The Seven Deadly Sins for New Employees

New employees blog - Title photoCongratulations! You got yourself a great job with an awesome company! Now all you need to do is to avoid losing your job.

If this is your first job, you may not be prepared for some of the hurdles awaiting you. In fact, getting the job may turn out to be only half as hard as keeping your job. Of course you should celebrate successfully navigating your interviews and negotiations. When you’re done, however, please allow us to flag a few pitfalls that new employees all too often stumble into.

First, the basics:

You're hired!

While getting hired is exciting, you’ll need to keep your head. Your first few weeks on the job set the stage for your time at your new company. The last thing you want to do is make mistakes that leave a bad taste in your manager’s mouth.

This holds true even if you’re starting as an intern. Did you know over half of all interns get converted into full-time hires? This is good news if you’re one of the recent graduates with intern experience under their belt. While an internship may be no guarantee of a job, it is a step along the right path. And that’s a path we want to keep you on.

Job hunting is ghastly, exhausting, and depressing, so listen to us. Navigate your 90-day probation period like a ninja. Stay on your best behavior while those first impressions solidify and avoid committing any of the following 7 Deadly Sins for new employees.

1. Speechlessness

Businessman ignores coworker

Whether your boss says so or not, we’re betting your job description tacitly includes communicating with your colleagues. Today’s work frequently requires individuals and teams to keep each other in the loop. The tasks you’re responsible for depend upon the work of other people and vice versa.

When you have a question, ask it. When you have a concern, share it. If you make progress or a sale, make sure that information reaches those who would benefit from knowing.

Doing this shouldn’t be too formal or you risk coming off as socially-inept. Instead, keep conversation flowing by grabbing a coffee with your new workmates. If your office doesn’t already use an instant messaging service such as Slack or Google Hangouts, see if they’d be game to start. The more you all work together, the better the camaraderie and the easier it is to share in team successes.

Remaining speechless is a sin, and one that could get you fired.

2. Immobility

New employee being proactive

Given that you’re a new employee, managers won’t expect you to know precisely how things work. However, it doesn’t mean you should wait for people to tell you what to do. Managers love employees who show initiative.

That means asking for assignments instead of waiting for them. That means coming up with your own ideas for improving processes and making progress—and then running those ideas past your employer.

Try creating a schedule of tasks to complete each week. Then go the extra mile by adding to it. Consider pulling in something that’s not due until the following week, or taking the weight off an over-burdened colleague.

The other option is just sitting back and just doing what you’re told. Problem is, what you’re told might be to pack up your desk. That’s the price of immobility.

3. Murkiness

Employee speaks with manager

Just as you need to keep your colleagues informed, you need to make certain your manager knows how and what you’re doing. Keeping up this communication is your job, not theirs.

You might be doing wonderfully, or you might be barely muddling through. In either case, if your manager isn’t clued in, they aren’t in a position to respond appropriately. Talking regularly with your supervisor will help you improve as an employee. It will give you a leg up on understanding the company’s larger-scale goals and expectations. It will also help head off any looming issues that might put you out of a job.

Regular weekly meetings with your manager are an ideal method of avoiding any murkiness. However, we understand that they aren’t always feasible. As a result, you should do what you can to keep your supervisor appraised of your progress and any challenges you’re encountering. If he or she does have time to meet with you, make sure you’re ready to make the most of the meeting. 

4. Denial

Businessman making a mistake

Let’s face it: you screwed up.

If you’re wondering how we know, it’s because everybody screws up. Don’t try to hide it. Failing to own up to your mistakes doesn’t make you seem like the perfect employee—it makes you seem like you’re living in denial and can’t be trusted.

So what do you do when you make a blunder? The first rule is: never cover it up. As soon as you can, own up to the mistake and offer suggestions of what you might do to ameliorate any damage caused. If you can fix it yourself, excellent. If you can’t, remember to be grateful for the assistance your managers and colleagues provide you in cleaning up your mess. This is your chance to learn how to avoid making the same mistake in the future.

