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Step change or a safe pair of hands?

When recruiting you can either recruit somebody who will fit into the current team really easily – “a safe pair of hands”; or you can recruit somebody who won’t blend into the current team, but who will “create a step change” and will change the balance of the team.  This decision needs careful consideration and can have major ramifications.

Through our experience as recruiters we can identify whether somebody will be a fit or not.  It certainly comes through in the briefing and interview process and if we want to be completely confident, we can undertake psychometric testing, role-plays or possibly team interviews.

The advantage of bringing in somebody who fits the culture and can easily build up relationships with the current team, is that they become effective quickly.  The transition is smoother and takes more limited management time.  They won’t ruffle any feathers with the current team and they feel supported and at home quickly.  This is great, unless you want to use the new team member to encourage a cultural change, bring in a fresh perspective or deliberately change the balance of the team.

If you bring in somebody who you know will cause a step change, you need to be prepared to support them and the existing team through the transition.  There is likely to be some upset with the current team members and it will be important that you manage these situations and this is going to take up your management time.

Clearly we can help with the decisions and understanding potential ramifications as part of the overall recruitment process. Psychometric testing and understanding team roles can help with this transition and the coaching needed to make the change successful.

What makes a strong team?

A strong team is greater than the sum of its parts.  It requires the individual team members to understand their roles within the team and to pull their weight.  The team members need to recognise their own strengths, weaknesses and working styles, as well as those of  other.  This enables the team members to support one another help one another develop and to know how they can be most effective.

To make a team really strong, you need a good mix of skills, experience and styles.  This enables the team to come at an issue from different angles and ensures that all possible solutions are considered.  At the same time the team needs a strong vision which all the team members are working towards; as well as a strong leader who is prepared to make final decisions.  Without a strong leader, the team can potentially implode, allowing the loudest voice to drive the direction of the team.

Good communication is also vitally important to the team functioning fully.  Communication is made easier when the team members actually like and respect one another.  To build up a rapport between the team members, they need to spend time together and share some experiences.  This investment of time is essential to ensure that the team really gels together.

Many companies use psychometric testing to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the team members, to identify the roles that the team members naturally take and to provide a framework for discussion about their team roles.  This kind of testing also helps the team identify what skills are missing from the team and so can help to inform the person specification for any recruitment to the team.

When to psychometrically test?

There are a number of techniques and processes in recruitment, all of which aim to ensure that you recruit the best person for the role and your company.  One such technique is psychometric testing.  Psychometric testing is time-consuming and is an added expense to the cost of recruitment.  So why do many companies use testing and when should you consider it?

Your senior team may have already undertaken psychometric testing to help the team members understand each others’ strengths, weaknesses and working styles, enabling them to manage the business more effectively.   The psychometric testing may have revealed that you have a particular gap in the senior team.  If this is the case, it is important that we fill those gaps so you have a well-rounded and effective senior team.  It is therefore essential that we undertake psychometric testing for the recruitment of new team members.

Where you haven’t undertaken psychometric testing of the current team, is there any point to psychometrically test the prospective new recruits?  It really depends on what you are looking to achieve with the testing.  If you know that you are looking for certain skills, personal attributes or styles relevant to the role, then it can be useful to undertake testing.  The information obtained through the process can reveal useful information as to a possible recruit’s individual strengths, weaknesses and working style. With regards to your team too, if you know you are looking for someone to fill a particular gap (maybe someone who can provide structure, keep the team on track or come up with new ideas for example) then testing can of also help.  If you don’t have this clarity over the type of skills, person and manager you are looking for, it is pointless to undertake any form of psychometric testing.

At the end of the day we can use properly validated, role relevant and standardised psychometric testing to introduce measurable and objective data, bringing a degree of “science” into the recruitment process. This information though needs to sit as part of the whole recruitment process to ensure the best fit for the vacancy you are looking to fill.

Matching Candidates to Cultures

We have already written recently about the use of social media to help build your relationship with potential candidates.  A candidate’s understanding of your company culture is so important.  Recruiting someone with the right skills and knowledge but the wrong cultural fit, can be disruptive to the current team and is time-consuming when the individual leaves quickly and you have to go through the recruitment process again.

The first step is that you need to understand your culture.

Define your values

Being able to define your company culture and understanding what it is that glues your company and its employees together is not easy.  Your marketing department or agency might already use a marketing profile in order to define your customers and this can reflect your culture and values.  You might speak to employees about how they would define your company culture and work style.

Many organisations have a defined set of ‘values’– these should reflect your core beliefs as a business and are a good starting point to help you to decide on the fit of your selected candidate(s).  Think about your company’s work style, decision-making processes and communication styles.  All of these should point to the kind of person who does, and will do, well in your organisation.


Rethinking your recruitment process

Understanding your organisational culture will help us in identifying individuals who are more likely to fit with your organisation.  We will use this to help us rethink the recruitment process.  For instance if the culture is inclusive and working as part of a team is essential, we may encourage you to allow them to meet the rest of the team;  if the culture requires fast decision-making, we may provide certain exercises to test their ability to make fast decisions under pressure.

Using recruitment to change the culture

In some instances, clients are actively seeking to change their organisational culture, and recruiting people who do not fit the current culture is necessary to help encourage change.  In these circumstances, it is essential that we are open and honest with the candidate.  They need to understand that they will facilitate the change, and there is bound to be some uncomfortable moments as the culture starts to change.

We advise our clients on all these issues and the best approach to take.  To find out more call us now.

Social Media and Recruitment

The adoption of social media is rife.  You may network with colleagues and fellow professionals on Linked-in; share holiday photos on Facebook; or Tweet like a bird.  Regardless, you, your company and the candidates you hope to attract will be using one, if not all of these social media channels.


So how does social media support the recruitment process?


Building Relationships

Candidates have an even greater number of resources to learn more about your company.  They can follow the company on Linked-in and Twitter – and possibly Facebook.  They can look up individuals within the company via Linked-in.  It is therefore essential that the company’s key messages are being communicated on social media channels.


Of course social media works both ways – companies can also do some background checks on a candidate via social media, and gain a real insight into who they are and their overall approach, not just to work, but also to life generally.


The openness that social media provides can be a real positive, making it much more obvious if a candidate will fit in with a company’s culture and ways of working.


So with such openness is there still a role for recruitment consultants?

With all these different social media channels making employers and candidates more open and approachable, the next question must be “is there still a role for recruitment consultants?”  Well unsurprisingly, the answer is – yes!


We add value to the whole recruitment process, ensuring that the right candidate fills the right role.  First of all, we work with companies to help them understand the skills, knowledge and experience they are looking for from the candidates.  We then undertake the search – speaking to individuals who may not necessarily be proactively looking for a new role, but who we believe would be ideal for the role and the company.  We manage the whole recruitment and communication process from start to finish, ensuring that there is complete clarity about what the other brings.


In summary

Social media can be powerful in understanding what’s important to a company and a candidate; but it can’t fill the shoes of a good recruitment consultant.  To find out how gki can fill your recruitment need contact us now.


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