Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Recruiting For The Team You Have

At some point, every manager has a hole in their team that they need to fill. Hiring great candidates challenges even the most tenured manager, and several situations necessitate making sure that the new hire fits perfectly with the team that you already have in place. Here's how you can ensure that your new hire complements your established team.

Know The Situation

Several situations require extra special care to make sure that your new hire fits in with the existing team like a glove. As you find yourself with a spot to fill, you need to know how important your existing team's compatibility with the new addition need to be. Look for these key indicators:
  • Established Team - The longer your team has been together, the tighter their bonds and abilities to work together will be. 
  • Small Team - The fewer people on the team, the more group dynamic will affect their performance.
  • Extremely High Performers - High performance across the board will suffer more from a talent drain if you hire the wrong person. 
  • Social Interactions - If your team frequently goes out for happy hours and social events (with or without you), they likely need a team member to join in the camaraderie. 
  • Loss of Leader - If the new person replaces someone who left a vacancy in leadership, either formal or informal, the team will be looking for someone to fill that vacuum. If you are not hiring another lead, help them find leadership within their own ranks, but recognize the need for a new person to gel.
If your team has one or more of these characteristics, you definitely need to hire the right addition. If you are looking at multiples, you should be even more careful in how you could impact the team dynamic.

Focus on personality as well as skills

Obviously, if you have lost a skill position, you need to fill that gap. Football teams cannot recruit linebackers to fill an empty wide receiver spot. A law firm would not recruit someone without a law degree to fill an open attorney spot. Your next CFO did not likely come from marketing, though your CMO might have.

That said, when you have a team dynamic at risk, you must interview for personality as well as skills. How the person will fit in with the existing team members and their performance may hold as much weight in your interview as questions around their fitness to perform the actual job duties.

Let the team interview the final candidates

One option that I have seen work effectively in some organizations is allowing the team to interview the final candidates and provide feedback into the process. You as the manager obviously make the final decision around hiring, but taking your team's feedback into account will give you a sense of their feelings and reactions toward the new individual. I would recommend you limit the number of candidates that cycle through the team interview, so the team does not get fatigued of interviewing candidates. Likewise, I would recommend either a team interview or a limited number of small group interviews so that you are not putting the candidates through too much of a gauntlet, particularly for those that won't get the job.

If your team has a high need to gel together, you as the manager have a responsibility to help find the right candidate to join the team, either as a new addition or replacement. You don't have to hold that responsibility by yourself, though. If you can recognize your team's need for a tight relationship with their new member, you can leverage your insight into their personalities and their own feedback on candidates to be able to identify the right fit for the puzzle.

How else can you ensure a key fit? Let me know on Twitter by filling in this tweet.

Image credit: skeeze via Pixabay