Should I Join A Company That Just Got Bought?

Disengage, now!

I’m kidding.

You may not want to place yourself into a natural world of confusion, where people are losing their jobs. It’s like asking me, should I ride out this Category three hurricane?

You might also find yourself in a LIFO (Last In, First Out) situation, where you have no seniority at all, and fifty other people ahead of you have a better chance at holding on than you do. The chances are very high that the acquiring company doesn’t even have your position on the impersonal Excel spreadsheet that lists all the jobs to be eliminated and the ones that will be saved.

But I can think of several reasons to hang in there, and lightly pursue the opening, or take the offer. These are all based on the innovative principles developed in my recent book, Acquired, Now What?

  • Customer Facing Role

  • Product Development Role

  • Sales or BD Role

I have experienced (endured?) six acquisitions in my two-decade career, and the one thing about an acquisition is that it definitely alters the status quo of a company. All bets are off, and the chips have new value. There’s even a new dealer at the table.

If I am buying a company, and you have been brought on to expand a sales territory, extend a product into new verticals or applications, or provide a greater value proposition in terms of your know-how and initiative, then you are the reason I am buying your new employer.

I had an experience last year where my employer was purchased by a private equity firm, and I had several 1099 contractors who were out in the wind during the acquisition announcement. They are now full-time employees because they each added intrinsic value to the value proposition.

But here’s where it gets tricky. Your hiring manager may be getting the boot. There may be an exact duplication of your job within the acquirer’s organization.

I would treat it like you are applying for the job all over, and making assessments base on the new ownership. You may have to sell yourself twice, but in the end it will be worth it. The acquired company may be going places that it never could have accomplished in its pre-acquisition status.

Approach with a high level of awareness and navigate carefully. Double-check every fact shared with you and over-communicate with the new bosses. There’s an outside chance you have lucked into a career-transforming arrangement.