Bummer! This is just a preview. You need to be signed in with a Pro account to view the entire video.
Start at the Top: Getting Your First Design Job in Tech34:09 with Allison House
When you have no work experience under your belt, how do you show employers you’d still be a great design hire? I’ll discuss my experience hiring and getting hired at tech startups like Dropbox, Codecademy, and Treehouse. I’ll also identify the characteristics that signal to employers you have an explosive trajectory—and make it easy for them to say, “Yes!”
Okay, so. 0:03 This past June, I was sitting at home one night in the dark. 0:04 And it was very quiet. 0:09 And there was this one magnificent sound. 0:10 There were two laptops sitting next to me. 0:13 One was a dusty old MacBook Air. 0:16 And the other one was a borrowed MacBook Pro. 0:19 And they were worrying away, they were churning away. 0:22 And it was the sound of the last few pieces of a project I'd 0:26 been working on for weeks, non-stop, finally coming together. 0:29 It wasn't an app, it wasn't a landing page. 0:35 It wasn't a mobile website. 0:39 Or a consumer web product. 0:41 I had directed an animated, a music video. 0:44 It wasn't, wasn't an opportunity that I expected to come my way and 0:48 it wasn't just any music video, it was for 0:52 a band called Tweedy and Tweedy is the legendary Jeff Tweedy. 0:55 And his son, Spencer Tweedy, who is also the drummer. 1:01 When I started the project, I had a few serious constraints. 1:06 First of all, I had very little experience with 3D. 1:11 I had been learning it for about a month. 1:15 So I was more or less a newcomer to the medium. 1:18 I also had no experience editing video [LAUGH] so 1:21 I had to understand cinema, cinematography. 1:26 I had to learn how to set up shots, how to choose the right camera angle, 1:29 how to choose the right lenses. 1:32 And how to build a cohesive narrative in that context. 1:35 And just to emphasize how much of a nube I really was, 1:39 I also didn't own any video editing software, 1:43 in fact I keep the whole thing together in a trial of Adobe Premier. 1:46 But wait, there was one more thing, I had to do the whole thing in three weeks 1:53 in a way I shouldn't have accepted the project but 1:59 I was so enthusiastic about the opportunity. 2:02 I was so grateful for the opportunity and 2:05 I saw it as a chance to set a baseline for my future work in 3D. 2:07 It was a chance to start at the top. 2:13 So, last year I wrote a blog post about the gap. 2:17 The gap is a space between having technical skills, knowing what you're 2:21 capable of, and successfully proving that to someone in order to get a killer job. 2:25 You gotta take a running start at the gap if you wanna get to the other side. 2:31 Most of us end up stumbling around a little bit and kinda falling down the gap. 2:37 In fact this happened to me right out of school. 2:42 I didn't think, at the time, that I could apply to top tier technology companies. 2:45 I assumed that the bottom rung was a natural start to a career, but 2:49 here is the thing, hanging out in the bottom rung really slows you down. 2:54 You do not get the support, experience and 3:00 mentorship that you need to keep on growing. 3:03 The people around you don't value your work and 3:06 you aren't building up your portfolio and setting yourself up for success. 3:09 So I'd like to share a few emails I received from 3:15 people who felt like they were on the bottom rung. 3:18 This is one is from a friend in Florida. 3:20 He said, they say if you're the smartest person in the room, 3:23 you're in the wrong room. 3:27 I think I might be in the wrong room. 3:28 I've been working very hard on and off for 3:32 five years to move my company in a direction I'm not sure it will ever go. 3:35 Wow. 3:41 Here's another one. 3:44 This is from one of my newsletter subscribers. 3:44 Day by day at this current job, I'm getting discouraged by everyone's 3:49 misunderstanding of design and how design is operated within the company structure 3:53 and how my roles and responsibilities are defined and perceived by everyone else. 3:58 As the lone designer, I can do very little to change it. 4:04 This is a really common theme, hopelessness, feeling stuck. 4:08 And this is another from a subscriber in San Francisco. 4:11 I have a design job, and I have work experience, so far so good, but 4:15 what has happened in the past 18 months is that my portfolio is now lacking. 4:20 I'm plenty busy at work but 4:27 the work I'm doing isn't what I'd want to be doing in a potential new position. 4:28 I want to love my work, hopefully at an amazing place where I 4:33 can be inspired by what I'm working on and continue to learn. 4:37 Sounds pretty reasonable to me. 4:41 But the longer we hang in there and put in our time, the longer our growth stalls. 