We’re currently looking for a creative support specialist, but that’s not what this blog post is about. Well, that’s not all it’s about. Like everything we try to do here, we approach the way we recruit, select, and develop our team members with an intense focus on learning and a healthy dose of professional humility. When I discuss humility here, I’m talking about something very basic: understanding that you don’t know everything and that you can be wrong. If you don’t accept those two realities, then you really can’t be open to learning anything new. And our goal is to always be learning new things we can share internally with other team members and externally with our clients and partners.
So, how did learning and humility lead us to create a creative support specialist position? Great question. We’ve been talking to some very talented people over the past few months, but we didn’t identify the fit we thought would meet our current and future needs. Here’s where learning and humility were important early on. I’ve made bad hiring decisions before–several times. Some of those hires were just really bad decisions on my part. Others were really talented people who didn’t quite fit the culture or whose skills didn’t quite match what we needed. First, I had to recognize and own those mistakes. Then, I had to reflect on what went wrong and seek the wisdom of the rest of the leadership team on what I had been missing.
Those reflections are important for our organization because we–like many small and start-up outfits–don’t have the time or resources to get these types of decisions wrong. Also, and perhaps more importantly, we believe where people work and what people work on are very important decisions. Most of us spend about a quarter of our time at work during our prime working years. Another third of that time is spent sleeping, so there’s not a whole lot of time to do much else, which is why being in a place where you feel you fit and you are making a valuable contribution is critical.
Once we realized that something about the way we were approaching the recruiting process was wrong, we literally went back to the drawing board (we have several whiteboard walls throughout the office). We had to figure out what was the cause of the pattern, which led us to analyze the current strengths of our team and where each person needed support to perform at their highest level. We also had to deconstruct our recruitment and selection process to determine where the breakdown was happening. Since we were consistently investing time interviewing and building relationships with people who didn’t quite have the skills we needed, we had figure out where there were opportunities to learn more about candidates earlier on and to more accurately describe the culture we’re trying to create.
That process led us to identifying a much different position that we had been trying to fill. It’s a junior position that enables us to ensure we can provide opportunities for young talent to develop the skills that will be important to their success as an individual and our success as an organization. It’s also a position that frees up time across the organization so people can do more of what they do well and less of what drains them. We’re excited about meeting young people who might be interested in growing and learning with us, but we’re even more excited about what we’ll continue to learn from and with others.
If you’re interested in learning more about our team (or perhaps joining!), send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you.
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