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Should You Stay or Should You Go?

Get the promotion you want


People often wonder whether they should interview with a new company or they should just go for internal promotion. Below is a simplified framework to help you decide what is best.

You want more money

Advice: Go


In a good job market, you can almost always make more money by hopping to a new firm. This is especially true when you are staying in roughly the same function/level.


For the company you are already at, the default is that you will stay. They don’t experience the (often remote) pain of you leaving to know they need to pay you more. This typically works in the company’s favor, as most people don’t bother looking for a new job.


For the company that is hiring, they probably have a pressing need to hire. They are living the pain of not having anyone and having to waste precious resources on the search. Once they already put all the time, effort, and money into selecting you out of a pool of applicants, they are also more likely to negotiate up versus start the search all over.


You want more responsibility

Advice: Stay


Despite all the effort to make it otherwise, hiring is a crapshoot. It’s so easy to end up with a bad hire and it’s very costly to get rid of that bad hire. Managers, recruiters, and executives want the reassurance that you have a track-record of success in the specific role, and they are going to be less inclined to hire someone without relevant experience.


This means that trying to apply outside of your company for manager roles when you’ve only ever been an individual contributor will be really tough. You’re likely competing for the role against more seasoned managers.


The situation changes when you look internally. If you’ve proven yourself and there is a need, your company will likely give you a shot. The stakes are much lower for them. They don’t have to spend time interviewing or pay a recruiter. They know what you’re capable of.


The best option is to not wait until a position and salary become available. Instead, start taking on “leadership” tasks free of charge. It sounds unfun, but they will likely be grateful for the help, and you can build up the experience you need to ultimately convince them to give you the full promotion.


Bonus

You’ve been at your job for less than a year

Advice: Stay


It doesn’t matter whether you want more money, more responsibility, or a pony, this doesn’t look great to hiring managers. If possible, tough it out. If not possible, start calling your network and see if someone who personally knows you would be willing to vouch for you at their company.

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