/Will Larson

Closing Calls: Tell The Best Version Of The Truth tl;dr: Most hiring funnels miss a closing call and the end of the hiring process. This is 2 steps: (1) Ask for the candidates concerns. (2) Answer them by telling the best version of the truth. "The artistry of the closing call is finding the most compelling path between their starting concerns and accepting your offer. Infrequently... you’ll come to realize that the role really doesn’t give the candidate what they’re looking for. It’s far better to realize now than after they’ve joined."

featured in #251


Create Capacity Rather Than Capture It tl;dr: "It’s more effective to capture existing capacity than create new capacity" in a large company. The opposite is true in startup & growth companies. In large companies: "If you need more headcount, convince leadership to require every team to send a volunteer to work on your project. If you’re missing a leader, oblige one on a peer team to move to yours." Hiring is slow and restrictive.

featured in #247


Getting To Yes: Solving Engineering Manager Hiring Loops That Reject Every Candidate tl;dr: (1) Think about what you need engineering managers to do. (2) Refine those tasks into four or five key skills for the role. (3) Create an interview to evaluate each skill. (4) Create a rubric to score each of those interviews. (5) Train the interviewing team on the new rubric. (6) Remove interviewers from the loop if they refuse to use the rubric.

featured in #245


Pockets Of Rest Enable Careers tl;dr: Two pieces of advice if you feel burnt out: (1) Avoid making career decisions while in a bad mental place - take a two week vacation. (2) Great careers are not linear but often have a number of lulls. When you’re high energy, these lulls are opportunities to learn and accelerate your trajectory. When you are low energy, they are opportunities to rest.

featured in #240


Product Management In Infrastructure Eng tl;dr: Infrastructure teams have 2 modes of operation: (1) A foundation mode where tasks are mandatory e.g. compliance, security, scaling a popular product. (2) Innovation mode where teams have the flexibility in prioritizing and solving problems - teams have less experience here so Will guides us through the process of problem discovery, prioritization and validation.

featured in #237


Weak And Strong Team Concepts tl;dr: A strong team concept is where "ownership, work, and accountability are generally assigned to teams." In a weak team, work is assigned to individuals and is driven through "interpersonal connections rather than process." Will reflects on both, and how our environment is geared towards strong teams.

featured in #219


Managing Staff-plus Engineers tl;dr: Will's tips on managing staff-plus engineers include: (1) sponsor and support more than direct.(2) Help redefine what success. A staff engineer’s "flywheel of feedback" is less immediate and that should be managed accordingly. (3) Give frequent feedback and explain why.

featured in #217


Does The Title Even Matter? tl;dr: Title gives a sense of seniority amongst peers, a seat at the table of higher engineering discussions, a bump in compensation at larger companies and potential access to interesting work. Pursuing title alone can be counter-productive, and "focusing on developing your approach and skills will be far more impactful."

featured in #215


Managing Technical Quality In A Codebase tl;dr: Will runs us through his "toolkit" to maintain technical quality, including prioritizing leverage points, establishing a technical quality team, and more. Underlying any approach is the philosophy to "start with something small, and iterate on it until it works."

featured in #214


Being Visible tl;dr: "One of the most effective ways to get luckier is to be more visible within your organization." Will outlines ways to create internal and external visibility for yourself.

featured in #207