The link between team formation and hiring is explicit. As a leader, you need to know what you want and need in your people — before you decide what is achievable. If you put the what before the whom, you may find yourself with a strong disconnect between your goals and the talent you hired to help reach them. Objectives are achieved because of the people involved, not despite them.
There are four key steps to hiring the talent it will take to build an amazing team and achieve your objectives. Apply them in sequence, and at each stage, convene with your hiring team to discuss the performance of each candidate and reach consensus on who to advance, and why. That’s how you build a dream team, and avoid costly hiring mistakes:
- Screening. Screening starts even before there are people involved. First, create a great job description. According to Glassdoor.com, an effective job description will make candidates aware of your open jobs and your organization; target qualified candidates (and save time spent looking at the wrong resumes); optimize your recruiting budget by attracting the ideal candidates and discouraging those less than ideal; and prevent “Buyer’s Remorse” by providing all the information hires need to come on board with no regrets.
Then, leverage behavior-based interviewing — which predicts future performance based on past situational behavior — to screen for the application of skills, knowledge, and experience. Make sure to set the minimum bar for applicants to proceed to the next round.
- Assessing for Culture Fit. Just because a candidate has the requisite knowledge, skills, and experience for a given job, that does not mean they will fit into your company culture. By separating cultural fit from the behavioral screening process, you signal to both the applicant and your organization that fit is as important as ability.
To maximize this step, you need to intrinsically understand and clearly articulate the cultural values that matter to your company and your team. If your company culture is relaxed, ask questions to assess what the candidate does to relax and de-stress. If your culture is competitive, ask questions to assess how the candidate feels about winning.
- Making a Business Case.Candidates with the right behaviors and cultural values should then demonstrate their ability through a practical business case presentation. The value of a good business case is that it allows you to peek inside the candidate’s brain and assess their ability to analyze information, prioritize, influence, and execute a plan.
- Do a W.H.O.M. assessment. W.H.O.M.stands for work ethic, heart, optimism,and maturity. These are the basic building blocks of a great team member — someone who works diligently toward objectives, shares a passion for their work, seeks solutions rather than succumbing to obstacles, and has the maturity to navigate inevitable disappointments and conflicts without losing focus on shared goals.
An interview should include questions that uncover work ethic — reliability, dedication, productivity, cooperation, and self-discipline; heart — values, motivators, outside interests, career goals, energizers, generosity, and courage; optimism — a candidate’s solution orientation, agility, flexibility, judgment, curiosity, and resilience; and maturity — how a candidate makes difficult decisions, handles conflict, builds productive relationships, and manages negative emotions.
The way we work has evolved — business success relies not on the talent of individual stars, but on the power of high performing teams. It’s collective talent that comes up with astounding innovations and effective, actionable solutions, not one or two standouts. That means leadership must be able to attract, identify and hire the best candidates not just for their individual potential, but their potential as part of a team. With a great team in place, it’s up to leaders to unleash the potential in its DNA — and unlock the key to fast-tracking stellar team performance.
Omar L. Harris hails from Pittsburgh, PA and is passionate about leading teams, high- performance coaching, and inspiring more people to adopt the servant leader mindset. He is a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach; a bestselling, award-winning author; independent publishing guru; entrepreneur; and 20-year veteran of the global pharmaceutical industry. He is the author of One Blood, From Authors to Entrepreneurs F.A.T.E., and Leader Board: The DNA of High Performance Teams (TPC Books, April 18, 2019). He resides in Sao Paulo, Brazil, is General Manager of Allergan PLC, and is presently working on the sequel to Leader Board — Halo: The Mission of High Performance Teams. Learn more at www.omarlharris.com.