In the May 7, 2019 Ask The Headhunter Newsletter a reader juggles job offers between Facebook and Microsoft.


I accepted a position at Microsoft and started the job. Within a week I got an offer from Facebook. The pay at Facebook is far better. What should I do?

Nick’s Reply

This is not a bad problem to have. Congratulations on getting two offers, even if this seems to put you in a quandary.

A common concern in a situation like this is about leaving a new job so quickly. Don’t worry too much about it. Sometimes employers make a new hire walk the plank early or even before they start the job — it’s a business decision. We discussed a related issue last week in Should I keep interviewing after I accepted a job offer? and we’ve considered the problem of employers rescinding job offers.

But I’ll caution you not to worry so much about the money. Your long-term career success and income are more likely to hinge on the people you work with and on other factors including product quality and the company’s prospects. (See It’s the people, Stupid.)

Microsoft vs. Facebook: The people

I’m not privy to Facebook’s or Microsoft’s hiring practices, so I can’t advise you on how either company might react if you follow my suggestions. But before you accept Facebook’s offer, ask for some additional meetings with three classes of its employees:

  • People on the team you’d be a part of.
  • People upstream from your work flow. For example, if you will work in software development, ask to meet with the appropriate product design team. These are the people who will hand off projects to you. Are they good at their work?
  • People downstream from your work flow. For example, quality assurance people who will review and test what you build. Their skills and practices will impact you a lot.

Assessing these three groups will help you see how successful you are likely to be, because all of them will directly affect the quality and success of your own work. Of course, the company’s sales, finance and other departments will affect you, too. Decide which operations you want to know more about before you throw your lot in with any company.

Due diligence

If Facebook balks at letting you have these meetings, why would you want to work there? You’re about to invest your life. They should be glad you’re willing to invest an extra day’s time to meet your future co-workers and to see how they operate!

Of course, you should have done this before accepting the job at Microsoft, too. Maybe you ought to quickly spend some time with those three groups at Microsoft, too, before you decide what to do. It’ll give you something to compare to your findings at Facebook.

This kind of investigation prior to accepting a job offer is called due diligence. There are all kinds of due diligence. There’s a section about this in Fearless Job Hunting, Book 8: Play Hardball With Employers, — “Due Diligence: Don’t take a job without it,” pp. 23-25.

Decision factors

Money, people, and many other factors should play a role in this decision. I won’t argue you shouldn’t move for more money, as long as other important factors are to your satisfaction. While I think loyalty is a good thing, don’t let anyone tell you that you “owe” an employer two years on the job you just accepted before you move on to a better opportunity. There is little meaningful difference between leaving a job after two years or two days if the reasons are compelling. “Juggling job offers” (pp. 15-17) may also be helpful, in Fearless Job Hunting, Book 9: Be The Master of Job Offers.

I’ve offered a few factors to consider before making your decision, but there are many more. I’d like to ask our community to suggest what else you might consider and what you might do to help ensure you make the best choice.

How would you decide whether to make a move like this? Would you jump from one employer to another after just a few days? Is there anything wrong with that? What factors should this reader consider before making the leap?

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  1. I find Facebook’s privacy policies and poor treatment of their users to be a disqualifying factor for them. They are not an ethical company.

    I’m not a big fan of Microsoft either, but they’re better than Facebook, stay there.

    • Even with lower pay, I would take Microsoft over Facebook – they have been around longer, and their products are more of a general nature even getting in to hardware. Facebook is “software as a service” and basically offers one product – a web site. Microsoft offers operating systems, application software, as well as software as a service.

      That said, whose culture do you like better? Which company will be more likely to hang on to you as you age? My money is on Microsoft.

      If you don’t like your job, just remember that employers could and would let you go without notice and without explanation. Still, be professional when you leave. You do not have to tell them why. Just say you are leaving.

  2. Facebook is on the skids, and it’s not where the younger generation is hanging out. Ergo, the long-term prospects are questionable.

  3. Regardless of the employers involved, this is a moral dilemma. I’m certainly no fan of ghosting, and leaving an employer in less than 30 days is a close second. Employees want to be treated as individuals and special but then reveal themselves as a commodity by frequent job changes for better pay. If someone finds themselves in a toxic situation at a new job or deceit was at play, that’s an entirely different issue, but it happens.

    If this person was my candidate, colleague, or family member, I’d encourage them to flip the script and ask themselves which employer could they GIVE more to. Rather than think who will pay me more salary, think about where you can make the largest CONTRIBUTION. Which needs what you bring more. Which has more low hanging fruit that’s in your wheelhouse. If you want hire pay, then GIVE more of yourself than you TAKE. Ask yourself if you’d hire someone you knew left an employer after a week or two because they received a hire offer? Would that change your opinion of them? What’s the long term implications of your decision on your reputation in the your field?

    Like Nick says, this should have been done prior to accepting. And if you switch for more money, you are barred from posting comments about “People don’t leave jobs, they leave bosses” or any other passive aggressive “Employee Engagement” feel-good-isms.

