In a recent Cannes interview with Business Insider UK editor Jim Edwards, JWT worldwide CCO Matt Eastwood explained a simple rule he tries to follow when hiring: “no assholes.” His reasoning is straightforward enough: “The deadlines are crazy, you’re working crazy hours, you just want to be with good people.”
Obviously that can be a difficult rule to follow in any industry, and we’re guessing that a few may have slipped through the cracks over the years. Eastwood joined JWT from DDB New York, where he also served as CCO, two years ago. He previously reported directly to Gustavo Martinez until the chairman was succeeded by Tamara Ingram, who is very matter-of-fact in person and we’re not just saying that.
Eastwood told Edwards that he learned his lesson years ago when he made the mistake of hiring a talented but obnoxious creative leader and later regretted it.
“I specifically remember hiring a guy — I won’t say where or who because that’s illegal — but he was hugely awarded, still is hugely awarded, won everywhere and of course I wanted some of that for the agency,” he told the publication. “He was the rudest. I remember once hearing, and I apologize for the horrible words, I was sitting in the office, I heard from down the hallway ‘get out my office you fucking c—!’ And I’m like, really? At work? Is it worth it for me to have this guy in my office even though he wins awards? And I decided there and then. It’s a horrible work environment and it’s not worth the creative success to have that kind of disruption.”
No word yet on whether JWT plans to adopt Eastwood’s “no assholes” screening procedure as official agency policy. That one would probably be difficult to enforce.