6 Tips for Building a Strong, Synergistic Team
By Tim Bailey, Director of Operations, Bond Collective
Building a strong team is like putting together a puzzle whose pieces evolve over time and fit in more than one place. There’s no cover picture to know what you’re building, but you just know you’ll be able to step back and be happy with the final product. Skill sets, company goals, and people in general change over time, but being able to anticipate their growth is imperative to your company’s goals and success. It's about instinct and intuition. It's about strategy and creativity. It's about gathering a group of people that is greater than any one person within it, and propels your company towards success. While our hiring journey is far from over, below are a few of my go-to tactics when tackling professional speed-dating.
Cast a broad net for applicants to find you
This means you need to complete the logistics - post the opportunity on your website, email old applicants, review open applications, connect with recruiters, comb through job sites. This pool serves as the first source for any hiring process. Also, if you are reopening a position again, make sure you leave conversations open with candidates you liked previously, but didn't hire so that you can reach out to them with your next opening.
In terms of websites, some are helpful and others are not so much to find quality candidates. Putting an ad on Idealist, Craigslist or Glass Door may yield a quantity of candidates, but you have to consistently comb through to find any that might be a fit. Recruiting services on the web offered by LinkedIn or benefit administrators like Extensis require a setup and ongoing effort to find talent.
The most expensive and possibly quickest option to find your next team member is through a recruiter. Our go-to's in the NYC area have been Atrium, Clarity and Betts Recruiting. Finding trusted partners in recruiting who understand your brand and expectations can help you save time in the long run, but will cost you a percentage fee based on their annual salary. That said: our policy is to utilize all avenues to ensure we get the best potential pool and ultimately select the perfect person to join the team.
Have a clear job description
Not to mention a complete understanding for what you are looking for. It’s important to be completely aware so you’re able to recognize a good applicant when you see one. However, don't be stuck in that box, open up your mind to interpretation or inferences that are in their resume or cover letter that seem like a potential fit (or at least worth a conversation). Look for a connection, a spark of interest to start the relationship with each candidate. It's also important that your job descriptions be current and comprehensive so that you receive interest from people who have a chance to review your expectations of the position, the basis of future conversations.
Change up your interview medium
Meeting candidates in multiple forums across a period of time allows you to get a sense of both the consistency and variation in the person’s presentation. It's a practice of not only determination, but protection for the company to make sure the right person is selected. Don't rush the process, trust the process. It is important to make the right decision and be certain from the beginning.
By involving members of your team, a different variation of people get brought into the idea of finding the correct candidate. The most valuable tool you have in your arsenal for determining fit is how a candidate would integrate into the company family. It's important to see what others think, both staff directly working with new hires and even some that won't. We spend so much time with each other at work, it's important that both the applicant and the staff get a sense for how they can spend time together
Diversify with each hire
Broaden skill sets and include varying perspectives and new ideas. Each opening in your company is an opportunity to expand your potential growth. Consider high energy and low energy. Assess and appreciate the value of both leaders and supporters. Evaluate rapid growth potential versus steady and strong. With startups and small teams, everyone wears so many hats, so with a staff made up of people from varying backgrounds and experiences allows the company to maximize its impact.
Consider lived experiences and where one’s journey has taken them as relevant insight into how that person embarks on the adventure of work. Think beyond the job description and reflect on what it takes to be successful in the role. Allow that to broaden your understanding of who could be an asset on your team.
Go with your gut
Identify someone who inspires you and excites you. Whose passion about life and their professional journey shines through. As you advance applicants through the process often you will find the one standing at the end is the one who gave you "that feeling" or you could be completely surprised. Intuition is a key part of team building. The right person must meet not only the background and skills needed, but satisfy the all important “personality” and cultural fit in your organization. One without the other may leave both the newest employee and the organization misaligned on expectations, and unhappy with the decision.
Ultimately a hiring process (aka professional dating game) should be exciting. Regardless of why there is an opening on your team, always attack the challenge of hiring with a dedication to fulfilling the mission of your organization and expansion of your workplace family.
*Side-note: hiring pet parents means puppies in the office which is always a perk!*
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