How to Hire for a Stronger Team


Not everyone can work well together. Just because two people on the same team have decades of common experiences (their college majors, industry and employer) doesn’t mean that they’ll be a match made in heaven. When you’re charged with making the next addition to a team, finding a good fit for that team should be one of your top priorities. While many hiring managers might set out with this notion whistling cheerfully through their brain pan, few actually take the time to evaluate what a good fit for the team actually means.

Is this team from a diverse collection of backgrounds or have almost all of them been recruited from the same school or competitor? Is this a social, tight-knit team that you’re hiring for or do they prefer to just keep their heads down and work? Is this team lacking a technological or niche market skill set that could make them more valuable to your company? These are the sort of questions that you should use to guide your investigation of the team that you’re about to hire for. After all, if you want to replace a part of anything, shouldn’t you always take a good look at what you’re working with before you get started?

This is “Team Building” week on the Accolo blog and, like organizing a successful activity for your employees, the success of a hire made for any team has a lot to do with how well you understand that team. Just like a lame company trip to the Knitting Museum, a hire that clashes with the dominant personality types of your team will not earn you much popularity. In order to make a hire that sticks (someone who doesn’t wash out or drive everyone crazy), your first move should be to sit down with some members of the team that you’re hiring for. Who are these people? Are they an enclave of IT wizards with long, flowing beards, hair and cargo shorts? Are they a bunch of high powered pros that run 7 miles on the tread mill before the rest of us are done hitting the snooze button? Though most teams won’t have this exaggeratedly homogeneous makeup, sitting down with the top performers will give you an idea of who your hire has to work well with. The last thing you want is for your hire to be a burden on your A-Players.

After you’ve taken a while to familiarize yourself with the team and the ways in which they work and interact, the next thing you should evaluate is what skills would be most valuable in a new hire. Is this team lagging behind in technology that’s widely used in your industry? Would someone who was whiling to impart some of their technical experience be an invaluable skill boost for the newer members of the team? Do you even need to update this team’s collective skill set or should you just hire someone qualified who will get along with the team’s top performers? The bottom line is that a good hire for a team is highly dependent on that team. If you’ve been trying to fit square pegs through round holes, then it’s no wonder that past additions to this team haven’t worked out. So get to know the team that you’re hiring for. It’s the best way get an idea of what sort of hire will actually work out in a lasting way.


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