How to Use Company Culture to Recruit Great Teams - Jason Anello

In Chapter 9 of 20 in his 2012 interview, creative director Jason Anello answers "What Has Your Experience Taught Your About Bringing Together Teams to Successfully Complete Projects?" Anellos shares he and his business partners use cultural fit in how they recruit employees and freelance workers.  He notes why he values cultural fit over skillset when recruiting and building high performance teams. 

Jason Anello is a founding partner and creative director at marketing services agency Manifold Partners.  He is also the co-founder of the Forking Tasty Brooklyn supper club.  Previously, Anello held creative leadership roles at Yahoo! and Ogilvy & Mather.  He graduated from the University at Albany. 


Erik Michielsen: What has your experience taught you about bringing together teams to successfully complete projects?

Jason Anello: I'm almost 2 years in at Manifold, and it's been a very interesting 2 years, I've learned a whole lot about having what I would say is a real business, I had a lot of little businesses that were in my mind maybe more businesses than just they were really projects. And this is definitely a full-blown business, with all the things that businesses come along with, particularly finding employees that can execute to the level that me and my 4 partners expect and do. That's a really interesting thing about having a business and who do you -- how do you find the right people that are going to meet and then exceed the expectations, the very high expectations that me and my partners have. And I think one of the keys to finding proper employees that will make a successful team, or freelancers for that matter, or even outside of the context of a working environment in any project that you're trying to get done, is for the culture to be a match. I know people talk about culture in many -- lots of big companies talk about culture and just thinking about who your friends are and how you -- when you hit it off with somebody and you don't hit it off with somebody. I think that skill set is obviously really important but you could have somebody who's really, really good at the thing that needs to get done, and if you don't mesh with them right, and they're -- they don't fit inside of the culture of Manifold, in this example, then the project won't be as successful.

So I would rather have somebody who's less skilled but fits the culture better, because that would make a more successful project. A real world example of that is, if I yell at you, because of the way that Manifold's culture is, I can't really explain what that is right now, is that that's -- it's a high intense sometimes environment because we're hanging things in the middle of Times Square for 24 hours and it's -- there's permits and these things and all sorts of -- it's raining and whatever.

So it's sort of like a kitchen environment, sometimes, when we throw a big event. It's like what you see on TV, when Gordon Ramsay is going berserko, screaming at people and people are just doing stuff, that's sort of what it's like when you're doing high-profile events and you're in the shoot, as we say. But the shoot being, you know, a slide of some sort, or the barrel of a gun. But if you can't take that and you think that if you don't fit that culture, if I can't yell at you, you can't brush it off your back, that's not gonna fit with our culture. Because I don't -- I'm not really mad at you, I just need you to do that thing right now. And I'm not saying we're a bunch of these screamers and yellers, but you could be really, really good getting that thing done and if you shut down when I yell at you then that's not gonna make a successful team.