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How Team Fit Can Impact Career Success

Kelsey Bishop of Candor shares her vision of the future of working relationships with authentic conversations to create belonging and increase job satisfaction

When looking for a job, people usually think about the industry, the type of organizations they want to work for, and the functions aligned with existing and aspirational skills. What about the manager and the team you will be working with?

Throughout my career, I had the opportunity to work with amazing teams and people who became life friends and helped me to grow as a professional and as a person. Even if the work I was doing was not that innovative, or I was not able to grow as fast as I wanted to, I was excited to go to work and do my best.

On the flip side, I worked in organizations that have great core values and in areas that were aligned with my career aspirations, but I didn't have a great cultural fit with the team and the experiences were very unpleasant, affecting my job performance and my life outside of work.

How can we understand not only the company culture but also the team dynamics during the hiring process and land a job that we really enjoy?

The start-up Candor is working to help us accomplish that. They just raised $5M in a seed round to build the next generation of a professional social network. Here is a portion of their mission statement:

We are on a mission to help people find belonging at work. We believe true job satisfaction in tech comes when you can be yourself, in a team where you are included and accepted.

I interviewed Kelsey Bishop, Founder and CEO at Candor about her goals and how Candor can impact workplace culture. Here are the key takeaways:

A team's culture is the primary driver of someone's experience in an organization

As a diva, Kelsey started making authentic choices when she was in college and she decided to pursue a career in start-up while all her colleagues got jobs in finance.

Throughout her career in start-ups, she realized that her experiences were classified into two buckets:

1. Culture fit with the team is incredible.

Kelsey mentioned that even if the business has not been doing super well and doesn't quite have a product-market fit, the experience with these teams is amazing. There's strong collaboration, with everyone pushing and challenging each other and it's fun to work together. This positive environment drives superior job performance.

2. Culture fit with the team doesn't click.

On the other hand, the business is exploding and the start-up is a rocket ship, but if there's a lack of cultural fit, the team doesn't work well together.

As team culture fit is so essential for the job experience, when deciding to join a company it's a challenge to understand the team's values and motivations and how they work just by checking a LinkedIn profile or asking questions during the interview process. This was the motivation for Kelsey to create Candor. Different from LinkedIn which provides an overview of someone's past professional experience, Candor aims to provide a holistic view of how someone behaves at work. In her words:

[when we] sign on to candor and understand if they like to work in the morning or the evening and how they communicate and what they are motivated by, like all of these things that kind of make somebody a human at work, not just a title at work.

Finding a sense of belonging at work goes beyond cultural fit

Kelsey's vision for Condor is that it will help to enable the future of work to be much more transparent. Hiring managers and candidates or team members will be able to understand others on a more human level. In her own words:

My vision is very much like - what would it look like if as professionals we just showed up as who we are, we weren't wearing masks at work? [What if] we weren't like the buttoned-up version of ourselves on which we show up at work and then turned it off and go home?

The mission statement and core values listed on the company's website usually don't make someone feel like they belong in the work environment and sometimes it's not about the company having a good or bad culture.

I will share a personal example that illustrates that. During the hiring process for a company that I highly admire, I just met the hiring manager - no one else from the team - and I believed that the company's values were embedded across all teams in the organization. Unfortunately, my assumption was wrong. I didn't fit in with my team and I never felt I belonged there. I ended up leaving after a few months.

This was not only a bad experience for me - employee turnover has a high cost for organizations, so they are as interested as we are in having a high success rate through talent acquisition, and forming teams with people with great fit to drive job performance

Back to Kelsey's vision, finding a sense of belonging is usually related to the ability to form real relationships with the team, so people can feel safe to bring their whole selves to work which increases job satisfaction and happiness.

When I filled out my profile at Candor, it felt great to be able to write down what I am great at but that I don't enjoy doing. This type of information can help candidates identify the teams with a cultural fit, and help managers when evaluating candidates to understand how they can contribute to the team dynamics and make better hiring decisions.

Authentic conversations are key to aligning on work dynamics that will lead to team success

Kelsey believes that Candor will enable hiring managers to have more transparent conversations about strengths and weaknesses and build a stronger working relationship.

She also mentioned that Candor can help organizations to create more diverse and inclusive teams. Instead of focusing on where the person went to school, worked before, and the last title, they can focus on someone's competency and who they really are as a human.

Is this person gonna match the culture? Are they gonna match the role? Are they gonna match the team? She emphasizes that this shift in conversation is a really powerful way to combat some of the diversity and inclusion issues that we see in the hiring funnel today. Yeah.

She also hopes that also recruiters and hiring managers start considering the potential instead of the past. As an example, she mentions that a company looking to hire a Product Manager may prioritize someone with 10 years of experience and who is also burned out and not excited to do this work any longer instead of betting on someone who just finished Product Manager school and is super energized to work in the field.


It was a great pleasure to interview Kelsey Bishop and I hope Candor helps to redefine working relationships and increase belonging and job satisfaction. I can't wait to see where she goes next!

Divas, how are you driving authentic conversations at work? Leave your comment on Twitter or Facebook.

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