Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Should I invest my time in doing this interview?

You are invited for an interview, so you go on Glassdoor to research your potential employer. If all reviews are positive, great! But what if they are mixed?  How do you decide whether it is worth your time talking to their hiring team?

Let me show you some examples of actual posts on Glassdoor:

“...a good place for people who are driven and want to work hard to succeed. You will get rewarded according to your effort.”
“Diversity. Talented people. Things moving fast. Nice working environment. A great place to try out new technology”
“The vibe you get with the colleagues is outstanding. Never have I been part of such a mixed culture of people from all over the world and have them all love to be around one another.”
“The management has been working hard to create a pleasant work environment. … The engineering team is great, very smart and friendly.”
“Smart and passionate execs and coworkers - Promising product - Open communication “
Sounds like a great company to work for, doesn’t it?

How about this set?
“...worse place for growth, team collaboration and inspiring team input. Petty and immature co-workers complaining, instead of focusing on improving product features. Management lost control of teams which resulted in lack of focus and quality of work. No team cohesion, poor choices for process..”
“Notoriously toxic culture characterized by lack of trust, deceit, and false promises.”
“The upper management seems pretty much inexperienced. They don't know how to motivate their employees…”
“Probably not a place to build your career because the "company direction" seems to change weekly.”
Not such a good place to work, wouldn’t you agree?

What if we told you that those reviews are for the same company - Tango.me? You might think the reason for such different opinions is that the company has changed over time - but this is not the case. Positive and negative reviews are following one another on the timeline - 5 stars, 1 star, 1 star, 4 stars, 3 stars …
We placed a number of people with Tango.me, so we know that the engineering team is really strong - their technical interviews are very rigorous. And, according to the article in TechCrunch, Tango is still number 12 out of 20 Unicorn Companies paying best for programmers.
At the same time, according to tech writer Josh Dickson, morale at Tango.me IS low, and there are issues with upper-level management and product vision.
Despite that, when we talk to our contacts at the company, it is clear that there are quite a few people who are happy there, and are not planning to leave.
The latest news are still a mixed bag.  On one hand,  co-founder Uri Raz stepped down as CEO, and the new CEO, Eric Setton, another co-founder and former CTO, announced  a couple of months ago that the company is splitting its service into two to rediscover the core chat experience that made it successful.
On the other hand, Tango.me had another round of layoffs recently.

...And then, those offices are gorgeous!

So how do you decide if you want to work at a particular company? One way is to think through your priorities.  
In the case of Tango, if releasing a guaranteed good product is important to you, this might not be your top choice, at least not right now.  But, if you want exposure to various tools, an opportunity to work with a really strong team of engineers, and to try your hand at interesting new technologies, then Tango.me is a good place to consider.

Of course, there is no substitution for a personal impression about any company - so do take this interview, go talk to a hiring team, ask a lot of questions, see if you click with their culture - and then decide!