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What Makes the Engage Type

By Anthony Overkamp

What characteristics make for a good team member as we try to maintain our culture as we grow? Although it has never been explicit, Engage has typically hired a particular type of person. As we continue to hire more staff, and grow, I think it’s good to spend a bit of time thinking about what it is that unites our team and makes us awesome.

The importance of culture is sometimes hard to explain, especially when you’re small; but it becomes quite obvious once you start to grow. Culture can change quickly; it only takes a few team members that do not fit the model to create a cultural change that quickly spreads. Culture has to be nurtured, and as a team we need to be relentless about hiring designers and developers that strengthen our culture and avoid those that don’t.

Here's a few characteristics of people we look for and why:

Independent

There is nothing better than a team-up, but we also really value one's ability to get stuff done on their own. We don’t want to micromanage anyone, nor do I know any designer or developer who likes having a manager breathing down his or her neck. Projects run on timelines, and getting things done on time is important to us. It’s important to respect each other’s time and allow team members to get into the groove, yet it’s also strengthening to be able to collaborate when necessary. Maybe I tend to nerd out easy, but I get a rush when a project comes together quickly with a team that knows when and how to interact to achieve a goal -- things just click and before you know it you’re launching something shiny and new that we are all proud of!

Autodidactic

We are all about getting better, so naturally we want everyone to be willing and able to learn from others and on their own. The Web is ever changing, so we are constantly learning new skills and languages as they evolve. Being able to self educate helps all us keep up with the change, and allows us to explore new and exciting technologies while we make our living. Engage is very supportive in keeping us educated; providing books, offering mentoring, and promoting internal knowledge sharing.

Considerate

It’s a big world out there, and I was taught that it’s very important to be thoughtful of others to find your way. Thinking about the wellbeing of others -- and the company as a whole -- helps breed an environment of trust and understanding. It’s difficult to trust and work with someone who is inconsiderate towards the feelings of others, no matter how talented or experienced they are.

Humble

We work in a team where everyone learns from each other. Humility is a prerequisite for improving, and in the rapid growing web world, there’s a constant need to scale your abilities. Knowing when you could use some help is the key to becoming independently stronger as well as building a better team as whole. Everyone brings something to the table, and on each project our clients know they have the whole team behind their dedicated team members.

Perceptive

Every day web designers and developers make thousands of decisions. Strong decision making skills are essential to building trust in a team. Success is the result of the sum of our decisions and actions. Decision making is a skill that is not only hard to train, but one that requires attention to hone and perfect, something that can always get better. Responsibilities change as we grow, so we favor logical people over people that lack the ability to push us farther.

The List Goes On

These are just a handful of qualities to take in consideration, but the central point is in temperament. Engage is looking for not just awesome skills, but also a personality that can help us succeed. We take pride in our team, and intend to be working with our team for a long time, so having these mentioned traits are critical to our longevity.

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