Reader Writes: So I just landed a dream job at Apple, but there is a catch, the contract is only for 3 months! I would really want to work at Apple full time, but the hiring manager told me that it’s a way to see if we want to continue our working relationship. In addition, the company said they need my role (I will keep my role vague to respect their privacy) for the launch of a new product line..so I don’t know if they will need me after the project. Any ideas on how to maximize my chances of an extension? – Alice
First off congratulations on landing a job at Apple. That is a heck of a company to work for whether you are a salaried employee or full time! When looking for an extension, in your situation it isn’t that straightforward.
In the case where they are ‘feeling you out’ and there isn’t necessarily a project at hand, my advice would be on day 1, figuring out what their expectations are of you, and what constitutes below average performance, adequate and then outstanding. Ideally, you want to aim for ‘outstanding performance’, but there is a subtle trick here. Most employees who start never ask, unless they are in a sales role where questions such as ‘what do you expect of me’ are more common. If you know what they want, you can aim for it.
Now, they might be completely vague like ‘showing up every day and giving your best’. In that case you can follow up with, what areas do you find the most stressful and how could I help? The goal is to get something black and white expectation on the table where you can tangibly approach and showcase your extraordinary ability [or ability good enough to land Apple]. This 90 period is pretty critical as Psychology Today pointed out that 33% of employees quit within the first 90 days of employment due to either the role not being what they thought it would be, managerial relationship, and company culture. Having that tough conversation of what they expect of you can really help start the relationship on the right path and also help on this 90 day period.
Second, you should find out ‘what kind of performance warrants an extension.’ Again, you want something tangible and not a pie in the sky response. When I was a software engineer, I had this same conversation with my boss and they were very vague about what they wanted. It took a bit of prying, but they eventually gave me something tangible that I could work with.
In your case, since this is project focused, I would meet with the hiring manager and explain your situation. There is a good chance that another team in the same company that could use your skill set. If you execute on their expectations, they will continue to be impressed with your performance.
At the two month mark, you can have a conversation with the hiring manager of other teams that can possibly use your skill set. You can also leverage in that conversation what their expectations were of you and how you were able to exceed them. On a positive note, at other companies like Google, you enter a hiring pool where teams can pick from the employees available. Hence, employees can often find themselves on other teams if their skills are up to the mark.
And in all worst case scenarios where they don’t renew your contract, you can get a glowing review from the hiring manager because you knew what they wanted, and you were able to execute on it.
Let me know how it goes and congratulations again!
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Jeff Butler Internationally respected speaker and consultant, Jeff Butler helps bridge generational gaps between Millennials and companies looking for their talent and patronage. Butler has quickly built his reputation as a memorable presenter with tangible solutions for attracting, retaining, and engaging Millennials as employees and customers. Within just the past three years, he has spoken at two TEDx events and multiple Fortune 500 companies such as Google, Amazon, and LinkedIn.