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  • Writer's pictureCraig Risi

Building a successful team – Part 2 – Choosing your successful team

It perhaps should go without saying that recruitment is one of, if not the most important aspect of any company. The type of talent you can attract will determine the type of company you will become. It is also one of those things that when you get it wrong, it can be costly to a company not just financially, but from a team morale perspective as well, which is why teams and companies need to always focus heavily on it.

And while I can’t go through exact specifics of questions that you should ask as this should be varied and catered to the individual in question, there clear guidelines of what and when you should be looking for certain things that will help you identify whether a person is suitable for a job in your organization or team.


It's perhaps obvious, but that the first thing you need to look at is the competence of the individual. While culture and team fit are very important to an individual, if they can’t do the job at hand, then there is no point in hiring them.

Identify whether a person is fit for the job should always be the first focus on any recruitment activity. While this many require a multi-pronged approach because it takes time to dig into the competence of an individual, you need ot be able to identify fairly quickly whether a person has the necessary skills for the job. This can easily be determined through looking at their CV and existing experience, having a short telephonic interview that is focused on specific technical questions which give you the answers you are looking for and some sort of assessment or tasks that allows the person to showcase their abilities. 


This is essentially a person’s motivation for any given role. Now when you are interviewing potential candidates they are more than likely always going to sway their answers towards a positive motivation for the position at hand, but this can also be further assessed by asking what they do in their spare time or how they are looking to get better at what they do or exploring some focused questions on a particular cultural fit aspect you are trying to dig into. You essentially want to look for someone who is not only capable of doing the job, but sees it as a long term commitment for them and something that they are eager to grow in. If people aren’t going to get better, they are going to stagnate and this is an area that needs to be correctly assessed.


This is probably the most important aspect of a person, but one of the hardest to assess and so can only be looked at later in the process. Assessing a person’s integrity is hard, but some aspect of question and or assessment should deal with aspects of who a person is in certain situations. You don’t want a highly skilled and motivated person who lacks integrity and is willing to take the short cuts to look good and would rather have a person who is open and honest about their short failings and takes responsibility for fixing them.

Lines of questioning around this should focus on situations a person has found themselves in and how they have reacted to it in the past. You might not have enough time to be able to dig really deep in this area, but you definitely need to probe it as much as possible. After all, you are hiring someone who is going to do work for you for an extended period of time and so adding 20 minutes to your recruitment process to better identify these points is vital. 


This last point is something you don’t even need to ask too many questions around or assess further, as you should easily be able to get along with the person you are looking to recruit. If the person has all the above three criteria ticked, but you don’t quite think you or the team will be able to handle their different personality, it might be better to still hold out for a better fit. This obviously depends on the skills of the hiring manager and cultural flexibility of the team, but should nonetheless, not be compromised on.

Once a person ticks all four of these boxes, then I would certainly look to bring them on-board with your team. The nice thing with this though, is while the search to tick all these boxes will seem hard at first, once you have started to establish the right kind of individuals in your team, then it will naturally start to attract similarly minded individuals either through word of mouth or reputation and it will allow your teams and organization to naturally evolve and develop.

However, bringing people in is only a short term focus, you also need to build an environment where they can thrive and develop long term. Which I will discuss in part 3 next week.



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