TL;DR

How: Listen, question and research

How to Sieve Out The Team Players During The Hiring Process

Separate the wheat from the chaff in three simple steps.

Published:   |   Updated:   |   Posted in ,

Teamwork is critical to the success of any organisation. Strong team players can propel companies forward, increase productivity and improve culture. Yet, many recruiters spend very little time focusing on assessing team skills in their hiring mistakes.

Here are some essential tips that ensure your next hire is an effective team player:

Keep a lookout for candidates who focus on how others posed obstacles, seem to deflect all blame and refuse to take any responsibility throughout their narrative, especially if this is across different experiences.

1. Listen carefully for soft cues

As the candidate talks through their background and achievements, were the pronouns used more of ‘we’ and ‘us’ than ‘me’ and ‘I’? Have they mentioned the contributions of others in achieving their goals? Keep a lookout for candidates who focus on how others posed obstacles, seem to deflect all blame and refuse to take any responsibility throughout their narrative, especially if this is across different experiences. This is usually a red flag indicating they struggle to collaborate with their coworkers.

2. Ask the right questions

Certain interview questions can help you gain further insights on how the candidate acts in team situations. Questions you can ask include:

  1. Give me an example of when you disagreed with a colleague. How did you deal with it?
  2. What do you believe makes a team successful? What role do you typically play in a team?
  3. Give an example where you have worked together with different stakeholders to work to achieve an outcome. What made it successful?
  4. Have you had to work with a virtual team? If yes, what did it require to build a strong team culture virtually?

3. Do thorough reference checking

Wherever possible, do a reference check with each of these stakeholders to get the full picture on the candidate’s relationship dynamics within teams.

Past performance can be the best indicator of a candidate’s ability to collaborate effectively as they would have already demonstrated their team skills in their previous roles. Ensure you focus on team skills systematically in your reference checking and ask about the candidate’s relationships with his peers, superiors and subordinates. Wherever possible, do a reference check with each of these stakeholders to get the full picture on the candidate’s relationship dynamics within teams.

Tulika is the founder of Snaphunt, a specialist hiring platform that matches talent to roles for a skill and culture fit. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

This article first appeared on Snaphunt’s blog.

Featured image by Pixabay from Pexels


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I am a senior leader with 20 years of international experience predominantly in the recruitment industry. I am passionate about taking the pain out of hiring and hence founded Snaphunt.com. I am also the author of 'Alice inCorporateland', a personal development book on achieving career success. When I am not at work you will find me catching up on the latest movies and TV shows, enjoying a good glass of wine and spending quality time with my family.
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