Adam Grant of the Wharton School of Business recently wrote an interesting article published in the New York Times that considers the best way to position yourself for career success. 

Young people who are just starting out might wonder: Should I look for a job in a smaller company where I might have a better chance of standing out, or is it wiser to get my foot in the door of a bigger, more well-known and prestigious company? Which of these will best launch my career and prepare me for future greatness?

Grant talked to Kat Cole — who is now the president of Cinnabon — about her rise from waitressing at Hooters to a lead executive position. Honestly, I am not familiar enough with either business to know whether Cinnabon is more prestigious than Hooters, but obviously, the transition from waitstaff to president is a big one.

Cole worked hard at Hooters and was able to stand out and make herself known as a go-getter — and she did this while the business was growing. Also, because the Hooters brand was not exactly attracting the best and brightest job applicants, they chose to develop leaders from inside. Moreover, the competition for leadership positions when Cole was there was not too fierce.

In summary, using Cole as an example, Grant suggests that the best path to career success is to start with a company that is on its way to becoming prestigious so you can piggyback on that success.

Admittedly, it’s unlikely that you are reading the In Trust blog for career advice, but knowing how job seekers make decisions may help you make more effective hiring decisions.

Does your school invest in developing leaders? What does your institution offer job seekers? Is your school considered a rising star or a sinking ship? If you’re a small pond, perhaps it would be more effective to call off that search for the next big fish and instead, find that spunky minnow who is ready to grow, learn, and take on new challenges.

Read Grant's article, “Should You Always Strive to Work at the Most ʻPrestigiousʼ Places? Well …" and let us what you think.