Ever heard the phrase “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure?” Now, for the record it’s not a good idea to talk about people like that. But even though the words aren’t quite right, in the world of hiring the essence is true; a person who doesn’t work well in one team, can absolutely soar in another. That’s why Google (and more of the world’s leading companies) are assessing “fit” to find the people who’ll be treasures in their businesses, rather than relying only on the traditional personality assessment.
We’re (finally) moving away from the idea that some people are good and some people are bad, and instead recognizing that anyone can be good, given the right environment.
Back in advertising days, I worked with a creative – an art director – who was really struggling. We were both really young, just starting out and in those days, the agency we worked in was a pretty intense place. We were a big shop, with major global brands and a Big Agency reputation – that meant huge egos, high expectations and, if I’m honest, a culture that valued success so hard it verged on bullying. I remember sitting in the boardroom, surrounded by dark wood and intimidatingly expensive chairs, watching this young art director visibly shrink as his work was (literally) screwed up and thrown back at him. I remember thinking at the time, ‘this guy just isn’t cut out for advertising’.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
I saw him again a few months ago, he’s working in another agency now. Smaller, more niche, but still with its share of global brands and just as highly awarded. He’d just been internationally recognized for his art direction and illustration skills, and was about to accept a huge promotion – leading the agency’s creative department in one of their largest offices.
The problem wasn’t that his personality or skills weren’t ‘right for the role’, it was just that he didn’t fit the company culture and the team (and vice versa).
That same agency that was terrible for him, was brilliant for others. I have friends who thrived there – for whom the ultra-competitive environment was exactly what they needed to push and develop.
But for this guy, he found success when he found a team and company that shared his own values and had a culture that gave him what he needed.
In the crazy busy world of recruitment, we often get trapped in our own process. Source the candidates. Screen for basic skills. Conduct a personality assessment. It’s a flow designed for efficiency, but that means we’re spending the bulk of our time looking only at a person’s innate qualities – trying to discover who this person is in isolation, when we should be focussed on who they are in relation to our teams. When it comes to getting the most out of your people and building super-productive, happy teams, the fit is more important than anything else.
But what does Google think? They’re all over personality assessment, right?
In this recent interview with Google’s People Operations Analyst, Julia Rozovsky, she talks about a specialist HR task force that’s been working within the global talent magnet for the past two years. Its job? Identify the exact mix of skills and personality traits required to build “the perfect team”.
In the end, Rozovsky admitted, they discovered the traits of the individual were not a good predictor of high performance. The real success factor was fit within the team.
“Who is on a team matters less than how the team members interact, structure their work, and view their contributions,” said Rozovsky. “Essentially, the best teams are made up of people who respect one another’s emotions, can depend on each other and actually care about what they’re doing.”
It’s a great sign when Google’s smartest People-people apply some of the best data capture and analysis skills in the world in a dedicated, two-year-long project, and arrive at the same conclusion: fit is the most valuable indicator of performance.
And, hopefully, that’s awesomely encouraging for any struggling art-directors out there.
If you want to be like Google and put alignment first, give Weirdly a go. Our customised screening assessments will help you quickly find the candidate who complements your team – and we do all the set-up work for you!