4:44 Totally fine to be junior. 4:50 Everybody starts out junior. 4:52 But if you can prove to the right people that you're destined for 4:53 greatness, you can get there a heck of a lot sooner. 4:56 So this isn't just about getting a job, 5:01 this is about getting a job that will set you up for continued progress and growth. 5:02 It's about finding the habits and 5:08 behaviors that make you successful every single time. 5:09 That is what I mean by starting at the top. 5:13 So when I joined the Dropbox design team, 5:17 we were pretty small, just four people in total. 5:19 On the left there is Morgan Knutsen, 5:23 one of the most talented designers I've ever worked with. 5:24 He is the one who brought me on board. 5:27 There's also Eway and Joshua Jenkins. 5:30 These are some of the best designers I've ever had the opportunity to work with. 5:33 Truly exceptional talents. 5:36 Right around the time I came on board, 5:40 we began the rigorous process of building out a world class design team. 5:42 The team grew, like, a lot. 5:48 Here we're at about double the size from when I first started, and 5:51 by the end of the time there, my time there, we had tripled in number. 5:55 There were a lot of heavy hitters on that team. 6:00 People from Facebook or Google or Spotify. 6:03 These real technology giants. 6:06 Now even as an experienced designer, 6:09 it can be tough to imagine approaching a team at that level. 6:12 But the truth is, we interviewed a lot of very inexperienced designers. 6:17 Straight out of college, 6:22 even straight out of high school, and we even hired some of them. 6:23 And what set them apart? 6:28 Here it is, momentum. 6:32 They were improving and 6:34 producing and growing really, really quickly on their own. 6:35 It's pretty much the running start that you need to take in 6:39 order to clear the gap. 6:42 That's momentum. 6:43 And you see this arrow here, that's a pretty normal trajectory. 6:44 This is a slight upturn, we're moving forward but 6:48 maybe we're moving forward somewhat slowly. 6:51 In order to get exceptional opportunities, we need to prove we 6:55 have an explosive trajectory, something that looks a little more like this. 6:59 And it's a compounding effect, every time we get an exceptional opportunity and 7:05 knock it out of the park, our trajectory reaches for the stars. 7:10 So I'm gonna talk about three categories of behavior that help 7:15 us build that momentum. 7:19 We're gonna talk about producing. 7:21 We have to build our portfolio to prove we can hack it. 7:23 We're gonna talk about connecting, being memorable, 7:28 surrounding ourselves with the right people. 7:31 And the ability to perform, whether that's in an interview, or 7:34 another form of career challenge. 7:38 So let's start with production. 7:42 When I was working at Dropbox, one of my managers had been an early designer at 7:46 Facebook, and he had a big hand in hiring lots of really good designers there. 7:49 In fact, I knew a few of them personally. 7:54 And they ended up working on really high impact stuff like the news feed or 7:57 Facebook messenger. 8:01 I also knew that they had been hired straight out of school. 8:03 Facebook rolled the dice on those kids, and the result was explosive value for 8:08 them, so I had to ask my manager, how did you know? 8:13 How did you know that these people were worth taking a risk on, 8:16 and would be really exceptional designers? 8:19 And he started off by saying just one word, prolificness. 8:22 He explained that the quantity of work that 8:27 they produced far exceeded that of their peers in school. 8:29 I think prolificness is one of the strongest indicators of potential. 8:35 When we demonstrate the consistent and frequent practice of design. 8:38 It suggest a fast growing skill-set that will continue to rapidly improve. 8:43 So I think there are few keys to being prolific, quantity, speed and focus. 8:50 We will take them one at a time. 8:54 Let's talk quantity. 8:57 At the beginning of this summer, 8:59 I was in a state of dissatisfaction with my ability to express myself creatively. 9:02 It wasn't so much the ability part as the expression parts. 9:08 I had left Dropbox, I was on my own. 9:13 I had sort of opened up my own shop. 9:15 And still my work felt sterile. 9:17 Something was a little bit off. 9:20 So I started watching the new season of master chef. 9:23 And every time Gordon Ramsay would ask a contestant, is this you on a plate, 9:27 I would sort of project my shame, I would say, you're right, 9:32 Gordon, it's not me on a plate. 9:36 I also, I play this game Kentucky Route Zero, it's an Indie game. 9:38 And I kind of did my head in and True Detective came out around that time and 9:42 it sort of blew my mind, it freaking destroyed me. 9:47 I couldn't get my head around that level of narrative command. 