Building the High-Octane Team!! PART 1 - PREPARATION

HandshakeMany times over my career I have had the opportunity to build a team. In fact, building teams – helping others grow in their careers, identifying up-and-coming talent, coaching individuals to the next step in their career – is a true passion of mine. It is so much fun working with individuals interested in investing in themselves and who are passionate about making a positive impact on the team, organization, the community and beyond.

In working within different organizational environments, with different leadership teams, with managers…and leaders, under multiple HR strategies for talent identification and development, I have found several “constants” that I always consider when building the high-octane team. Of course, these work for me given by whole-brained, ESTJ, high-I self – and may be different for you and your organization.

Part 1: Preparation

Job Description: If you don’t know what you are looking for, you will never find it. It all starts with clearly defining the skills, knowledge, abilities and cultural characteristics of the individual needed for the role – and articulating it in a job description. Many organizations provide a standard job description to a hiring manager once a role is open. As a leader, it is imperative that the job description, and associated responsibilities / expectations, be clearly defined prior to posting the position. This is not only important in framing up the decision criteria for making a hire but also for prospective candidates in evaluating their skills vs. the position requirements.

Process Clarity: Before the position is posted, HR and the hiring manager must be on the same page regarding the process – who will do what once resumes begin to flow into the pipeline. Depending on the person, this process will always have unique nuances. Who screens resumes? Who schedules interviews? Who schedules follow-up interviews? Who will manage feedback from interviews? Some leaders are very hands-on and wish to drive the entire process from interview scheduling through decision. Some lean into the HR leader to manage the plan and only commit to conducting interviews. Either way, it must be clear to ensure the process runs quickly and efficiently.

Measurement Criteria: Most interview processes require more than one interview and involve more than one individual. One way to easily consolidate and review results is to create a table outlining measurement criteria and results by individual. This should directly tie to criteria defined when initially creating or posting the role. By doing this, you ensure that everyone on the interview panel is on the same page with the hiring decision – or at least in the loop with the direction. This also can assist in supporting the decision process.

Get Beyond The Process: The interview is not about an individual nailing the case-study method. Or the STAR (Situation – Task – Action – Result) format. Or a personality test. It is truly about finding the right person with the right fit for the role / team / organization. One mistake often made in the interview process is being so focused on the interview process that one loses site of the individual candidate. The process is essentially a tool that drives conversation and engagement between individuals who most likely have very little familiarity.

Plan to Say No: The reality is for only one job, there is only one candidate selected. As a leader, the right thing to do is personally call each of the candidates that were not selected and share the news. This is often the most challenging part of the process and yet, one of the most crucial as the way this is handled leaves a lasting impression of the organization and "you."