Why Your Team Plays an Important Hiring Position

team close up

Former Chicago Bulls Coach Phil Jackson once said, “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.”

Team cohesion is crucial to business. But when it comes to hiring, many aspects of the process are individual. A list of skills on a resume, a one-on-one interview, a focus on individual strengths, etc. What role does the team play in the hiring game?

In other words, hiring managers ask what individual candidates bring to the table.  Instead, they should look more closely at who already sits at the table.

Tip #1 Hire to Balance Team Skill Sets 

Hiring managers should take inventory of the skills and diversity of experience of their current team when hiring. For example, if a marketing team lacks a leader or a public speaker, target these skills in a new hire. “Every individual doesn’t have to possess superlative technical and social skills, but the team overall needs a healthy dose of both,” says Martine Haas and Mark Mortensen of Harvard Business Review. Practically speaking, this means that someone who has everything on paper for a position may not be the best hire for the current team. Think about balancing skills to maximize team performance.

Team members do not need to be carbon copies of one another. Teams work best when they can learn from different perspectives. “Diversity in knowledge, views, and perspectives, as well as in age, gender, and race, can help teams be more creative and avoid groupthink,” says Hass and Mortensen.

Also, consider the size of the team. Avoid creating teams that are too large because members may feel like they no longer have a voice in a larger group.

Tip #2: Hire a Fit to Team Culture 

When it comes to team culture, companies should focus on a new hire’s personality and culture preference.

Consider a candidate’s personality. Is the rest of the team easygoing and relaxed or formal and regimented?  At Artemis Consultants, for example, you will regularly see the team enjoying taco Tuesday, celebrating birthdays and work anniversaries, heading to happy hour, and enjoying other team building events. We are close-knit and comfortable being ourselves. Despite our sales-driven environment, we have found a way to work as a team. Someone who is introverted and private may not fit the team personality.

What type of professional culture is a candidate seeking? Artemis employees are relational. We hold one another accountable to best practices and we respectfully correct mistakes within the team. Does a candidate want a relational environment or prefer to work alone? Hiring managers should ask tough questions about how candidates work within a team.

In highly competitive roles like sales, questioning a candidate about teamwork may become even more important. Can a candidate support and affirm a teammate they directly compete against?

Tip #3: Hire Someone Who Believes in the Team’s Goals

Is a candidate personally invested in the mission of the company and want to meet the goals of the team?

Does a hiring manager know what the team’s goals are? Ideally, the job description should correlate to goals, but are these current team goals? It is always best to go to the team directly. What does success mean to this team?  Haas and Mortensen say, “People have to care about achieving a goal, whether because they stand to gain extrinsic rewards, like recognition, pay, and promotions; or intrinsic rewards, such as satisfaction and a sense of meaning.”  Consider if a new hire is personally invested in the team and company goals.

The pandemic has made teamwork more challenging than ever before. But positive work relationships remain crucially linked to high performance: “New research suggests that the highest-performing teams have found subtle ways of leveraging social connections during the pandemic to fuel their success,” says Ron Friedman of Harvard Business Review.  “A key reason the need for relatedness contributes to better performance at work is that it makes us feel valued, appreciated, and respected by those whose opinions we prize.”

To strengthen teams, consider these best practices of high performing teams (based on a 2021 survey of over 1,000 office workers):

  • They pick up the phone and talk
  • They run efficient meetings (pre-work, agenda, progress check)
  • They take the time to bond over non-work topics
  • They give and receive appreciation of one another

Is your top candidate a fit for your team? Turn to Artemis to coach you on team dynamics in hiring.

Written exclusively for Artemis Consultants by Content Writer Mellody Melville

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