9:50 And that's what I was missing, you know, it was the atmosphere and 9:54 the character and the story. 9:59 The stuff that made my imagination go wild. 10:01 So here is an example of quantity. 10:05 We are, it's scrolling, we're scrolling through the artwork I've produced so 10:08 far this year. 10:12 This doesn't include anything from my main gig, which is product and web stuff. 10:13 It's mostly 3D illustration and GIF art. 10:18 By the time Tweedie came a knocking in June I had way more than 10:21 a portfolios worth of work. 10:24 In fact, I made my first ever GIF back in April. 10:26 It was something so simple but 10:30 something inside me started to stir and I started to, to produce a lot. 10:31 Now quantity doesn't mean a whole lot without speed. 10:39 The time between making my first animation and making that music video was one month. 10:43 A lot of people noticed that I was producing really fast. 10:50 You see that question at the bottom, how did you learn so fast? 10:54 I love the little Xs on the eyes. 10:57 This one came from Tumblr and 10:59 I've got to say I was asked this in about a million different ways. 11:00 So good thing I got an answer for you. 11:04 I have a high level design strategy, wouldn't you know it, 11:07 that I tend to apply to just about everything, whether I'm learning a new 11:10 skill, producing a lot of work, or building a product, 11:14 structuring my approach helps me move really, really quickly. 11:18 So let's break it on down. 11:22 Step One. 11:24 Go wide. 11:25 This is all about getting a lay of the land. 11:26 If I'm trying to build a product, 11:29 I need to understand the problem to arrive at a good solution. 11:31 If I'm trying to learn something, 11:35 I need an overview to understand the possibilities. 11:37 If I'm speed painting I need to rough out the subject before I 11:41 can start painting in the details. 11:44 Now as it so happens I love speed painting so let's use that as an example. 11:47 This is the beginning of a portrait of Lee Pace, he's an actor. 11:52 So I'm going wide here just sort of roughing out the foundation, 11:55 seeing where the face goes and getting started. 11:59 This is about where I stopped filling in details. 12:03 It's a little bit ghostly, perhaps, but 12:06 that's where I land, and then I need to prioritize. 12:08 The purpose of getting the lay of the land is so 12:14 that you can prioritize what to do next. 12:16 Anytime you want to move fast, 12:19 prioritization has to be part of your process, there's no way around it. 12:21 You work on the high impact stuff and then you get to the other stuff later. 12:26 So what's important here? 12:31 Well, we should probably start by giving this poor man a face. 12:33 Get rid of all this ghostly situation over here. 12:36 And the hair is also gonna help a lot but not as much as the face. 12:39 That's what makes it human. 12:43 That's what makes it recognizable. 12:44 It's the highest impact part of a portrait. 12:46 So, we will say, face first, hair second and clothes third. 12:49 Clothes not a big deal, I can maybe block that in with a single color, I could cut 12:53 it out entirely, it wouldn't really make a huge difference in terms of the overall 12:57 impact and value we're getting out of these separate parts of the painting. 13:02 So our final step is going deep. 13:08 That just means getting it done. 13:10 We start knocking things out in order of priority. 13:11 So let's give Lee Pace a face, a little pace face. 13:15 Got a little stubble going. 13:18 That is necessary. 13:21 Good hair, check. 13:22 And since I was running out of time I just kind of cleaned up the background and 13:25 let it ride. 13:28 So there isn't much going on with the jacket but hey, that's okay. 13:30 The important stuff is done and Leo's looking fly. 13:33 So that's the process. 13:37 You go wide, prioritize, and then go deep and repeat as many times as necessary. 13:39 Here's the last piece. 13:46 Moment er, focus. 13:48 I have a technique I use called second shift. 13:51 It's basically my, my method for generating time and 13:54 motivation to make things. 13:58 So there are three key components. 14:00 One, my practice has to be chained on another activity that I do regularly. 14:03 So for example, I tend to work every weekday. 14:09 I do paid work on weekdays. 14:12 So I tend to chain my second shift at the end of that day. 14:14 It might end early, it might end late, but 14:17 no matter what, the end of the workday becomes my trigger for that practice time. 14:21 Two, I have to give my work, 14:25 myself work that's small enough that I don't dread it or procrastinate it. 14:30 These tend to be my issues when it comes to motivation. 14:34 So always have a goal for the session that's like totally achievable. 