At Next Jump, we think of ourselves as a family. We don’t just work together—we grow together, learn together, eat together, and celebrate together. When we look for new hires, we aren’t just reviewing resumes and picking the best looking one; we’re adding a new member to our family. Accordingly, Next Jump needs a unique way to hire. We need to not only screen candidates for competency, but screen them for culture fit.
Super Saturday is Next Jump’s way of expanding our family. In preparation, we review thousands of resumes and perform hundreds of candidate screenings, eventually narrowing the candidate funnel down to an elite group. These potential Next Jumpers are flown to the host office for a full day of skills tests, practical exercises, and interviews. We go beyond the standard screening, however, and allow candidates the chance to connect with Next Jumpers on a more casual level and get to know Next Jump itself. Meals are eaten in small groups, and candidates are treated to presentations from top Next Jumpers and our CEO. The ever-popular Career Fair gives candidates a chance to talk one-on-one with representatives from a handful of Next Jump pods. The Team Challenge allows candidates the opportunity to work together in small groups, then present to and receive feedback from groups of Next Jump evaluators.
When I was first offered the role of Super Saturday’s Captain, I was hesitant at best. I did not come through a Super Saturday as a candidate, and I hadn’t even experienced a full Super Saturday since I started less than a year ago. Not only that, but the event was just about two weeks away, and we hadn’t chosen a host office yet. Never one to back down from a challenge, I accepted. This kicked off two of the most challenging yet rewarding weeks I’ve experienced at Next Jump.
I’ll be the first to admit that I struggle with delegating and have the tendency to let myself get overwhelmed by the minutiae. From catering and candidate travel to ordering pencils and moving computers, Super Saturday is a logistical challenge like none other. It became immediately apparent that my personal challenge would be releasing control and learning to trust my colleagues to get the job done in time, even when it seemed impossible. Next, we decided to host the event in our Boston office. I work out of our headquarters in New York City, so now I was not only Captaining an unfamiliar event, but doing so remotely.
Thanks to an absolutely phenomenal group of team leads in Boston (and a multitude of conference calls) the first Super Saturday of 2013 went smoothly. We’ve already had one of our Super Saturday successes, Sarah, start in the Boston office, and we have a handful of interns for the summer. There’s still room for growth, of course. We need to iterate on our Team Challenge, and candidates let us know our communication was spotty. As with all Next Jump events, we carefully compiled feedback from Next Jumpers and candidates alike, all of which will be used to inform the next Captain’s judgment calls.
On a personal level, I do wish I’d been more fearless—replacing team leads rather than worry about feelings, asserting myself in big decisions, and moving forward even when I was lacking information (or knew what information I had was liable to change). All in all, however, I’m proud of how I carried myself through this experience. This is the first time I’ve been responsible for an undertaking of this magnitude, and I’ve never led a group this large before. After the initial panic of “I don’t even know where to begin,” I managed to step back, take a deep breath, and hit the ground running.