Leaders-in-Training: Jimmy and Yutong’s experience captaining Super Saturday

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Twice a year, Next Jump holds a massive recruiting event called Super Saturday. From over a thousand candidates, we find the best and brightest based on technical prowess and culture fit. Through this process, we choose the top candidates to bring to our office for a full day of interviews and challenges.

All of this is made possible by Next Jumpers like Jimmy and Yutong, two junior engineers who captained Super Saturday this past October. They co-led the event, from coordinating the day’s activities to how candidates were going to get to New York.

Tony, another fellow Next Jumper, interviewed them about their experience and dove into how they were able to make an event like this happen successfully through effective coaching and team-oriented thinking.

Tony: How did it feel to run Super Saturday?

Jimmy: At the very beginning when we realized we were captaining Super Saturday, we were very nervous because it’s a very big, company wide event that involves multiple offices. Everyone is on-deck for this day and for us, two junior engineers to captain, it was a lot of stress. But we had a good setup from our coaches, Stephanie and Sagar, and from Abhay and Ramani, the captains of recruiting. We got a lot of help and they were able to help us identify a lot of the problems they had before early on. We were well prepared. Overall, it was actually a somewhat less stressful event compared with some other events we’ve captained because of the setup.

Yutong: The stress of captaining Super Saturday comes from a lot of different directions. First off, it is different from any other culture initiative we captained before because…it’s facing the outside word: the candidates and universities. The other thing is it doesn’t just involve a couple of Next Jumpers, it involves all the Next Jumpers in the US. It’s a big event and it’s very important. But as Jimmy said, I think the team setup and the coaching we got throughout the process really helped a lot.

Tony: Can you talk about your coaches and how they helped you overcome challenges – how did you build off other people’s work?

Jimmy: So for example, very early on, we had a meeting with our coaches, Sagar and Stephanie. They started asking us questions to check how well prepared we were in terms of the mindset. The next thing they asked was for us to get the org chart set up and help us identify some of the more difficult tasks, like hotel booking and travel logistics, which have been major pain points in the past. After, we started to come up with ideas, the names of those who would be a good fit for positions, and who will be our hands, the ones who help us run the event. Then our coaches gave us feedback on that.

Yutong: Instead of just being there ready for our questions, they actively asked us questions. They actively checked in with us to see if we needed help, and if they saw anything off or if anything can be better. They reached out to us and expressed their ideas and their opinions.

Jimmy: To add on to that, I think the coaching we got is different from a lot of the coaching we got captaining other events here. Like they didn’t make the assumption that we have everything under control or we know what to do, and they always challenged us to check if we actually have it all figured out. That’s very important.

Yutong: They also pushed us to try to start coaching people under us as well. That was an interesting part because instead of telling us what to do and how to do things, they were trying to coach us to think in our way and how we can do it our way instead of just doing it however they told us.

Tony: Can you talk about how your approach was different this time, in terms of what’s happened in the past versus what happened this Super Saturday?

Jimmy: In the past, we were both very hands on. So that relates to our backhand [personal impediment that Next Jumpers work on at work], in that we are compassionate people and don’t really like to ask other people for help, especially if it’s a lot of stress. A lot of times, we usually try to do the work ourselves, which means that we have a tendency to micromanage and be in the details. For this time, there are lots of parts where I didn’t know the exact details for how it was done, but rather who was in charge of it and what were the major checkpoints I need to be aware of to make sure the person who was in charge was on track.

Yutong: I think part of it is it’s impossible for us to be on every single detail for Super Saturday because it’s a big event. But if we compare how people captained Super Saturday before with how we captained Super Saturday this time, we as the captains were actually more hands-on than previous captains. This is actually a balance point for us. We were more in the details because we had more compassion. We like to check on our team more frequently and check what’s going on and what’s on their plate and try to help instead of just letting them get things done without asking.

Tony: What were some challenges you faced? Was there anything that was particularly hard and how did you work through it?

Yutong: One thing was very challenging captaining Super Saturday was that a lot of things happen simultaneously, and those can all be very important pieces, like travel logistics, the schedule of the day, and some other logistics stuff…Also, there are a lot of hidden things you would never know if no one tells you. For example, if no one tells you how important the CEO Quickfire [a lunchtime sit down with candidates and the co-CEOs] is, you have no idea how to set it up…There are a lot things happening in the background while Super Saturday’s going on.

Jimmy: Those are a lot of difficulties, but most of them went smoothly. I think the reason is that we had a big team and a lot of ownership from everyone. For example, say CEO Quickfire, we had some guidance from Darrel, from Chastity, from Peter. For the office setup, we had Jiaxin and they were really on top of everything.

Tony: I have one more question. What was a triumph you experienced or something that went really well that you’re proud of?

Jimmy: I will say for me it’s not just one thing, it’s the whole event. At the end of the day, a few candidates came up to me saying how much they appreciated the experience and how they learned a lot, not just about Next Jump but also about themselves. It makes me feel like what I have done, and what my team and my TP [Talking Partner] has done…it makes it very meaningful.

Yutong: But also, a part of it is the whole recruiting experience. It’s that every time I see that this Super Saturday is even just a little better than the previous Super Saturday, that makes me feel very proud.

Interested in learning more about Next Jump? Visit: http://www.nextjump.com/

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