14:37 What I do, is I focus on completing bite sized assignments. 14:42 So here are a couple examples. 14:46 These are two second looping animations. 14:48 Each one of these really helped me deep dive on feature of Cinema 4D 14:52 which is a 3D application I was using or I have been learning. 14:55 On the left I'm exploring volumetric lighting that's that 15:00 foggy thick quality that you see in the light. 15:04 And on the right I am exploring noise on a plane. 15:07 Those are those waves that you see in the water like playing below. 15:10 So, number three, finally your work also has to be meaningful. 15:17 Something that you've infused with thought and purpose. 15:22 When you complete a byte sized assignment, you should gain more energy and 15:26 feel propelled forward to do even more. 15:30 That's the payoff. 15:34 So here's one more example, and 15:35 this one is a bit of a love letter to my old neighborhood in San Francisco. 15:37 Everyday I would get up and walk down the street to get coffee. 15:42 And I would pass a parking garage. 15:45 And I passed it so many times, that I started to see the beauty and 15:48 the symmetry and the repetition and the patterns that were on the garage. 15:52 So even though this was just for 15:57 practice, I was seeking to stylize something that had personal meaning. 15:58 This was a longer project. 16:03 It was a little more involved, cuz there's quite a bit of modeling and 16:05 some lighting trickery going on. 16:07 But the emotional element is what propelled me forward. 16:09 So here's a recap on production. 16:14 One, produce a lot of work. 16:17 Two, have a strategy for moving fast. 16:21 And three, find a predictable way to focus and get it done. 16:25 Okay. 16:32 So let's talk about connecting. 16:33 Let's talk about people. 16:35 After I did that music video, I wrote up a big blog post about it. 16:37 You can check it at allison.house. 16:40 That is my URL. 16:43 And it was all about the, 16:45 you know, the process of the Tweedy video, an acquaintance wrote in to ask me, 16:46 how did you get hooked up with Tweedy in the first place? 16:50 And it was a good question, because it did not come completely out of the blue. 16:54 Spencer Tweedy and 16:58 I had been connected through the design community for a few years. 16:59 And when I thought about it, 17:04 similarly at Dropbox, I was brought on board by a friend. 17:05 We had been connected through the design community for a few years. 17:11 And I kept thinking about it and at Treehouse, how did I get there? 17:15 Well wouldn't you know it, I was encouraged by a couple friends that I 17:19 knew through the design community for a couple of years. 17:22 Hm. 17:26 So this happened to me again and again. 17:28 These sort of amazing opportunities came by way of 17:29 friendships that had been established long ago. 17:33 So I can't say I have a particular strategy around this stuff, but 17:37 I do want to share a few thoughts. 17:41 I do think it keeps coming back to habits and behaviors. 17:43 Now, there are millions and millions of people in our industry, and 17:47 somewhere in that mix of strange and wonderful people are your people, 17:51 the people you will relate to, the ones that will make you laugh, 17:56 those that share your interests and your passions. 18:00 People who will introduce you to even more people and, of course, 18:03 people who will give you amazing opportunities. 18:06 Your people are in this room right now and you haven't even met them yet. 18:11 Heck, maybe I am your people. 18:16 [LAUGH]. 18:18 Now, Jim Rohn famously said, we are the average of the five people we 18:20 spend the most time with, and he makes an awful good point. 18:24 We should strive to surround ourselves with individuals we can learn from and 18:29 grow toward. 18:33 People who make us better. 18:35 If you wanna be more skillful, befriend somebody who's more skillful, if you want 18:38 to be more successful, well you ought to find some people who are more successful. 18:43 Find the people who are creative and curious and motivated and 18:48 doing things that really interest you, and invest in those friendships. 18:53 So let's say we found our people. 18:58 How do we connect with them? 19:00 How do we nurture those relationships? 19:01 I'd like to share a few personal practices. 19:04 Looking back, I think these are things that really worked for me. 19:07 The first practice is saying thanks. 19:11 And this seems a little obvious, I know. 19:13 But sometimes when we get busy or stressed out, we get really internally focused. 19:16 And when we are in that state, it is very easy to forget to give those around us 19:23 the recognition and the props that they deserve. 