Hiring For Diverse Personalities and Skill Sets

A.T. Gimbel
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June 19, 2019

One topic that comes up a lot recently is hiring diversity. There are many articles and research on this topic which show the benefits and increases in productivity that come from a diverse workforce. I won’t go into all of those diversity factors and outcomes, but rather propose three additional areas where diversity is often overlooked on the surface but can still make a huge impact.

Personality Types

There are currently many personality type assessments available: MBTI, DISC, Temperaments, etc. I won’t go into the specifics of each, but they highlight the point that we are all wired differently, independent of gender, race, etc. Some people are more introverted vs. extroverted; some are more task-oriented vs. people-oriented; some want to process information out loud vs. internalizing it first. The important thing here is being aware of the different personality types and the benefits each can bring to an organization. For a CEO, this also means making sure you have a balance of different types and ensuring they work in harmony together vs. conflict.

Hiring for Spikes

I was listening to a 20VC podcast the other day with Zach Perret, CEO of Plaid. He referenced the “hiring for spikes” principle of which I am a big fan. What this means is rather than hiring people for being well rounded and having minimal weaknesses, hire people who “spike” and are world-class in a certain dimension (assuming they still meet culture fit). Someone may be a great data analyst but terrible writer; a great salesperson but terrible at process; etc. The point is to allow people to play to their strengths, set them up for success in roles that match those strengths, and surround them with others who have strengths to cover their weaker areas. This way you have diversity in strengths that collectively work together to achieve your goals. Plus, people tend to enjoy playing to their strengths vs. trying to fix weaknesses.

Non-Diverse Vision and Core Values

Even while hiring individuals with diverse backgrounds and personalities, it is still essential for everyone within your team to be aligned with the vision and core values of the organization. One common vision to march the entire organization towards. One established culture with core values that everyone can get behind. This doesn’t mean there are not diverse people in the culture, but rather they all share common core values (i.e. positive, self-starting, passionate, etc.) that can align and support the organization.

Diversity is incredibly important. While there are many outward signs of diversity that need to be addressed, don’t be afraid to look even deeper as you build out a diverse team.

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