“There is almost no skill or ability you can have that is so good it allows you to ruin the social qualities of the team.”  

This is how the Norwegian Men’s Ski team coach, Aksel Lund Svindal, responded when asked what his secret to success was as his team took home the most gold medals compared to any other country at the 2018 Winter Olympics.  

Svindal sticks to this “saying” or “mission” throughout the Norwegian Olympic trials, and does not budge or waver. He truly believes that no individual, regardless of their skill level or ability, is that important if they add toxicity to the team. His team has a strong bond and is void of any “jerks” which he believes attributed to their success at the Olympics in 2018. They openly share their tips and tricks with their teammates so that each person is bringing their all to the slopes during competition: the members lift one another up to benefit the team, not the individual. Essentially, in order to make the Norwegian Men’s Ski team, an individual must go through two rounds of trials. They have to have the skills and the abilities, but they also have to embody the culture of the team. This individual has to work with the “saying” or the “mission” of the team, and they have to prove their ability to adapt to this “saying” or “mission” to the coach.  

The same is true when it comes to the workplace. Like the Norwegian ski coach, as a boss, you need to stick to your company “saying” or “mission” when conducting the interview process.  Each company has a “mission” that they pride themselves on and that embodies the company culture. For example, the mission statement of the clothing and accessories brand Life Is Good is “To spread the power of optimism.” Therefore, when looking for a new hire, Life is Good must ensure that not only does this individual have the skills and abilities to fulfill this role, but they have to be optimistic as well.  

This is not always going to be easy, and it means that you will probably have to search for a candidate longer than other companies who choose to take shortcuts in the hiring process. You also will have to interview candidates in non-traditional ways which will give you the ability to truly test if they fit your companies mission; take them out of their comfort zone and see how they act. 

In doing this, you are looking at your company, not the workforce, as the consumer. Individuals in the workforce need to sell their skills and their values, in order for you to buy them. You should not be attempting to sell your company to the workforce by way of bending missions or values. 

The bottom line is, as a company, you should be a buyer, not a seller, when it comes to the labor market. In practicing this “buyer not seller” mentality when interviewing new employees, you will most likely be able to avoid a bad hire; and like the Norwegian Swim team, you will most likely succeed as well.