Remember: it’s not making mistakes that gets new employees canned. It’s the denial.

5. Awkwardness

New employees office party

New employees who fit in well don’t often get the sack.

As a newcomer, you’re bound to have a few days of awkwardness. That’s okay, just don’t let it stretch on too long. You might need a few days or a week to learn who’s who. You might even be new in town and struggle to find the best places to eat lunch.

Take a deep breath and don’t get overwhelmed. Settling in takes time and effort, and it’s important.

The solution isn’t complex. Be open to any office social events that come your way. You should also go out to lunch with those who invite you. If there’s a group gathering, don’t skip it, particularly during your first few months. You want people to get used to having you around. The alternative is a situation in which no one’s going to miss you, even if your work has been good.

Take the time to get to know your workmates. Ask for advice about the area and start conversations with your colleagues. Being one of the gang isn’t always easy (or instantaneous), but it’s much safer than being awkward.

6. Stagnation

Engineer Learning New Skills

Chances are you were hired for your experience doing something particular or for knowing something specialized. That’s good. Now try something new.

Flexibility is one important indicator of your potential for job success. This is true particularly in startup environments in which growth is rapid and change is frequent. If all you can offer is what you were hired to do, you may quickly find your existing set of skills outdated.

You should regularly pursue new skills to avoid being left behind. There are many ways to do this and many of them are painless. One path is to keep abreast of the direction your company is going in. Use that information to research and learn skills that you suspect will prove valuable. You can try using sites like Lynda.com or finding local adult education courses.

A few hours a week doing this can make a huge difference in your career. New employees who don’t learn end up stagnating, and they’ll eventually be the ones left behind.

7. Overconfidence

New guy asking for help

One common mistake new employees make is assuming that they’re doing everything right. Younger employees may also mistakenly assume that the quality of work they’re producing is as good as expected. We recommend a little humility as the cure for this.

Ask your colleagues or manager for help. Whether you’ve hit a rough patch or just want to make sure you’re up to snuff, proactively asking for criticism and assistance shows that you care. It gives your team a chance to nudge you towards your most productive path. More importantly, it also avoids a situation in which everything blows up in your face and your boss is left wondering why you didn’t ask for help earlier.

Everyone will expect new employees to face a learning curve. As a result, you shouldn’t try to race up it on your own. Rather, ask for help early on and be grateful to get it. The tips and tricks your teammates share with you will not only help you get over the hump, they’ll be evidence that you’re committed and worth having around.

Conclusion

Starting a new job is exciting, daunting, and—we hope—lucrative. We’d like to do all we can to make sure you hang on to all you’ve gained.

Avoiding these 7 Deadly Sins is an excellent first step. Sure, there are other pitfalls that are particular to certain industries. However, once you’re aware of these common mistakes, you’ll survive your probation period with little trouble. 

We hope that this piece will help you make it big! If you’re planning to work from home, feel free to read our 8 Simple Guidelines for Working from Home. If your employer’s going to send you on your first business trip, check out our guide to surviving business trips.

We’re also looking for awesome people to join our team. If you’re looking for a great career, check out our page on The Muse for open positions and employee interviews!

Leadership Spotlight Series: Wayne Chan & The HomeSuite Engineering Team

homesuite engineering team

The Leadership Spotlight Series was created to help interested applicants get a better understanding of internal operations here at HomeSuite. Each installment puts one department leader in the spotlight to understand their vision for HomeSuite, a day in the life on their team, and what specific goals and problems each leader hopes to accomplish.

For our first installment, we sat down with Wayne Chan, the VP of Engineering at HomeSuite, to talk about the HomeSuite engineering team. As is true with most startups and companies nowadays, engineering is one of the most essential parts of a successful business. Engineers are the problem solvers who take big ideas and turn them into functional websites, apps, and products. Given the huge demand for talented engineers throughout the Bay Area, we thought it would be great resource for our future candidates and hires to hear what Wayne and his team are building here at HomeSuite.

