Getting Started Professional Development

Why Google is Looking for These 5 Key Traits in Employees

Written by Peter Jones

Google did a two-year study of its workers and discovered (surprise!) that fancy degrees and super-genius IQs don’t make great team players. Recent research out of the University of Notre Dame confirms this: what matters most is that coworkers trust each other and believe in what they’re doing.

Forget self-interest and pedigree. Forget top-name colleges and the SATs. Google is now shifting course to recruit people who are hardworking and resilient instead—and finally working to diversify their workforce (which is a shocking 70% male and 60% white). Say goodbye to the old elitism of the lone wolf superstar, and say hello to an appreciation of candidates who can overcome adversity.

The most important thing companies want to do is building better teams, and here’s what they’ll be looking for:

1. Psychological safety

Team members need to trust each other to take risks. Superegos only get in the way. Team members need to be comfortable being vulnerable together to do their best work.

2. Dependability

The best teams get it done on time and set the bar consistently high.

3. Structure & Clarity

The best teams work together with clear roles and goals and strategies.

4. Meaning

It’s important to believe in the work you’re doing together and to make it matter.

5. Impact

The best stuff comes out of teams working to make something meaningful and affect change.

As a Harvard HR rep wrote in a blog post, “Who is on a team matters less than how the team members interact, structure their work, and view their contributions.” The dream team of the future is a powerhouse of people with a wide variety of strengths and talents, people who can trust each other enough to take risks and create a more dynamic future. It doesn’t matter where you went to college. What matters is what you bring to the table and how well you contribute to the group.

About the author

Peter Jones