19:26 My mother is actually very, very good about this, she has a fantastic and 19:30 massive thank you card collection, that is a habit that I picked up from her. 19:34 For example, this card that I wrote to Morgan Knutsen several years ago. 19:40 This was before either one of us were working at Dropbox, 19:45 this was back when he was at Google. 19:48 He was a designer there and 19:50 he gave some friends and me a tour of the Google campus. 19:51 I had a ton of fun, I was very, very grateful, so I 19:55 wanted to put that in a form that matched my gratitude and I came up with this. 19:58 I drew a little picture of him. 20:04 [LAUGH]. 20:05 There was nothing tactical about this. 20:06 I think this is too cheesy to be tactical. 20:08 But I, you know, I never thought that we would be working together. 20:10 So it's hard to imagine this pattern of behavior didn't contribute to 20:14 the positive impression that eventually led him to bring me on board at Dropbox. 20:18 Another big one for me is elevating others. 20:25 When I run into someone who is always hyping their friends, or 20:29 doling out enthusiastic complements, working to connect other people, 20:32 I want to work with that person. 20:37 I just want to be around that person. 20:39 I also tend to remember those, who have repeatedly supported me. 20:42 So I think there's a recognition. 20:46 And a reputation that tends to build around that behavior. 20:48 So one way this practice has been effective for me is on Tumblr. 20:53 I started this year with about 600 followers. 20:57 And when I started getting into 3D I wanted to be around people who 21:00 were doing 3D, I kind of wanted to be in that community. 21:03 So GIF art, 3-D art, these were things that I was very interested in, but 21:07 not particularly competent at. 21:11 So even as my skills improved, I faced that sort of 21:13 classic dilemma where I was getting good, but nobody was really looking. 21:18 I was kinda stuck at 600 followers. 21:23 And every time I shared a new piece, it, it felt like a flop. 21:25 I tried not to worry about it too much and focused on creating great stuff, but 21:29 also supporting other members of the community, promoting other people's work, 21:33 trying to connect with them on that thing that we had in common. 21:37 And eventually, I made some very interesting friends. 21:40 And some of those friends were kind enough to promote my work. 21:46 Four months later through a combination of being a good community member and 21:50 being, doing good work I have over 5,000 followers on Tumblr. 21:54 Not bad right? 21:58 And I know among those people there are even more smart and 21:59 creative and art loving people to get to know. 22:03 So, here's the last one. 22:09 Going above and beyond when somebody asks you for help. 22:11 It makes a lasting impression, it makes you memorable and 22:15 it contributes to a good reputation. 22:18 I thinks it's also just it's good vibes for our community, you know, 22:20 I, people tend to mirror that behavior and want to pay it forward. 22:25 So I'm gonna give an example of somebody who went above and beyond for me recently. 22:29 A couple weeks ago, I was building a custom 404 page, and 22:35 I had this sort of hare-brained idea for where it's going to be a prompt and 22:39 somebody's sort of typing at you through the screen. 22:42 And I found a jQuery plugin I thought would really suit my purpose. 22:44 But I ran into some trouble with it right away, so I ended up tweeting 22:49 the maintainers, this is, I am tweeting it mad here, asking him for some help. 22:52 I try to be good about it and show him some code and show him an actual, 22:57 actual picture of what was happening and it was a Saturday night so 23:00 I didn't expect to hear back from him anytime soon, but I did. 23:04 He responded to me right away. 23:07 And said that he would get on it. 23:10 By Sunday night, it was totally fixed, this guy is awesome. 23:14 I was so thrilled, so impressed, I mean it meant a lot to me to be able to 23:18 move forward with my weekend art project, right? 23:21 That's above and beyond. 23:24 And I was happy, so what do I do when I'm happy? 23:25 I tweet about it. 23:29 [LAUGH]. 23:30 A I told the world, you know, I Tweeted about his plug in. 23:31 I talked about how great he was and incidentally, I have 10,000 follows. 23:33 So, that was a pretty good signal boost for him. 23:37 Nobody is being tactical. 23:40 Nobody has an angle. 23:41 It's just two people being really generous with each other. 23:42 So, I ended up finishing the 404 page, this is it. 23:46 [LAUGH] So we can watch it for a second, but this is all HTML and CSS. 23:50 Aside from Matt's plugin. 23:55 [BLANK_AUDIO] 23:56 [LAUGH]. 24:06 >> Heh. [LAUGH]. 24:07 >> So I ended up finishing the 404 page. 24:10 And it ended up going viral and I couldn't have done this without Matt's help. 24:13 So now I'm happy to promote his work. 24:18 I'm promoting it here at this conference. 