Background and the Road to HomeSuite

Wayne worked at a variety of companies before starting at HomeSuite, but he’s perhaps most well known as the co-founder of Kabam, where he is credited with creating Kingdoms of Camelot.

Wayne acknowledged he was always interested in working at startups, and after leaving Kabam, he knew he wanted to join startups to solve real issues. “Personally, I have always made it a priority to try and work at startups which are addressing big problems that need solving. In fact, every startup that I have joined has been tackling a problem that I have personally faced and so they were very real to me.”

Pressed on the driving motivations behind his interest in startups, Wayne pointed to a few specific issues, “I like the smaller environment startups offer. It really makes it easier to get to know your co-workers, which can be very hard in large companies.

Our mission is to solve all of the problems people are facing when renting an apartment. Wayne is here to help us turn a frustrating process into a pleasant one.

We’re on our mission for two reasons. For tenants, we want to make leasing an apartment as easy as booking a hotel. For landlords, we want to make managing properties and tenants seamless and transparent.

When I asked Wayne what encouraged him to join HomeSuite, he pointed to many of the same core values, “HomeSuite is a company that has found a great product and market fit. I can relate to the problem we are trying to solve as I have personally experienced how difficult it is trying to find a place to rent. When I was renovating my house, I experienced how arduous and manual the process of finding a rental was, and when I found out about HomeSuite, I saw they were addressing those same issues.”

What We Are Building at HomeSuite

Wayne shared what some of the projects and technologies were that drove his decision to join HomeSuite, “HomeSuite has grown a lot through manual processes, and now the focus is about taking existing processes and building them to scale. Naturally, the next step is to build a team of high quality folks who can help to make that happen.”

When it comes to our mission, Wayne acknowledges how Engineering plays a key role in making that possible, “It’s really an ongoing process. If you think about it now, the leasing process is very manual. We have to keep chipping away at the current structure and thought processes to change it. There is always room for improvement, but sometimes people get too complacent and comfortable with the current state. We can provide a better experience for tenants by making it easier to deliver the right properties people are actually searching for and a better experience for landlords by giving them powerful tools they demand to help manage properties.”

Wayne’s team is currently working on a few projects over the coming weeks that will have a huge impact for our consumers. “We noticed that we can address two key areas for tenants. Firstly, by building the search function to help tenants discover the right property. We have great inventory but we want to make it easier for tenants to find the right place. The second issue is when they do find the right property, helping them to better understand what it is they are leasing. This ties into what we are doing to help our landlords and partners, in helping them to optimize their listings. A landlord who has the tools to effectively present and manage their properties is going to feel more comfortable on-boarding tenants through HomeSuite.”

The HomeSuite Engineering Team

To accomplish and to make sure this all gets done, Wayne says the team has some core values that it is built on, “We have a real focus on three engineering principles, deliverability, reliability, and business vision.”

  • Deliverability: “It’s not about how hard you are working, but can you deliver on your promises?”
  • Reliability: “With everything that you deploy, can we count on you and your code?”
  • Business Vision: “Is what I am doing good for the business and helping us reach our end goal?”

To make sure the team stays on schedule and are effectively communicating, the team uses a variety of methods. From having an open channel on Slack, to daily standups, all of these help to make sure the team keeps making progress. For Wayne, there’s more one thing that is unique to HomeSuite, “We have an open environment here, so everyone is very approachable, and that is reflected not just in the engineering team but across the office. This makes it very transparent as to what others are working on, in addition to making it much easier to communicate.”

As HomeSuite continues to grow, so does our engineering team, and Wayne wants candidates to understand more about the team culture he is building, “I am looking for folks who are able to come up with an idea and take ownership of it. I’m not looking for people who want to be told what to do, but for those who want to work as a team and drive solutions for the business. I think it’s also important for members of our team to understand the partnership between engineering and product. When it comes down to it, we are two sides of the same coin, so it’s important that we are able to work with them to drive deliverables that are good for the company.”

