Hiring for the Team not the Talent

By September 10, 2018 October 10th, 2018 Uncategorized

Hiring for the Team not the Talent

Wrong hires are often the result of a poor interview process. The world is full of stunning résumés and well-coached applicants. It is also full of interview processes that involve little more than subjective conversations. Most are filled with typical interview questions. Where do you want to be in five years? Blah, Blah, Blah! Then it’s cross your fingers, wait and see if this works out.


Here are some shortcomings with the typical hiring process.


  1. It’s about filling a position rather than recruiting the best person. The interviewer can be swayed by the candidate’s résumé, the candidate’s interview skills or an affinity with the candidate’s personality (or lack thereof). An open position is better than employing a person who will be detrimental in the long run.
  2. It’s about looking for a skill set rather than discovering the overall fit. It should be about the team and the culture as well. The interviewer can presume upon the candidate and the team they will be working alongside. A failure to scrutinize chemistry and character can be overlooked because of the candidate’s competency. Every hiring manager wants the “Lebron James” of their world.
  1. It’s about the standard job description rather than assessing the true needs. The interviewer is left with references to vet, job experiences to review and a task focused job description to employee the best candidate. Now they are trying to hire a square peg for a round hole. Other considerations must be given to qualifications, behavioral traits and skill sets needed for the candidate to be successful with the team, the culture and the mission.
  1. It’s about the compensation and benefits packages rather than casting the vision for the candidate’s role. The interviewer represents the company’s assets rather than the company’s vision, values and culture. The candidate becomes a hireling instead of a vital team member. A vision-oriented employee will serve but an entitled employee will only take.


How to break the mold? Here are some considerations that might be better than the normal template!


  1. Walk About Interview. Start in the conference room, applicants expect that setting. Now take them on a stroll through the offices. Prepare the team ahead of time. You could even have some of the lead staff dress down to disguise their positions.
  • How do they interact with people? Do they respond differently based upon position or do they treat everyone with the same regard? Look for character not charisma.
  • What type of questions do they ask? Do they want to know the how or do they want to discover the why? Look for passion not potential.
  • When do they get uncomfortable in conversations? Do they want to protect their image, or do they have relational struggles? Look for challenges not chemistry.


  1. Curveball Questions. Candidates are ready for the standard questions, now give them something from left field. Strategize with your interview team beforehand.
  • Get past the normal who, what, when and why’s of interviewing quickly.
  • Ask hypothetical questions about a variety of topics but always get to the why. For example:  If you were dying, what three people would you want closure with and why? You have unlimited resources, what two causes would you want to support and why? Three people survive a plane crash, how do you rescue them?
  • Look to discover their true self, not their interview self.


  1. Team Talk. The usual interview process involves one person with a questions and answers approach. Try a team approach based upon conversations and interactions. Let the candidate know ahead of time that they will be having this type interaction.
  • At some point, bring in players from a variety of departments.
  • Make the setting conversational by having some of the team tell their personal story with the organization. You can then ask the candidate to comment on their perspectives regarding culture, values or mission related within the story.
  • Allow the candidate to share their story with the team… ask them to focus on their why instead of their what… for example: “why did you enjoy doing that” instead of “what did you do?”
  • Look for their personality, their values, their passions and their vulnerability.


Set Expectations: Before they leave the interview!

  • When will they hear from you?
  • What are the remaining steps before a final decision?
  • What is the salary range for the position they are being considered for?

You want to clarify two things here:

1) What will be the starting salary?

2) What salary potential does the role have for their future?

  • Do they have a desire to continue in the process?

Hire for the team not for the talent.

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Bobby Bogard

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