I might join a Big Tech company later on in my career, and I know that choosing the right company has huge financial consequences due to the large RSU compensation.
How can one set themselves up for success here and pick a company with a good financial outlook? What metrics should I look at and is there some sort of website to help with this?
This is a very important question, and it's definitely tricky. If it were easy, we would all be millionaires haha. Some thoughts from me:
There are 2 broad approaches here:
I usually just do #2 -- it's simpler, faster, and I'd argue leads to a better outcome for your career. Tactically, just figure out people you respect + you think are smart, and use that as a proxy for the financial outcome of the company.
To @Rahul's point you may be able to crowdsource this by looking at Blind posts; a simple approach would be searching to find people considering leaving a company and people considering joining a company. Specifically in the realm of considering the financial aspect of career decisions, I expect that people who are posting on Blind are spending a disproportionate amount of time figuring out the best choices.
In a sense, you can't, at least not anywhere close to a reliable prediction.
Think about this: If you have the ability to reliably predict a large company's financial direction, wouldn't it be more efficient financially to just invest in the right companies? Why would you pick a single company and work for it?
Also think about this: If you are trying to do what all those "Wall St analysts" are doing as a full-time job, what gives you the confidence to do this occasionally and still do it better than them? If you believe they can do a better job, would it be straightforward to just purchase the analysis from the one you trust?
I would suggest using analysis from a source you trust as the base of your decision. Your advantage comes from on-the-ground knowledge that specialized financial analysts don't have. I would look at these things from my unique angle in the industry and inside the company:
It's okay to join a company, learn these things internally and fold your hand quickly because you are seeing red flags everywhere. Managing your downside is as important as seeking the upside.
I think it's definitely possible to identify bad companies based on what Rahul, Alex, and others have suggested in this post. However, once you have weeded out the bad ones, the rest is going to be hard. There are tons of good companies that don't succeed out there, and there is no one magic formula to tell which ones would.
Along with other heuristics mentioned, I would look out for: