think about the factors that are most important to you. It can be easy to get caught up and compare the roles based on superficial factors—office space, location, salary. With the exception of salary, some of these might not be important. And even with salary—minor differences may seem trivial compared to other factors, such as a great team and a short commute.
List the things that are important to you and see how companies stack up—logically, is there a clear winner? Emotionally, do you feel more at home or a better fit at a certain place?
Lastly, an exercise you can do is imagine yourself fully accepting a specific offer. Live out your next day as if you’ve already committed to it. Sleep on it. When you wake up—do you still feel strong about your choice?
If you’ve done your prior research, this step will be hard. If you’re deciding between two great options, flip a coin and make a decision based on that. If you feel immediate regret based on the toss, then you know which option is truly important to you.
Inevitably, for one reason or another, you’ll have to reject a company or two—this one will be tough. If you absolutely know for sure that you don’t want to continue or have a better offer that you’ve already accepted, reach out to the company that you’re rejecting and let them know quickly. As bittersweet as this is, it’s not the end of the world; the design industry is surprisingly small, so you never know when you’ll run into these folks next.