A recent study by Leadership IQ has revealed that it’s not a lack of technical ability that is responsible for the majority of new hire failures, but in fact inadequate teamwork skills. Therefore teamwork is arguably just as if not more important than technical skills when searching for the ideal candidate, in terms of securing a new employee that will succeed in their role. But most recruitment strategies are very much focused on technical ability, so how can you adapt your method in order to assess the applicants’ teamwork skills?
Ask the right questions.
It can be as simple as including some questions, after you’ve established their technical abilities, which reveal whether the candidate is truly a team player. You can then assess their answers, looking out for indicators that suggest their mindset is that of a team player. As well as the correct mindset you are listening for examples of teamwork in their previous roles, with particular attention paid to how often they use the terms ‘we’ and ‘us’ rather than the first person. Here are some examples of the questions you can include:
- Describe an instance in a previous role where you believe you were a good team player.
- Can you be a good team player even when you disagree with your boss?
- If another team member is suggesting an idea that you disagree with, how would you handle this?
- Describe the roles of your team members, as well as your own, when completing a project in a previous job.
Interview in a team environment.
Assessment centres are the perfect example of interviews that include focus on teamwork skills, with group exercises and psychometric tests allowing the employer to get an idea of how the candidates will fit into the company culture. Unfortunately, assessment centres can be costly therefore not all companies have the resources to offer them. However you can create a similar environment by conducting interviews with a team setting. For instance, invite five candidates to an interview with yourself and other senior members of the department. This gives you the opportunity to see how they react to both their competition and members of staff who are superior to them. If they are quick to build a rapport with their fellow applicants and not afraid to speak directly to the interview panel, then they are displaying the skills of a team player. Can they contribute and lead discussions without bulldozing over the other candidates? If so then you can be assured of their interpersonal skills as they have the ability to express their opinions, as well as listen to those of others.
Introduce them to the team.
Perhaps as a second stage interview technique, give your pick of the bunch an opportunity to tour the office and meet the team they would be working with. Take a step back, maybe even leave them for five minutes and assess them from afar on how well they cope with the situation. True team players will thrive on this opportunity to meet potential colleagues and try to win their approval. How your current team feel towards a new hire is important in terms of ensuring the new hire’s success. If there are any clashes of personality or bad feelings then this is likely to cause upset within the working environment and potentially lead to either the failure of your new employee or perhaps even the loss of a current one. Therefore by setting up introductions you can ensure you choose the best candidate for your role.
Of course possessing the technical skills needed for a role is important, but teamwork is crucial to any business therefore it’s worth ensuring your new hires have this skill. By making these adjustments to your recruitment strategy you can spot a good team player a lot easier than through methods focused purely on technical ability.