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First 90 days at a job

  • Ask Kelvin

Forma wishlist * RRSP matching, a bigger expense budget * Work from home stipend


An exec who wants to save money (they get a huge bonus at the cost of the company)

They have arbitrary rules

  • Eg: sales shouldn’t be more than 10% of the first year’s return
  • I refuse to pay my sales people more than $XXX a year
  • They believe in high base, low compensation
  • Drive desired sales behaviour
  • Focus on the specific customers
  • Focus on generating revenue, not saving money
  • Understandable and transparent
    1. Easily tracked by everyone involved
    2. How to make it straightforward
  • Attract/retain high performers

Manager Questions

  • How do I make you look good for your boss? (John Mourra)
    • How are you evaluated?
  • How can I help make your job easier?
  • How do you prefer to communicate?
    • Weekly progress updates on Friday mornings
    • TLDR (bottom line)
    • Do you prefer having all the details
  • What do you like most about working here?
  • What are the team’s biggest priorities going forward?
  • Top Priority project I’ll be working on
  • What other projects are important?
  • Deadlines/meetings/projects I should be aware of?
    • Second quarter is ending soon
  • Typical Day?
  • Focus for the 1st week?
  • How is success measured?
    • 5 things
      • Needs improvement
      • Satisfactory
      • Exceeds
      • Project/team level
      • Individual level
  • Top concerns
  • Easy to use integrations with transactional context
  • Routines I should know about how the team works together?
  • Best ways to learn more about the Business Automation

Challenging situations that I should be aware of

  • Who is the internal expert on ___Topic X?
  • Advice for me as someone new to IBM?
  • Key relationships for getting things done in this role?
    • QA, DevOps
  • If I suggest a change
    • Eg: using prettier for automatic code formatting
    • Are there processes for showing business value
    • quantitatively
    • Eg: saved developer time
    • Faster
  • Anything about the overall culture?
  • Was there someone who was in my role who did things well?
  • Is there anything I should know about my predecessor and how they approached things?


  • Can you share more about your background?
  • What did you enjoy most about working on ______
  • What do you like most about working at IBM
  • What do you like to do outside work?
  • Favourite coffee places?

Process/approaches that work really well on this team?

Teammate Questions

  • What projects are you working on right now?
  • What’s the culture like here?
  • What’s the coolest thing you’ve worked on?
  • What’s the biggest priority in your role?
  • What're the most important things to know about how things get done around here?
  • Tips for me to get up to speed quickly?
  • Any tips on how my manager likes to work?
  • Expectations
    • What’s your role like?
    • How will we be working together?
    • How do you prefer to communicate?
      • DM/slack or a tap on the shoulder
    • Key priorities for my team/role?

HR Questions

  • Working From Home (a bit later)
  • Getting here earlier and leaving earlier on Thursdays

Relationship Mapping

  • People critical to your success
  • Decision makers
  • Gatekeepers
  • Internal experts


Group Dynamics

Key Business Priorities

History of what works

Ins & outs of how things get done

Best Conference rooms, how to book them

Notes on people

info & subtext & attitude conveyed

What they do, how your roles interact, what you can learn from them, how they operate?

Boss: big picture? (few details)

one key detail for each person

  • Quirk to remember their names
  • Eg: Julia => earings => jewel ia

end of day: write questions

Job Description details

Deep dive into company products

Glassdoor review

Project plans

Team Bios

user guides for proprietary software

Who should I introduce myself to right away?

Personal SWOT

Weaknesses: specific to new role

Threats: budget cuts, reorganization,

Relationship Mapping

Stakeholders: a/one who will affect/be affected by me

What will you miss most about your last position?

What will you have to learn to do better for the new role?

What brought you to IBM?

  • Learning

What else have you worked on

Spare time

Day 1

  • Achievable goals for Day 1
    • Identified specific people I need to meet with

Last update: 2023-04-24