A team is only as strong as its weakest player, so it’s essential for companies to hire the right people to ensure success and longevity.
That’s the belief of Are Media’s Managing Director, Jane Huxley, who focuses on hiring people with select personality traits that suggest they will be successful and help drive the magazine publisher forward.
“My fundamental belief is that if the people in the business are in the right place, the business will succeed,” says Jane.
“Frankly, I think it covers all industries, whether it’s a small business or a large business.”
Speaking at Elite Agent’s 33-hour Zoomathon continuing education session in February this year, Jane, who previously held senior roles at Spotify, Pandora and Microsoft, identifies four key traits that give her confidence that a new recruit will be a good fit for the company.
“The people I’m looking for, I would describe as hunters, chameleons, jesters and weevils,” she says.
Jane says hunters are people who take the lead and look for opportunities.
“A hunter gets hungry and gets up from his chair and does things,” she explains.
“Sometimes you need gatherers in the lifecycle of a business, but a hunter is an essential feature of a startup, people doing business development, or people under threat in their industry.”
In addition to hunters, every business needs chameleons, according to Jane.
She says their ability to change and adapt quickly is key, and they can help get the slower adopters on the team up and running.
“The chameleons come into the room and find out very quickly what role they play,” she says.
“When you start at a new company, their job description can read one thing, and we all know that takes about two weeks. Chameleons are adaptable, flexible, tenacious, all those things that chameleons are known for.
While all businesses need people to take action, the workplace should also be an environment that is fun to work in, according to Jane.
This is where jesters come in.
“The last two years have been difficult and the jester is someone who just laughs,” she explains.
“Whether it’s self-mockery or laughing with the team, it’s just the absurdity we live with; we just have to have a jester.
Jane believes in creating a positive work culture and Jesters can help with that.
She says having a drink at a bar with co-workers, getting real with people and having fun while doing it can help build team camaraderie.
“We’re engaged in work for so much of the week, it comes down to the fact that if you don’t like what you’re doing, you have to think about why you’re doing it,” she says.
“There are fundamental questions, and looking at the big revaluation, people are attracted to companies where they can just relax a bit.”
The final trait of successful people is what Jane calls the weevil, based on the UK toy.
“The weevil’s slogan was, ‘The weevil wobbles, but we don’t fall,'” she explains.
“You can sting them and they get back up – that’s such a critical thing that we’re looking for, especially in young people coming in.
“It’s hard, picking yourself up – resilience, tenacity, persevering, finding creative solutions and being supported by the people around.”
Jane describes herself as a combination of all four personality traits, but since moving into leadership positions she has been forced to adapt more.
“I now describe myself as a storyteller and I am also a weaver – my job is to weave together people, teams and ideas,” she says.
“And I am a sheepdog. What I do is I run around the outside of the company and gently move them from this paddock to this paddock.
“But I’m still a weevil.”