24:20 And next year maybe if I'm on an incredible project and 24:22 we need a developer, guess who's at the top of my mental Rolodex? 24:25 So it's two people in the community just being generous with each other. 24:30 But now the door is open for so much more. 24:35 So here's the recap on connecting. 24:39 One, find your people and invest in them. 24:42 Two, surround yourself with people who elevate you and 24:47 three, elevate others by showing support and gratitude. 24:51 Here's the last set of behaviors I want to talk about. 24:59 Let's say you've produced a tremendous amount of work, 25:03 you find yourself connected with an opportunity and now you have an interview. 25:06 Woo, how do you knock it out of the park? 25:10 So let's start with effort. 25:14 Effort's important, when it comes to any challenge it's worth quite a bit. 25:16 So I'll give you the secret to knocking anything out of the park, it's so 25:21 simple and it's so stupid, but 97% of people fail to do this one thing. 25:25 On the left we have the amount of effort people will expect. 25:32 On the right, we have the amount of effort you should apply. 25:38 Are you ready for this? 25:41 The big secret. 25:44 [LAUGH] Ta da. 25:45 Yes, you should apply more effort than anybody expects. 25:49 So, when we do this, one of two things happens. 25:54 A, people recognize you put in a lot of effort. 25:57 They assume you went above and 26:01 beyond the requirements and they'll make a judgement from there. 26:02 But B, this is the type of response we really want. 26:06 They don't recognize that you put in additional effort necessarily, but you 26:11 went so far beyond what is reasonable that your abilities become a black box to them. 26:15 It seems magical. 26:22 In the context of getting hired this is a really valuable position to be in, 26:24 literally, because it translates to a better offer. 26:29 It's very hard to put a price on magic. 26:33 So one example I can offer is my application to 26:37 Karsonified from a few years ago. 26:40 This is the company that eventually spawned Tree House. 26:42 Rather than sending in a cover letter and 26:46 a resume to apply for the job, I went all out. 26:49 I hosted a one-page website explaining why I was the perfect fit for 26:52 the job on every conceivable level. 26:56 And it worked. 26:59 I was invited to interview. 27:00 So, the expectation was my resume and cover letter and 27:02 the application was a personalized, one-page website. 27:06 But that wasn't it. 27:10 They also gave me a design challenge as part of the interview process. 27:12 They were thinking of rebranding one of the products. 27:17 In fact, this is early Treehouse, and ask me to mockup a new homepage. 27:19 Their expectation was a rebranded homepage. 27:24 What I gave them was a complete redesign. 27:28 I rewrote all the copy. 27:31 I made a screen cast explaining all of my design decisions just to 27:33 really go overboard. 27:37 [LAUGH] And guess what? 27:38 I got the job. 27:41 It was worth all of that effort. 27:42 It completely changed my trajectory. 27:43 I don't think I would be standing here right now had it not been for 27:45 all that effort I put in back then. 27:48 But the funny thing is, I almost didn't apply. 27:51 I assumed I wasn't good enough. 27:56 I rationalized that it wasn't worth even trying, but now I kinda recognize that for 27:59 what it is. 28:03 I thought I wasn't worth it. 28:05 Had my friends not encouraged me at the last minute, 28:08 I would have let that career-changing opportunity sail on by. 28:10 Now, in order for us to blow expectations out of the water we have to 28:17 have a really good understanding of them. 28:21 We have to know those expectations. 28:22 And much like design we have to sort of understand the problem and 28:24 the constraints before we can come up with a really good solution. 28:27 So, I'm gonna cover a couple ways we can figure out an employer's expectations. 28:31 Asking and research. 28:35 Now, beginners often have this habit of assuming that the universe is orderly, and 28:38 logical, and 28:43 they'll be given all the information they need to succeed right up front. 28:44 Unfortunately, it never happens [LAUGH] this way. 28:48 Everyone is operating on their own set of assumptions. 28:51 So there's always gonna be a ba, a gap between what you assume and 28:54 what they assume, and it's your responsibility to fill in that gap. 28:58 So let me give you an example. 29:04 When I was scheduled for an interview at Dropbox, 29:06 I was given a list of events that I could expect for my interview day. 29:09 The first thing that was listed was a portfolio presentation. 29:14 I'd never done a presentation like that but 29:18 I think I could've hacked something together based on the description. 