If you run a company that makes one of the most popular toys in the world—like LEGO, for example—you probably think a lot about what kind of person you want to work for you. You probably want people who are creative and have a strong sense of play.
I would imagine that finding these people can be difficult. At some point, most of us tend to lose our game sense as we get consumed by work and all the other responsibilities that come with adulthood.
That’s why I love this line from a recent job description for a creative director for the LEGO Group:
“Children are our role models. Their curiosity, creativity and imagination inspire everything we do.”
Think about these five words for a minute. There are not many adults who can say that children are their role models. If anything, they tend to view children as something to be tolerated or suffered. They are certainly not the first group that springs to mind when thinking of teaching the rest of us.
If you are looking for a role model, perhaps you are looking for someone in your own field or company who has excelled in what you are trying to achieve. You could turn to someone who has had success and set out principles or lessons you could learn from. This person is most likely a full grown adult who has had a career similar to yours.
They’re not kids, is my point. After all, children are young. You don’t have the education or experience to teach us much, right? I think if you are looking for someone to teach you the best accounting principles or corporate governance then children are not good role models.
On the other hand, the second sentence in this quote says a lot. The truth is that children have qualities that are often lost as adults. For example, the LEGO job description mentions curiosity, creativity and imagination. It would be hard to argue that most adults lose their sense of imagination and curiosity.
At some point it becomes socially unacceptable to dream of gambling when you should be at work. But maybe it shouldn’t be. Maybe there’s real value in being curious or flexing your creative muscles.
Of course it is important to have imagination. Kids know that. If it’s uncomfortable to think about, maybe it’s just because, as adults, we train ourselves out of curiosity. We train ourselves to think in terms of processes, systems and rules.
Children, on the other hand, think anything is possible. If what you build are LEGO sets, then you definitely want people who dream of building amazing things with small plastic bricks. They want people who are willing to dream of what is possible.
LEGO recognizes that its success depends on having people who understand. Finding people who are inspired by children’s curiosity and imagination is key. In order to create products that the core audience – children – will love, it helps to have people who think the way they think.
If you’re looking to hire this type of person, you probably want to be sure that every time you post a job description, you’re communicating the things you value. That makes sense—the job description is one of your most important first impressions when recruiting a candidate. What you put in is important.
I liked that line so much that I started looking at other LEGO Group job postings and found the same two sentences in almost all of them. The job description doesn’t say, “We make toys for children.” It states that children are role models for the people who make these toys.
The lesson here is pretty simple – if you want to attract people who share your values, you should probably find a way to tell them what you value. Put the important things in the job description. Not just the important tasks or requirements. Not just the important things about the job. Write down the important things about your business and what you believe.
Establish the things that will help a candidate know if they are the type of person who would be a good fit. If you believe that children are your role models, that’s a pretty important value to instill in anyone who is considering applying for a job.
For LEGO, these values are curiosity, creativity and imagination. It’s probably something else entirely at your company, but that doesn’t change the fact that it should be one of the first things they see when they read your job description.