Hiring is one of the biggest challenges most businesses face. And part of what makes it so challenging is that you can’t just look at a candidate from an analytical point of view. Sure, things like education, work experience, and industry certifications matter, but so do intangibles like personality, drive, and focus. If you want to hire someone who is a “team player,” you have to do your research.
3 Tips for Finding and Hiring Team Players
On every great sports team, there’s much more to success than meets the eye. While all of the attention and admiration from fans and media go to the star player, the success of the team is just as much a result of team players who fulfill their roles behind the scenes.
The same is true in business. While some companies have a hotshot or two who make a lot of noise, it’s the other employees – the team players – who make or break success.
The biggest challenge isn’t finding all-star talent – it’s recruiting and hiring team players who care about the business and do what’s best for those around them. And the following suggestions should give you a starting point for finding and hiring team players who put your business first.
- Review Resumes for Loyalty
What do you typically look for when reviewing resumes for candidates? If you’re like most managers, you review things like degrees, work history, and employment background. But if you want really good team players, you should also be looking at intangibles like loyalty.
You can tell a lot about an employee’s loyalty by studying how long they’ve stayed with previous employers. Does the candidate have a tendency to jump ship every couple of years, or do they stay put?
While not always true, employees who stay put tend to care more about the company than those who bounce around. Keep this in mind as you sift through resumes and speak with references.
- Study Their Interactions
Hiring managers often talk about the importance of paying attention to how a candidate acts in the interview, but this is a little overblown. A candidate is obviously going to treat the interviewer with respect. What you should really care about is how the candidate treats people when he doesn’t know anyone is watching.
Ridgeline Partners spends a lot of time working with clients to help build strong company cultures that allow organizations to reach their full potential. And when it comes to hiring team players, they encourage hiring managers to observe how candidates interact with the receptionist before and after an interview.
If you’re taking a potential hire out to lunch, watch how they engage the wait staff and other restaurant patrons. Are they aware of what’s going on around them, or are they so self-centered that they tune everyone else out? Details like these matter.
- Look for These Three Traits
In his book, The Ideal Team Player: How to Recognize and Cultivate The Three Essential Virtues, author Patrick Lencioni carefully outlines the three traits that recruiters should look for when hiring selfless employees. They are:
- Humble. Thinks less of self and more of others.
- Hungry. Aggressively pursues good goals.
- Smart. Is emotionally smart in interactions with others.
While these three traits are valuable, an employee who possesses only one of them can actually be more harmful than good. You should be on the lookout for hires who have at least two of these traits (and ideally all three).
Give Employees a Reason to Care
While certain employees have intrinsic qualities and proclivities that make them more likely to be team players, there’s only so much that an employee can do on their own. At the end of the day, you have to give employees a reason to care about your business.
What is it that makes your company special? How do you treat your employees? Does your culture support employees as individuals, or merely as workers? When you think about your company culture within the context of questions like these, you can begin to shift your focus and give employees the nourishment they need to reciprocate the same care and selflessness.