Work worth doing: What makes a job amazing?

Hint: Its nothing to do with your office.

Keeping the quality of the jobs available via Hire my Friend high is our number one priority.

We built the very first prototype version of Hire my Friend for our own friends, and because we care about our friends and how they spend their time, we only wanted to refer them to jobs that we'd want to do ourselves.  

Today, Hire my Friend can be used by anyone to get and receive help from their friends in finding a new role - and we're still totally passionate about ensuring that the roles available are genuinely amazing jobs. 

This obviously means that we often get asked by companies is 'what's an amazing job? What are the criteria you use to decide if we can use the service?'

The truth is that there isn’t a formula. We discuss and review each company manually as they apply. But as we grow, we realised that we need to come up with some better definitions so that people don’t waste their time applying to join the service only to get rejected.

After discussing it as a team, we realised that what makes an amazing job is largely qualitative. Its certainly not as simple as saying ‘less than 500 people in the company’ or ‘pays more than X’. 

We also realised that its hard to create a truly general description of all amazing jobs - an amazing job as a programmer is clearly going to be different from an amazing job as a submarine salvage operator. 

Nonetheless, when we did discuss it, we came up with some pretty useful broad distinctions. I’ve written them below. If you disagree, agree or have something to add, I’d love to hear from you on twitter - I’m @choosenick - and of course if you have jobs like this, we’d love to hear from you at Hire my Friend.

So, here’s our list of five characteristics of an amazing job.

#1. The company offering the job is solving a really useful problem for its customers, and they agree

This really is our number one consideration. In our experience, the best companies are doing something that matters, and they have customers who agree. Perks and benefits are important, and can make the work more enjoyable, but if the work itself isn't doing something really useful there's no point doing it.

#2. The day to day work involved in the job is closely connected to the useful problem the company is solving

Provided the company is solving a useful problem, the next most important consideration is how much impact the job has on the solution. This naturally biases us towards smaller companies where the work of individuals can have a more immediate impact. 

#3. The people running the company are closely connected to the work, to their team and to their customers

Again, this biases us towards smaller companies, but in our experience the best jobs have short communication channels between managers and 'everyone else'. This means that decisions are generally made more quickly, and to a higher standard. 

#4. The job creates lots of potential for the person doing it to grow and develop as a professional, and an individual

The best jobs are clearly defined but have lots of space for smart people to grow and develop. It helps a lot of the company is growing fast, as it should be if its doing something useful, but opportunities for learning should be everywhere, all the time. When you are learning, a job doesn't feel like work. It feels like living.

#5. Doing a good job is well rewarded

Finally, we think amazing jobs are well rewarded, in a rounded way. This means they are well paid, the hours are appropriate, extra curricular activities are encouraged and supported, they provide benefits in the event of Bad Things happening, and they have appropriate ways, through equity, bonuses or other means to invest you in the success of the company.

As an addendum, there are some things we don't care about, and we don't think have very much to do with whether a job is amazing or not.

  • You have a ping pong table / masseuse / bar / fruit bowl in your office
  • You have an office
  • You got loads of funding from someone
  • Previously you or your team made loads of money doing something else

Does this fit what you think is an amazing job? Did we miss something? Let us know what you think on twitter on @hiremyfriend or via my personal account @choosenick. Thanks for reading.