extra invested in that new hire doing
well once he or she joined the team?
Even a minimal investment will have
a psychological impact on your potential coworkers. If they meet you or
interview you, they will have already
invested some amount of time in you
and will be more inclined to want to
see that investment rewarded.
˲ You will not be “brand new” on
your first day. As humans, we are
naturally resistant to change and to
new people whom we know nothing
about. If you show up on your first
day having met no one yet, you are
a stranger; your coworkers are more
likely to see you as an “outsider” taking up space. Even a short meeting in
advance will prime them to see you as
familiar the next time you see them.
Plus, you will have some baseline
knowledge about the team that can
help you fit in more quickly, as opposed to starting to learn about the
team culture after you have joined.
Be Smart When You
Choose Your Next Role
When you are searching for the next
step in your career, don’t just think
about the surface-level benefits. Drill
down on your biggest goals and do a
little thinking about whether or not
each job will help you get closer to
The best careers are not defined
by titles or résumé bullet points. The
smarter you are about what you choose
next, the closer you will get to the
things you truly want from your life
and your work.
10 Ways to Be a Better Interviewer
A Generation Lost in the Bazaar
Kate Matsudaira ( katemats.com) is an experienced
technology leader. She has worked at Microsoft and
Amazon and successful startups before starting her own
company, Popforms, which was acquired by Safari Books.
Copyright © 2018 held by owner/author.
Publication rights licensed to ACM. $15.00
˲ What is this job setting me up for?
˲ What will I have gained from this
role in two years, and are those gains
valuable to me?
Pick People, Not Projects
Another easy trap to fall into when
picking your next job is to focus too
much on the projects you think you
will get to work on.
Of course, we all want to work on
things that are interesting and exciting or that could make us rich and
famous. The truth is projects get canceled all the time. They change and
become less exciting. The roles within
them change, and you could end up
doing legwork that is not actually very
interesting or exciting to you.
In college, I got a job working in
a lab. I was so happy because I was
envisioning myself working on exciting experiments and getting my work
published in major journals. While
those exciting projects did happen
in this lab, I never got to do them. I
ended up running the same experiment day after day, collecting the
same data over and over again. This
is often what research is—you need
to make sure any results are statistically significant, so you do the same
The projects the lab was working
on were exciting, but my life in the
lab was not.
It is so important to consider what
your day-to-day life will be like in a
role. What will you actually spend
your time doing? Will it add value
to your career? What will you get the
chance to learn?
Remember, when you are new to a
team, you have no career capital built
up with this organization. Career capital is your currency at work; when you
provide a lot of concrete, visible value
to the team or the organization, you
have more leverage to do the things
you want, such as work on the most exciting projects or get more flexibility in
When you are new, you have not
earned this leverage. That means if
you are assigned to a boring role on
an exciting project, you pretty much
just have to do it. Sometimes that
can be OK (maybe you actually want-
ed to learn this boring skill because
it will help you get a job you want in
the future), but if it’s not, then you
are just stuck.
For example, I have a friend who really wanted to work on machine learning, so he joined a team doing that type
of work. For the 18 months he didn’t
get to do anything related to machine
learning, and instead was stuck writing deployment scripts and updates to
data loaders—work that was much less
interesting to him than the project he
was on previously.
Projects are never guaranteed, so
ensure you understand the specifics
and exactly what work you will get the
chance to do. Also, instead of thinking just about the work, I recommend
thinking also about whom you will be
Basing your decision on the people
you will be working with is one of the
best ways to pick a job. If you must
choose between an exciting project
or a great team, always go for the
Some 99% of my happiness in a job
has to do with who my manager and
coworkers are. I bet it is the same for
you. You spend so much time at work;
if you work full time, you probably
spend as much (or more) time with
your coworkers than you do with your
friends or family.
In some organizations, it is common to interview with the boss and at
least one other member of the team,
though this does not always happen.
You should always ask for the opportunity to meet more of the people you will
be working with.
This has a few benefits:
˲ You can meet with the people you
will work with every day. Not only will
you get a feel for what it will be like
working with them, you can also ask
them for insight into other aspects of
the role. Do they like working there?
How much turnover is there on the
team? How does collaboration work?
Does leadership listen to input on decisions? What are the things they would
want to change about the team/com-pany/culture? Why do they work there
vs. anywhere else?
˲ Your coworkers will feel invested
in your success if they are part of
the process of hiring you. Think
about it—if you met with a candidate you liked and fought for him
or her to be hired, wouldn’t you be