“HomeSuite has an exciting 6 months ahead of it and I’m excited to be apart of that growth. We are working on some key things that are really going to improve the way we operate internally and help it easier for both our tenants and landlords.”

Career Spotlight Series: Sales Development Representative

career spotlight series on the life as a sales development representative

The Career Spotlight Series was created to help interested applicants get a better understanding of internal operations here at HomeSuite, and each installment focuses on a specific role in the company. In the first installment, I talked to Ross, an in-house recruiter, to create an overview of our company culture and hiring expectations. For the second installment of our Career Spotlight Series, I sat down with Anthony Perez, a sales development representative, to give prospective applicants a view into a day in the life of an SDR here at HomeSuite.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Anthony graduated from UCSB in 2015. Thanks to a previous internship program, College Works, coupled with a passion for real estate and architecture, Anthony was no stranger to real estate and B2C sales.

“HomeSuite fit my criteria,” explained Anthony, “I like leadership roles, and HomeSuite was looking for that.”

Life on the Front Lines.

Take me through a day in the life of an SDR. What can a new hire expect?

“As a sales development representative, we are on the front lines. We are near the top of the sales funnel smiling and dialing. We are responsible for qualifying all inbound leads. Our leads are tenants who are looking to book a place. It’s our responsibility to qualify each and every lead. We’re responsible for determining every prospective tenant’s budget, preferred property size, location, dates, and party size, and then we have to make sure we can match the specific needs of the tenant. When a lead is qualified, it’s passed off as a warm lead to a territory manager, who then moves the lead deeper into the funnel.”

“Since we are working on the top of the sales funnel, we get to educate leads. Surprisingly, I’ve also had the opportunity to talk to a number of famous athletes and not even realized it until the sale closed later!”

“One of the most important things about doing well in this position is taking initiative and control of your learning. This is not a hand-holding environment but an environment where it’s important to be accountable for your own development. This job is perfect for someone who can thrive in a fast-paced environment, wants to learn, asks a lot of questions, and wants to be apart of something we are all creating.”

‘A lot of dialing and smiling.’

Anthony, what’s it like working at HomeSuite from your perspective?

“Everyday is a lot of fun. Honestly, I never get bored because there is always so much going on. Every week is something new and every day is different.”

“What I really like about working here is that it’s a very comfortable, friendly, and social environment. They take care of you here, too. For example, I’ve had a lot of car trouble recently so I needed to work remotely while waiting for my car to be fixed. Having the team be willing to accommodate my needs shows that HomeSuite really takes care of its employees.”

“Since we are on the front lines and the first point of contact with our leads, we’re always looking for ways to innovate and to make our sales funnel more efficient. Being a sales development representative at HomeSuite means you have a lot of opportunity to be creative, suggest solutions, and see your input shape the company. Josh, my manager, is very open to collaboration and values my opinions.”

‘This isn’t a typical 9-5’

Getting gritty, who isn’t fit for this position?

“To someone who needs formal training, I’m sorry to say this isn’t a training ground. In fact, I took initiative and responsibility for our in-house SDR toolbox and built it myself.”

“To someone who wants predictability, again you should look elsewhere. If you aren’t comfortable grinding, speaking on the phone, and committing to being an SDR, this isn’t the place for you.”

“HomeSuite is fast-paced. Very fast-paced. It’s also a lot of responsibility – we expect you to take initiative with your objectives and you need to take responsibility for your mistakes. We need someone who is open and clear with good communication skills. You need to have a positive mindset and thick skin. Sales is very difficult and it isn’t for the faint of heart.”

Our Mission & Who We Are.

Our mission is to bring the entire rental marketplace online. Too many companies build platforms focusing on discovery. Unfortunately, so few address anything beyond the first search. While working at HomeSuite, you’ll be apart of the solution helping people find fully-furnished, short term rentals while guiding tenants through the entire rental process, from the first inquiry to move-out day. In the process, we will simultaneously remove the pain points within the rental vertical and help tenants and landlords enjoy navigating the real estate industry.

