Help with Identifying Team Players

With the market for talent not likely to get better in 2022 along with the potential risks and costs with hiring too quickly, companies are having to rethink some outdated hiring and recruiting practices. One of the areas that may need some rethinking is interviewing. Stronger interviewing can reduce the risk of hiring the wrong person, especially as companies look to increase the efficiency of their recruiting process.

Hiring excellent people has always been a challenge. How do you evaluate and assess candidates in what has been described as “speed dating on steroids?” Realistically, more time. But since no one is a Marvel superhero with a time gem, we’ll have to settle for a solid understanding of what you’re looking for and some really good interview questions that aren’t just about a candidate’s skills or experience to do the job. Patrick Lencioni, the author of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team and The Ideal Team Player, has some advice that can aid in this process. Excellent employees are easy to identify he says, they are team players.

These are people that exhibit three core “virtues” of a team player, they are Humble, Hungry and Smart. To avoid confusion, Patrick Lencioni defines Humility as the lack of ego. It is the focus on collective, rather than individual, success. He defines Hunger as the commitment to doing a job well, self-motivated, and diligent. And finally, he defines Smart as a person’s common sense about people, being interpersonally appropriate and aware. Individually, these “virtues” do not make a team player. It is the chemistry of the three, when combined properly, that define a true team player.

Interviewing is a critical component to identifying these attributes. Patrick Lencioni also has some advice about interviewing and how to identify these “virtues” in these people.

  • Conduct interviews as teams- 2 or 3 people on the interview team meeting with the candidate at the same time.
  • Debrief as an interview team as soon as possible after each interview.
  • Ignore hunches and if there is a doubt about something a candidate has said, ask for clarification or probe with additional questions.
  • Target an interview question on each of the attributes you are looking for will aid in assessing candidates.
  • Ask questions to better understand the character of the candidate like proudest accomplishment or how they handled a mistake at work.
  • And finally, try to avoid generic interviews. Generic interviews only produce vague, general assessments of candidates.

Beware of asking too many of these open-ended and conversation provoking questions in one meeting. They do take time and can prevent a hiring team from assessing the candidate’s skills. Too many questions can have a negative impact on the candidate experience by turning the interview into an interrogation.

The result of this rethinking the interview will aid tremendously in identifying true team players to join the team. As an added bonus, it can also allow managers and business owners to assess current employees and truly harness the capabilities of their existing teams. The impact of a group of people committed to the success of their team and the company cannot be underestimated and should be self-evident.

By: Dave Forbes


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