- Robert Galbraith/Reuters
Most employers will tell you that when it comes to hiring, technical chops simply aren’t enough.
At Facebook, that skill is crucial. In a recent article for The Harvard Business Review, Jay Parikh, Facebook’s global head of engineering and infrastructure, said the company hires specifically for “the ability to calibrate to a team environment.”
But Facebook is too clever to go with a standard prompt like, “Tell me about a time you worked on a group project.”
Among the questions Parikh said Facebook uses to measure teamwork abilities is: “Can you tell me about four people whose careers you have fundamentally improved?“
Parikh said this question is designed to weed out “empire builders, self-servers, and whiners.”
When answering this question, Parikh added, “successful candidates should clearly demonstrate that their priorities are company, team, and self – in that order.”
In other words, though Parikh didn’t say it explicitly, Facebook is trying to build a culture of “givers,” a term coined by Wharton professor Adam Grant in his 2013 book, “Give and Take.”
Grant’s research suggests that givers, who always try to help others, are ultimately more successful than “takers,” who try to serve themselves, and “matchers,” who try to get equal benefit for themselves and others. Interpersonal relationships, Grant argues, are as important to achievement as are hard work, talent, and luck.
Hiring givers (and avoiding hiring self-servers) is a win-win situation. The employee enjoys personal success and the company effectively avoids the office politics that can detract from productivity.