    • @Brandon: While I think many employers take the wrong kind of advantage of people who “give more,” I had a boss once who told his employees who asked for raises, “If you want more, do more.” The compensation plan was already set up to deliver on that. I agree with him — but the deal must be structured to share the wealth.

      This view is reflected in the tag line I’ve used on Ask The Headhunter since the beginning. “Do the job to win the job.” In other words, walk into a job interview and demonstrate hands-down how you’ll do the job in a way that drops profit to the employer’s bottom line. Then expect the employer to pay you accordingly.

      This cuts both ways!

  4. You don’t owe Microsoft anything except 2 weeks notice.

  5. Totally agree with Nick. Until employers behave professionally, which is not the current trend, turnabout is fair play.

    @Nick: Thx for return of notification option :).

    • The question for Nick’s correspondent is not about employers in general but about Microsoft in particular: if Microsoft behaved professionally in his or her case that behavior may be a factor in the decision.

  6. Neither of the mentioned companies are any more ‘evil’ than each other or Apple/Google Chevrolet/Ford, Macy’s/Gimbels, they want to make money and that is a good ting because that pays the bills keeps the economy going, how they do it is a personal question. Nick is correct, but hindsight is always 20/20. The issue is one of personal fit with YOUR goals. Not mentioned is each job description, do you have a family and the impact on them i.e., will you need to relocate, kids in school, have you given notice at your existing employer.

    It will come down to your instinct/gut feeling of who you want to work for. Great place to be, good luck.

  7. You have to figure out what is best for you. My daughter was interviewing for Facebook (she knew a lot of people there), and was impressed at how well they treated people. This is different than Facebook’s cavalier attitude towards their users, aka their product. Her decision was to stay where she was (Bain Consulting) because of the people, who are really good at Bain.

    I have no idea whether FB or MS would be better for the OP. I don’t think jumping jobs so quick nowadays is a demerit, although it certainly was back in the day.

  8. I get the impression that this is a younger person who doesn’t have family factors to worry about. Advice: you haven’t been at Microsoft long enough to make any kind of impression. If you are going to leave, do it quickly–but not before you do your due diligence (as Nick puts it) on both companies, figure in the short term and long term factors, trust your gut, and make a decision. If you do decide to leave Microsoft, offer them two weeks notice and leave professionally with a one line written notice–making sure anything personal is home first. Say this didn’t work for you and don’t say where you are going (follow Nick’s advice there too). (Even better if you have to move out of area–people in the tech field have short memories, but not sticking around is even better.)

    As Lucille said above, you owe Microsoft two weeks notice, unless they frog-march you out first!

    • Oh yes, make sure the Facebook offer is not one of those ‘exploding’ ones.

  9. If money is the predominant thing in your life, Facebook is the way to go.
    If, on the other hand, you want to grow and learn a great deal about a great many different things, it’s Microsoft all the way baby.
    Microsoft does extensive research is hardware and software and business practices and more. Microsoft designs, and manufactures hardware of all kinds and software of all kinds.
    Microsoft has a wealth of knowledge, experience and fun to offer and Facebook, well, hm…
    Seriously, I worked at DEC many years ago, and had numerous business dealings with a number of Microsoft departments over the years and today, the grass is greenest on their side of the fence.

    • If you live in the Bay Area, just having enough money to live and rent an apartment is a major concern! He or she may be on the lower end of the pay scale.

    • @Richard: Great points about Microsoft. My purpose wasn’t “which is the better company?” But now that folks are on that topic, what I’ll say is that I could never work for a company whose UI (user interface) is intentionally lousy, has never been improved, and is designed (?) to waste users’ time. Every time I log onto FB, I feel like I’m dumpster diving.

  10. Yeah, I’ve heard that most of California is too expensive for a lot of people to live and work. I cannot see how anyone in the Service Industry survives there.
    Just yesterday, I read about a teacher with cancer that is on long term disability. According to state law, after 10 days, her salary get’s garnisheed by the state and used to pay her replacement. What kind of a crazy messed up place the USA is.

  11. They’re both populated by the same kind of people…as are others in the IT business that compete with them for resources. And you’ll see movement between them, that is people who’ve left M-soft to work for Facebook and vs versa

    One group to add to those Nick recommended are the company switchers. Here’s where a network could help, and lacking that, a use for LinkedIn and ironically F-book (Hmmm maybe I should spell that out). If you can find some people who’ve made the switch… who will talk with you, ask if they’ll share, why they moved from one to the other, and their comparative take.

    You don’t owe Microsoft anything…but as one person noted..if you make the move do it now before someone gets dependent on your work.

    But I think you owe yourself something…time enough to really get a sense of the job, the boss, the company and you’re ability to add value. Stick around at least long enough to learn that..and what you learn may be you like where you are.

    This isn’t high risk…as if you are perceived by Facebook as having value, you’ll have value later. But you’d be better equipped to assess it yourself with some real M-Soft experience reinforced by time to research Facebook.