Last year I read something that said that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg only has one rule/guideline when it comes to hiring people.
One rule? Really? That’s it?
Zuckerberg has only one rule, he told CNN, and it’s pretty simple: “I will only hire someone to work directly for me if I would work for that person,” he said. “I think this rule has served me pretty well.”
Well yes, given the size, scope, and modest success of Facebook, I’d wager that this one rule has indeed served Zuckerberg pretty well.
Aligning values and cultural fit
But, CNN went on to add this:
Zuckerberg noted that hiring is a problem at Facebook, because there is more work to do than people to accomplish it. That can lead to hiring people who may not be the best candidate for a job.
So the Facebook CEO said that his team looks for people whose values align with the company’s.
“Facebook is not a company for everyone in the world,” he said.”
That’s a pretty big caveat, I think. Yes, Zuckerberg only wants to hire people he would want to work for, but he also focuses on people who align with Facebook’s culture and values. I’d guess that those two qualities pretty much go together, but it’s also possible that they don’t — making you wonder how Zuckerberg reconciles things when the two are at odds.
2 things the Facebook founder looks for in people
To get some greater insight into how the Facebook founder approaches hiring, I pulled up this video from over 10 years ago (2005, to be exact) where he spends time talking about his talent management philosophy. Back then, he said he was looking for two things in a potential hire:
- Raw intelligence
- Alignment with what the organization is trying to do
It’s this second point that seems to be the critical one for Zuckerberg, because his focus on finding great people who are aligned with the values of the company are a core principle that he was talking about both in 2005 and then again in 2015. It is pretty obvious that this is the real key for him, and it is something that a lot of organizations talk about but that few really spend much time checking out.
In fact, you can make a great case that cultural fit — how a person really fits into an organization, it’s values, and the people who are already there — is one of the most critical things a recruiter or hiring manager should think about.
It’s interesting to hear what highly successful business leaders look for in the people they hire. I also find it interesting that for people like Zuckerberg, the really critical components don’t really change.