Originally founded in Palo Alto in 2015, CEO and co-founder David Adams built HomeSuite to combat the principles plaguing the rental process: it was too difficult to find high-quality, vetted listings without worrying which listing might be a scam and which listing might actually work out. All of our property listings are authentic and all of our tenants are qualified lessees. We work with both tenants and landlords,and we focus our efforts evenly. From discovery through booking, a HomeSuite employee is there with you every step of the way. We currently operate in multiple markets, including the San Francisco Bay Area, New York, Los Angeles, Orange County, Washington D.C., Chicago, Seattle, and Boston.

Career Spotlight Series: Working at HomeSuite

working at homesuite

Welcome to HomeSuite.

Our mission is to bring the entire rental marketplace online while simultaneously removing the pain points within the rental vertical. Too many companies build platforms focusing on discovering rentals, while so few address anything beyond the first or second search. While working at HomeSuite, you’ll be apart of the solution helping people find fully-furnished, short term rentals while guiding tenants through the entire rental process, from the first inquiry to move-out day.

What we do.

We love housing, and we want everyone to enjoy our passion, too. We work with both tenants and landlords together and we focus our efforts evenly: from discovery through booking, a person is there every step of the way. All of our property listings are authentic and all of our tenants are qualified lessees. We currently operate in multiple markets, including the San Francisco Bay Area, New York, Los Angeles, Orange County, Washington D.C., Chicago, Seattle, and Boston.

Our roots.

Originally based in Palo Alto, HomeSuite was launched in 2015 by current CEO and co-founder David Adams. We quickly outgrew our Silicon Valley cage and eventually moved to our current home in San Francisco. David founded HomeSuite to combat the principles which plague the rental process: It was too difficult to find high-quality, vetted listings without worrying which listing might be a scam and which listing might actually work out.

Every department works in sync flawlessly.

Working at HomeSuite is about operating at high-speed with a higher attention to detail. We work fast yet efficiently to make sure both tenants and landlords have the best experience possible. Our funnel operates at a high speed as inquiries pour in and leads are closed. At the same time, leases are drafted, payments collected, and welcome packages distributed. Our company champions interdepartmental communication and transparency, and we wouldn’t be where we are today without an all-star roster.

Introducing Ross, a recruiting specialist here at HomeSuite.

“I have to say I couldn’t have arrived better equipped if I tried. Over my first month at HomeSuite, I’ve seen an energy and passion that is unparalleled in any of my prior experiences. It’s a fact that’s apparent from the minute you step in the door of the office.

“The sales and supply teams seem to buzz throughout the open workspace constantly looping each other into calls with prospective landlords and tenants. My first days as part of the recruiting team, which has sprung from within the heart of the sales floor, were filled with tasks that challenged every bit of the can-do attitude I brought with me. My manager tasked me to come in and make a difference from the get-go. So personally I had only one option, to make that impact.

“That is in essence the foundation which HomeSuite’s culture is built on – an idea that change can be made to a fragmented system with good ideas and people with a passion to make a difference.

“If you’re looking at HomeSuite from afar and seeing just another Bay Area startup, be prepared to have that vision broken. HomeSuite is full of people fueled with a personal passion to change the short-term rental marketplace and willing to put in the extra effort to make that happen.

“So please don’t call us a startup – an endless sea of quixotic ventures are right around the block,” says Ross.

Let’s reinvent housing together.

HomeSuite is here to reinvent the renting process, and by joining our team, you’ll be a part of history. If you’re looking for a challenge, come join us. We are always looking for high-speed candidates who champion flawless attention to detail under pressure. If you have a thirsting desire to repair a noisy and chaotic vertical, come join HomeSuite!

Working at HomeSuite is equally challenging and rewarding, and we are always looking for highly motivated individuals who are ready to tackle a career-changing endeavor.