arguably, the single most important characteristic of a great candidate is their ability to work in a team.
So how do you spot this essential ingredient?
Innovation, collaboration, performance, morale, engagement, retention – for an organisation to run effectively, staff need to be able to operate positively in a team environment.
The need to hire team players, of course, is nothing new. Hiring managers have almost always routinely screened new employees for their ability to be good teammates. But as technology advances, the speed at which change and innovation occurs, a healthy team environment has become increasingly important for maintaining a competitive edge.
The recruitment industry has learned a lot about what to look out for in a team player and what can happen when you get it wrong.
We look at the traits that reveal a candidate’s propensity for great teamwork (and yes, being a member of a sports team does help to build interpersonal skills that translate well in the workplace!).
- Valuing of team contributions as much, if not more, than individual contributions.
- The ability to provide input or, not just ‘go with the flow.'
- The ability to be a good, active listener.
- A history of working well in teams that consist of people with diverse backgrounds and interests.
- The ability to take negative or constructive feedback of their input or ideas without becoming defensive or withdrawing.
- The ability to vigorously argue about issues, without anger, and to disagree without being disagreeable.
- Confidence that doesn’t morph and can’t be construed as arrogance.
- In describing their team involvement, consider how often they use “I” as opposed to “we”.
It often helps to ask a candidate for their own definition of a team player.
A correct, clear and concise explanation likely means they recognise in themselves, and in others, the value of teamwork. Also, discuss what the candidate has learned from others – a team player should have a list as long as their arm.
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