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Recruitment: Finding the Ideal Team Member – Guest Blog

I’ve been involved in recruitment for as long as I can remember. Recently it’s been in a professional setting, recruiting for a variety of roles from the VP of Operations for the 2016 Rio Olympics to sign-spinners advertising a phone company… like I said a WIDE variety of roles. However, I’ve been assembling teams for […]

I’ve been involved in recruitment for as long as I can remember. Recently it’s been in a professional setting, recruiting for a variety of roles from the VP of Operations for the 2016 Rio Olympics to sign-spinners advertising a phone company… like I said a WIDE variety of roles.

However, I’ve been assembling teams for as long as I can remember. I developed my amateur recruiting skills while picking players for my playground basketball team, and I continued to use the selection process in college when I learned the art of selecting the right classmates for a group project. Pro-tip: always pick the oldest person for your university group projects.

There are a variety of factors that go into a successful recruitment strategy, but I’d like to touch on two areas: Selection and Culture.

Selection is vital to correctly pick the right puzzle piece to make your organization stronger.

Culture is just as important because a good culture can turn one recruiter into 100 through employee referrals.


I feel like I’ve done a pretty good job in my selection process throughout the year, and I attribute that to one thing: diversity. It’s common for me to hear from managers and other recruiters that they only want to recruit “A-players” or find someone like “Dave” (Dave being the person who was in the position last). I think that’s great in the short-term but to really achieve a balanced and efficient team, you need diversity. A simple thought experiment would be to imagine an NBA team that only had point guards or centers. They could be the top five centers or point guards in the league, but they would struggle to win games against a well-balanced/diverse team.

I believe the ideal team has a mix of skillsets, and each member should feel comfortable voicing their opinion. The 90’s Chicago Bulls were extremely successful and a prime example of a diverse group with unique individuals coming together to do something great. If you look at Dennis Rodman separately, you’d probably think he would be a below-average NBA player. Once he was put into a situation where his skills were aligned with a role tailored to complement those skills, he became extremely successful and made the team stronger. When you put people into a position that complements their strengths, it allows them to be their authentic self.

This is why the pre-planning phase of recruitment is so important. Again, it’s common for a manager to think “Dave was just in this role, and he was a rockstar. Let’s hire someone exactly like Dave.” A successful recruitment strategy will take the time to breakdown the role and assess what skills are needed to be a successful member of the team. Once you have that, you can start comparing candidates to see how their skillset will complement everyone involved.

Employee engagement

Do your team members like each other enough to eat lunch together? If not, you may have a culture problem.


Culture is probably the question I get asked about the most during an interview. The standard question is “Tell me about your company’s culture,” but my favorite is “Do your employees eat lunch together?”  It sounds random at first, but I think it has some value in measuring a company’s culture.

You can be the best recruiter in the world and bring in a top candidate, but if the culture isn’t there, it’s not going to work. This is why you see sports team like the Patriots and the Spurs have continued success. They have a great culture, and they stick to it.

I mentioned this before, and I think it’s worth emphasizing – a company with a good culture will significantly help the recruitment process. Referrals are usually the strongest candidates in the pool, and I believe that’s because the employee who referred them gave them an honest view of our culture. This is exactly why I remind candidates they should be interviewing us as much as we are interviewing them. I want to give candidates a clear understanding of what they are signing up for and allow them an opportunity to ask questions to individuals who aren’t their potential manager or HR. That’s why we typically arrange a final interview with the candidate and their potential peers. We prompt them to bring questions since this is their chance to interview us; we’ll tell them what’s good and what’s not-so-optimal about working at our company. I don’t want to paint a perfect picture of a company and then have a new hire come in to find out that it’s not all roses and honey. That’s not going to work out for anyone involved, and it’ll start hurting our brand and overall business.

Sadly, culture is not a switch you can flip. It has to be tailored to the employee base and the identity of the company. According to research by Deloitte, 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe a distinct corporate culture is important to a business’ success. So, an investment of time and money in defining and improving your culture will return a solid ROI.

You’re probably wondering how this relates back to HR and Xceleration. Times are changing, and companies making a shift in their selection process and culture are seeing a huge impact to their business.

The days of trying to fit a new hire into a box because you want him to be like the last rockstar are fading. Roles should be set up to enhance an employee’s strengths and to complement the current team.

To support this new way of thinking, an agile employee incentive/reward program offers positive reinforcement and helps instill the cultural behaviors and standards of your company. Rewards can be tailored to fit an individual’s skillset and can be tied to your business goals.  This will empower your employees to be their authentic self and to truly excel. The client partners at Xceleration do a great job in developing these programs to match your organization, and they’ll continue to monitor the progress of the program to ensure success.

In return for empowering your employees, you’ll see a huge boost to your culture and your overall business.

Mike Andersen is an HR Business Partner at Xceleration.

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