Whenever I interview someone for a job at Meebo, one of the questions they’re bound to ask is “what kind of a person are you looking for to fill this role?”
My canned answer goes something like this, “Someone who takes ownership and is proactive, yet at the same time is team oriented, collaborative and open. This is a really hard mix to find.”
At Meebo, we believe strongly in these traits. Ownership, Proactive, and Team are three of the 5 areas we both actively look for in our interviewing process and use to assess employee performance once someone’s joined Meebo.
Yesterday I found myself talking to our newest group of employees at Meebo about what this really meant and figured something out. I always knew this mix of “I’m super team oriented” and yet “I’m a rock superstar who OWNS my projects and PROACTIVELY carries them through” was basically an oxymoron. I finally realized the trait someone needs to have in order to contain all of these attributes in a single person: humility.
When I talk about the ideal configuration of a founding team, I often mention the need to have at least two people with synergistic skills. The underlying assumption here is that you want people who are great at their particular area of expertise, but that no one is good at everything.
So it dawned on me, in talking this out with roughly 8 new Meebo employees yesterday, that someone who is unbelievably good at what they do can truly take ownership of their particular area and, by default, be proactive in it. And if this same person is not caught up in how great they are at this particular thing, but rather knows their own boundaries, then they will naturally work with others to fill in their gaps.