It shouldn't be news to any of us that hiring talented professionals is considered the single biggest factor in whether a company succeeds. Ask successful entrepreneurs or CEOs how their companies achieved greatness and they talk about the need for the "right" people. Sir Richard Branson says it best:

Success in business is all about people, people, people. Whatever industry a company is in, its people are its competitive advantage.

Yet hiring remains a complex problem. Even Google, which spent two years studying how to build high-performing teams, could come back with only a list of five intangible characteristics to strive for. Nothing on this list spoke to the specific traits of the team members. That's because every team needs different skills and abilities. But what if they had looked more closely at the "persona" each team member took on in the successful team?

Personas define your workplace value and increase your professional satisfaction

Think about the last great team you were a part of. I'm sure it had all the traits Google recognized in its study. You and your teammates were dependable, the project had structure with clear goals, everybody knew their responsibilities and felt excited about the purpose of the work. And you felt safe voicing your concerns and challenges. But, there was something else in play -- the work you were doing was properly aligned with how you like to provide value on the job. Think of it this way: You're a business-of-one who provides a service to your employer. The most successful businesses know exactly how their services exceed the expectations of particular type of customer. So they intentionally try to work exclusively with this ideal customer because it virtually guarantees they'll be happy with the work. This provides a win-win partnership. The same applies to your work. When you get to provide value in the way you most enjoy, the satisfaction level on-the-job skyrockets. The way you provide this value is called your workplace "persona." It's how you want to be known as an expert at work. It's the foundation of your professional reputation. At Work It Daily, we have researched and found there are eight main personas in the workplace:

  • Builder
  • Researcher
  • Visionary
  • Educator
  • Superconnector
  • Warrior
  • Optimizer
  • Mentor

Most of us, after taking a simple quiz, can determine which two or three dominant personas from the list above we like to use.

Google, Facebook, and Apple managers hire personas (even if they don't realize it)

When reading all the articles that have been published around how to get hired at top companies like Google, Facebook, and Apple, one thing you'll notice is they talk about the results of the candidate. Specifically, can you articulate in detail how you have been successful in the past? That's because the hiring manager is listening carefully to how you achieved the goal, paying close attention to the strengths you leveraged. It's not just your experience that matters--it's also the way in which you executed the task. This is called behavioral interviewing and it's a popular interviewing technique because, just as the name states, it looks at your behavior on the job. Smart hiring managers know they must choose candidates who have the right personas, a.k.a. behaviors, to support the team. The challenge is that no two teams, depending on the project goals and existing team members, need the same personas. And, the persona needs change as the company evolves. For example, here's a video that explains the three personas needed to start a company.

Want career satisfaction? Know your personas and market them properly to employers

When you know your personas, you can do a better job of articulating your value to employers. This transparency helps employers understand and appreciate your contributions better. Managing your boss and your teammates' expectations of you is one of the most important elements to a successful and satisfying career. When you're on the same page, the relationship is strong and the satisfaction levels for both parties are high. It also helps you build your reputation as the "go-to" person for specific types of projects, knowledge, and tasks. This leads to your becoming known as a specialist in your area of expertise, which means leveraging your personas can also help you stay relevant and employed long-term. 

So, if you want to get hired by a great company, determine your personas and market them to employers who need them and you'll be on your way to greater career satisfaction.