How To Hire Talent That Will Complement Your Team And Culture

Originally Published Aug. 3, 2016

People make the difference. You can have incredible systems and procedures in place, the right software and automation tools, and a company culture that encourages fun and freedom, but if you don’t have the right people carrying out the tasks, your enterprise could be operating below its full potential.

Culture is the key to attracting the right people, but if you’re still not surrounded by sharp employees, then your hiring process might be to blame. Conversely, if you’re having a hard time keeping good people, then your culture might not be up to snuff.

Another major concern is growth. When you’re growing quickly, it can be very challenging to maintain equilibrium. Don’t get too down on yourself if there’s a bit of a backlash from your workers when your company is growing, because that’s when you’re under the greatest pressure. But finding the right people should be a priority for every organization.

For my company, finding the right cultural fit and people who are aligned with our core values, mission, and broader vision is an essential component to finding the right hires. We want people who will work hard, express enthusiasm for both the idea and the product, and ultimately show that they are passionate about doing meaningful work. Here are some tips that I’ve used to identify these people, and find the right personality fits for my team.

Reflect and Define

Think about some of your best workers, past and present. What qualities and traits do they possess? How do they handle themselves? How do they communicate? Birds of a feather flock together, so if you can identify a few people who are particularly astute, they could very well have like-minded colleagues and friends.

These workers have obviously proven themselves valuable to the company over the long haul. Take some time to think what it is about them that makes them such an asset. By identifying these qualities, you will be better prepared to spot future rock stars for your organization.

You should also think about the kind of people who would be complementary to those already working in your business. People with different skill sets and experience could prove especially valuable for collaborative endeavors. My company looks for people who can seamlessly complement our existing team structure and workflow; whether that’s finding a UX specialist to work closely with our designer, a product developer to work in collaboration with our engineers, or a business development whiz to work alongside our marketing lead. It’s incredible to see just how perfectly such roles can complement one another, because the great thing about startups is the lack of confinement to a single role or responsibility. In a small team, people have to chip in and contribute in a multitude of areas, wherever there’s a good fit. That’s how complementary team members need to be.

Talk to Your Existing Employees

How do your senior team members feel? What kind of people do they like to work with? What areas do they feel are lacking?

As a leader in your business, you aren’t always on top of what’s happening with your team. There could be gaps that need to be filled, and personality conflicts that you aren’t aware of. Have honest, open-ended discussions with employees who have been with you for a while. It may take time for them to open up, but if they care about the future of the company they can probably offer good feedback.

Transparency and honesty are two of my company’s biggest core values. A good way to look at it is, when in doubt, default to transparency. It’s imperative that the rest of your team knows everything that everyone else does — it’s the only way trust can be built. Honesty has given us a leg up in business; being open with co-workers, partners and other companies has been integral to get us where we are today. Thus, we emphasize these two things with anyone who’s part of our team.

You Have to Think About Personality Fit

If you’re looking to build a well-oiled machine, then personality fit isn’t something you can ignore. Fortunately, it’s something you can systematize. You can document and outline procedures that will enable you to find the right people with considerable accuracy. We have through the processes above, and it’s worked well.

While it may take some time to get to that point, you will find that the effort is worth it. Bringing on the right people can have a huge impact on your company’s productivity and efficiency.