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EduJay's tips, tricks, and best practices in leadership, learning, and personal and professional development.

Hiring a New Employee? Tips for Finding the Best Team Player

As your business grows, the time will come when growing teams within each department is a necessity, and that means looking through resumes or using an online matching service to help you find good candidates. If you're new to hiring candidates, you might be wondering what you should look for to help weed out the best ones. There are several areas to look at when deciding on a candidate, though some do have greater weight than others. 


Look at Their Educational Background 

Education is certainly not the ultimate qualifier when it comes to a job position. Candidates certainly need the personal skills to succeed in the workplace that simply getting a formal education will not provide. Nonetheless, if they have studied in a field conducive to your open position and have certifications as well, that certainly is important. Just keep in mind that the size and prestige of the university the candidate went to doesn't make them any more qualified than one who has better overall skills but came from a smaller college.


Examine Previous Experiences with Teamwork 

Whether it's on their resume or in an interview, probably the most important characteristic you're looking for in the candidates is their ability to work with a team. When you look at their past employment history, you should look for evidence of teamwork in past work performance. Look at certain characteristics or ask questions to see if they took leadership in the group to get things delegated or done on time. Have they been willing to make personal sacrifices to help others on the team? Have they done well when they've had high pressure deadlines to meet? These are all areas you can evaluate when looking for a team player candidate. 


Check Their Ability to Communicate 

While this goes hand in hand with being a team candidate, it really can't be emphasized enough. The most important quality in a candidate is their communication ability. In sports, a team cannot function without full uninhibited communication between all players and coaches, and likewise your company needs the same from all of its employees. Candidates who can communicate very well are often good at fitting in with your company's culture, and they will be on the same page as their coworkers more times than not. They will also be better at handling and resolving conflict. Generally, when you interview candidates, you will be able to tell if they have good interpersonal communication skills. 


The bottom line is the right candidate won't be someone trying to impress you with what he or she knows; the right candidate will demonstrate strong teamwork skills. You need to pick the person who not only understands teamwork, but also understands the value of your company's culture and can mesh with it. Sometimes, a candidate referral from someone you know can also help.

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