The traditional way to hire employees is to define a role that needs to be filled, generate a job description, and then locate someone whose experience matches the tasks you’ve outlined. The problem with this method is that it doesn’t take into account all of the ingredients of a good hire, not to mention the intricacies of building a strong team.??
In a recent interview, Behance connected with Jeff Staple, founder of Staple Design, a multi-faceted lifestyle company that has collaborated with the likes of Nike and Burton snowboards. Jeff had an interesting take on the topic of hiring: “My thing when I hire people is I say, ‘Okay, I’m hiring you because you deserve to be on this bus. Whichever seat you want to sit in, it doesn’t matter to me. If you don’t like the seat that I put you in, tell me, and I’ll move you to a different seat. But I want you on this bus because you deserve to be on this bus.’”??
Managers often say that finding the right people is the hardest task, and yet they continue to focus on hiring roles rather than considering the person as a whole. Jeff’s statement articulates a useful metaphor for thinking about hiring, and the difficult challenges it poses. It may sound simple, but ultimately hiring is all about focusing on people – who are a collection of personality traits and not just skill sets – in the context of the company.
Based on our ongoing research, we’ve outlined a handful of ways to hone in on what really matters when you’re hiring:
Hire for talent and character, not just for specific roles or duties. Work ethic and that intangible and infinitely valuable skill we call “creativity” cannot be captured on a resume. Seek instead to identify past accomplishments and initiative coupled with key character traits. The ability to be a self-starter, adaptable, innovative, hardworking – these skills translate across almost any role.
Be mindful of team dynamics. In addition to the specific work they do, employees almost always inhabit another equally important position within the team, playing the devil’s advocate, the den mother, the take-charge doer, etc. Keep in mind that cultivating a balanced ecosystem within your team can be as valuable as hiring the right talent on a skill level. If you don’t have a symbiotic mix of personalities, morale (and likely productivity) will suffer.
Cultivate flexibility and organic growth. It is in every manager’s best interest to see that each and every employee is enjoying his or her job. And, oftentimes, this includes understanding that people evolve and occasionally need to shift gears or change direction.
Being open to flexibly repositioning employees can lead to a better work environment for everyone. As Jeff points out, “It’s just better for productivity, the company morale, everything. If everyone just loves what they’re doing.”
***The Behance team researches productivity and leadership in the creative world. These entries are adapted and edited by Jocelyn K. Glei from the Behance team's past articles and research. Behance runs the Behance Creative Network, the Action Method project management application, the Creative Jobs List, and develops knowledge, products, and services that help creative professionals make ideas happen.