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How to recruit high-performing teams

Kate Allen, Executive Chair and Marketing Director, Allen Associates

Life as a manager is a lot easier when you’re surrounded by a team of highly talented, hyper-productive people.

Unfortunately, the perfect candidates can’t be plucked from thin air: it takes time to build a high-performing team and finding the missing piece of the Recruitment puzzle is the real challenge. After all, successful teams grow from diverse foundations.

While it may be tempting to look for a candidate who shares the traits of your top-performers, this could potentially be detrimental to the teams’ dynamic. Each member of your team should bring something unique to the table that contributes to a common goal, but sourcing and selecting candidates that fit is a journey paved with pitfalls.

As the proverbial ‘war for talent’ shows no sign of abating anytime soon, Employers need to learn how to find and recruit the key players they need to build a high performing team. Here’s some advice:

Identify skills gaps

Whether you’re replacing a former employee or hiring for a new role, it’s essential to identify single points of failure (SPOFs) prior to the recruitment process. Consider the current situation - where are the skills gaps within your team? What specifically do you hope that the new recruit will offer that your present team members cannot? It may seem obvious, but it’s easy to ignore – especially if your focus is on the qualities and capabilities of the top talent that already exist in your team.

Clearly define the role

Once you’ve established the skills gaps, your next step should be to build a success profile that clearly defines the responsibilities, expectations and experience required of the successful candidate to perform a specific role. This should form the bulk of the job description. Remember, branded copy might be effective in selling your company’s values and culture, but it can also lead to confusion regarding the exact remit of the role and lead to lost interest from potential candidates.

Interview effectively

Once the preliminary screening is complete and your shortlist has been made, the interviews can begin. As an Employer, it’s tough to predict successful on-the-job performance based on an interview – how can you be sure they aren’t simply saying what you want to hear?

To avoid this pitfall altogether, we advise creating a set of standard questions and metrics to effectively compare each candidate’s performance. It’s important you ask the right questions, prompting behavioural examples while also allowing for more informal discussions to gauge whether their personality will gel with the wider team.

Keep the culture in mind

They may look like the perfect candidate on paper, but in person, it doesn’t feel right. If this sounds familiar, you’re certainly not alone. Research has shown that a staggering 81% of recruitment failures come from a personality mismatch, and if you are to avoid this, you should go with your gut. Sure, it seems like a flimsy measure but, ultimately, the person you choose to recruit will spend the majority of the week working closely with existing members of the team: therefore, if you don’t believe an individual you are interviewing will thrive in the workplace culture that has, so far, been successful in driving your team forward – there is no point in taking them on. Personality profiling has proved beneficial for employers, providing valuable insights on personality types and allowing them to hire candidates whose characteristics complement those of current team members.

Following these four tips will help to steer your Recruitment journey in the right direction. Above all, be patient. Building a high-performing team is not an easy task, but don’t lose hope. Keep on the look-out for talented minds and remember, good things come to those who wait.

For 20 years, we have supported many of Oxfordshire’s largest and fastest growing Employers and enabled them to find and attract the people they need most. If you are planning to hire for your organisation and would like to find out how we can help you, get in touch with the team today.