Establishing a team or appointing new team members is the responsibility of the leader. Find the best candidates to form a balanced and dynamic team, either through internal promotion or external recruitment and help them to feel part of the team.
Avoid appointing a candidate simply because you are short-staffed.
When recruiting team members, look for their growth potential.
Cast the widest possible net, and spend as much time as needed on the selection process. Draw up a list of criteria, essential characteristics, and skills that the appointee must have. Make sure that the criteria are relevant. A common mistake is to insist on “industry experience”, when research shows that it bears little relationship to success in the job. Candidates who fulfill all your criteria will be rare, so be prepared to be flexible at the selection stage.
Internal promotion is not only cheaper, but tells everybody that they have the opportunity to rise, which is the satisfying form of reward. Leaders should constantly be on the look-out for abilities that can be exploited in higher-level teams. When recruiting internally, give consideration to the morale of other staff, who may feel that they have been passed over. Explain clearly to all concerned why the person that you selected is right for these assignment, and emphasize that there will be other opportunities. Then allow your candidate to prove you right.
Take into account the feelings of staff when promoting internally.
For any team to function effectively there must be a balance of technical, problem-solving, decision-making, and interpersonal skills among its members. The ideal group will be creative yet disciplined, able to generate new ideas and find solutions to difficulties, and at the same time, organized enough to plan and implement a atask within a given timescale.
MAKING AN INTERNAL APPOINTMENT
Announce the appointment to staff and ensure that they understand your reasons for selecting the candidate.
When a referee has reservations, always probe more deeply.
Ask candidates what they did really well in their previous jobs.
Ensure there are no interruptions during interviews.
Allow 45 minutes for an interview, preferably with one colleague, or at most, two, joining in. Keep your own talking to a minimum. You want the candidate to say as much as possible about their understanding of the job, your company, their past performance. What did they do best? You are interested in their strengths first, weaknesses second. Observe them carefully, taking into account body language and appearance.
Psychometric tests and handwriting analysis (graphology) are sometimes used to evaluate candidate’s suitability. But these methods are not substitute for personal judgment, reinforced by the person’s track record and references, and by any appropriate skill tests. Conflicts and rivalry within groups are counter-productive, so avoid candidates who display a degree of personal assertiveness that may fracture the team spirit.
ASSESING A CANDIDATE
Observe the candidate carefully. Keep your checklist of attributes and skills in front of you, and make sure that you address them all. Above all, do not ignore your intuition or your personal reaction-it is very important that you actually like the candidate. Ask yourself whether the candidate seems “nice” and if he or she will fit in.
Learning from Recruits
A leader can learn a great deal from new recruits by exploiting their knowledge of other organizations, methods, or ideas. They have the advantage of an outsider’s eye, before being assimilated into your company’s ways. Make time for conversations with recruits, asking them for their first impressions. Acting on their suggestions is an important way of promoting their confidence.
EASING IN RECRUITS
Help new employees to learn about their new environment and master the work by appointing suitable colleagues to act as “nursemaid” while they settle in.
Question to Ask Yourself
Q What did I do wrong – did I recruit poorly?
Q Did the person lacks the necessary support?
Q Have circumstances changed so that the person no longer fits the original job?
Q Is there another job in which they could succeed?
Recruitment failures will inevitably occur, however much trouble has been taken. Whenever you contemplate dismissing somebody, always ask yourself “why has this happened?”. Learn from your analysis, and if the person can be “saved” by making changes, make them. If not, do not allow the person to stay after you have, consciously and subconsciously, decided against it. Explain your reason fully to the individual, and be as generous as possible in negotiating severance. Also, ensure that co-workers know what has happened and why.