29:21 But since I wanted to exceed expectations, I started asking a whole lotta questions. 29:24 And wouldn't you know it I got a whole lot of answers. 29:30 Here's what I found out. 29:32 I'd need to prepare a full hour of material. 29:35 Okay, that's really good to know, that means I need to start prepping for 29:38 this thing now and not later, right. 29:40 It'd be in a 12 person meeting room so when I'm rehearsing that's good to 29:44 know too cuz I need to practice projecting and not sort of do this in the mirror. 29:48 And I'd be on a high-gamma projector. 29:53 Yep, that's also good to know. 29:56 It means I need to make my slides really high contrast, so people way in 29:58 the back of this 12-person meeting room can see what I'm talking about. 30:01 Very good information, but here's, here's the big one. 30:05 One more thing. 30:08 The founder is going to be there. 30:10 The founder is going to be sitting on, in on the presentation. 30:11 That's really freaking good to know. 30:14 Because his impression of me could make or break the entire interview day. 30:17 So that's way more information than I originally had, right? 30:21 I was able to come very prepared and knock it out of the park. 30:26 So ask a lot of what and who questions. 30:32 What are you looking for in an ideal candidate? 30:35 What should I expect in this interview? 30:38 Who will I be meeting with? 30:40 You know, don't tell people you're gonna look them up, but you gotta look them up. 30:41 Figure out what positions those people hold, figure out what they value. 30:45 And figure out what they expect from you. 30:49 Here's another simple question that you can ask. 30:53 How should I prepare for this? 30:55 Whenever a candidate has asked me this, 30:58 I always end up giving out really good advice. 31:00 It forces me to imagine the best candidates I've ever interviewed and 31:03 unpack the high points of their performance. 31:07 In addition to asking questions you should also do a little bit of research and 31:12 there's many possible avenues for this. 31:15 You can check out their press, you can look at the company website but 31:18 I would also recommend checking out Glassdoor. 31:21 This is glassdoor.com. 31:24 This is a really valuable research tool when you're preparing for an interview. 31:27 If you're not familiar with this website it collects work experiences, 31:32 interview experiences and salary information. 31:36 That's a big one, about specific companies. 31:40 It's a great way to find out if you're being made a fair offer, and 31:43 to get a feel for the interview process before you even arrive. 31:47 You can also Google up the people that you're interviewing with, 31:52 just to get some background. 31:55 You don't have to get weird with it, 31:56 but get an idea of who they are and where they're coming from. 31:58 There may even be a common interest that you can bring up. 32:02 I found out the founder of Personified was a really big Star Wars fan and 32:05 it turns out I am a really big Star Wars fan, so 32:09 when I applied, I put in this funny little Easter egg. 32:11 Lastly, you got to practice. 32:15 One of the most difficult parts of an interview is turning up 32:18 answers on the spot, this is difficult for everybody. 32:21 It's a lot of pressure, but you're being evaluated on that performance. 32:24 Employers can only see who you have the capacity to become if you 32:28 speak precisely and passionately about your intent. 32:32 It's too risky not to rehearse. 32:37 So, ask what to expect and come outrageously prepared. 32:39 Put more effort into nailing it than anyone would reasonably expect. 32:43 When you're just starting out, that's the only way to make it look easy. 32:47 So let's recap. 32:52 We talked about one, 32:54 putting in more effort than anyone would reasonably expect. 32:56 Two, understanding the expectations so we can blow them out of the water. 33:00 And three, the power of relentless practice. 33:05 So there we go. 33:10 That's our running start. 33:11 That's how we build momentum and skip the bottom rung. 33:13 The things we need in our careers will keep on changing, but I believe that 33:17 these methods will help us keep flinging ourselves in the right direction. 33:19 But there's one last thing I wanna talk about, and that's why. 33:26 Why do we expose ourselves to the possibility of critique, or of failure? 33:30 I think it's very easy for us to dissuade ourselves from taking risks. 33:35 But those risks are what make it a triumph to succeed. 33:42 We cant let fear or 33:46 complacency stop us from doing the things that will make us great. 33:47 So I'll leave you with a reminder. 33:52 You are smart, you are talented. 33:56 And you deserve good things. 34:00 So go get them. 34:03 Thank you. 34:04 [SOUND] 34:09
You need to sign up for Treehouse in order to download course files.Sign up