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The right employees are critical any time you’re building an organization in which the culture of the company makes a difference in the final product you’re selling. Ultimately, if you’re in the communications business, the advertising business—you’re in the people business. Hiring the type of people that specifically understand the culture of the company, that clearly understand the CEO’s vision, means the difference between winning and losing.
The Translation culture is about being best in class. We work with multinational, Fortune 500 companies—these companies could work with any agency in the world and they choose to work with us. As a result of that, we have the responsibility to provide them the best of service, the best of cultural understanding, and the best articulation of their brand values. In the hiring process we want to vet people that can live up to that high standard. HR reports directly to me; that’s how critical the people and the culture of the company are to our business.
Throughout the interview process, in addition to evaluating a candidate’s credentials, I’m constantly discerning his or her energy, enthusiasm and overall approach. I aim to conduct interviews where we don’t necessarily speak only about the job. One example of how I expand the conversation—I’ll ask a person what their parents do for a living. The careers of their parents may not have a direct reflection at all on their job in particular, but their response can provide valuable insight. Or, I’ll take the prospective employee to a restaurant, see how they talk to the waiter, get a sense of their patience level and how they carry themselves. Usually people come to an interview and their entire preparation is to Google the CEO, note all of the words that he or she says and, in the interview, find new ways to regurgitate those buzzwords. But if you take someone out of his or her comfort zone you get a chance to see what really makes them tick.
I founded Translation on the principle that brands that lead culture are more successful than those that follow it. That principle is actualized in our company’s “majors” and “minors” program. We only hire people that have outside interests that can be utilized as tools within their agency function. At Translation, our team comprises account executives, creatives, strategists and so on, but each of those “majors” is complemented by a “minor.” For example, if you’re a songwriter, fashion stylist, or a gamer, I want those skill sets to inform what you do inside of our company. Our team’s “minors” are embraced, and supported as part of the creative toolbox.
I hope that every company has a clear point of view on who they are and what service they provide. When you find people that are the right match for your company, you build a team whose dedication and eagerness is greater than the sum of its parts. It’s easy to see the difference between someone who’s excited about getting a job for the pay increase vs. someone who’s enthusiastic about the company’s values and goals. In assembling an effective team, I pay attention to what candidates do in their spare time, how they feel about the values of the company, and how enthusiastic they are to expound upon those values.
When you find the right person, their energy jumps off the page.
The article was posted on LinkedIn by Steve Stoute, Founder of Translation, LLC