Fostering Excellence
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Three Things Leaders Owe Their Teams When Hiring New Coworkers  

As a leader, you are a critical part of the success of your team in many ways. One of the primary means in which you can positively impact its success is to deliver hardworking, capable and adaptable coworkers to your team. They may owe you product deliverables, but you owe them the best possible coworkers. Your team works hard to meet your organization’s end states and they need coworkers who can add to the synergy of your highly performing team.

Team members who do not have a strong work ethic, or are not qualified for their positions, can slow down team performance and hurt team dynamics. Additionally, employees who are not adaptable can become unproductive members of the team when conditions require new skills or processes. To the extent you influence hiring in your organization, take care to ensure that the new additions to your team have the following qualities:
Strong Work Ethic: Your team deserves a coworker with a strong work ethic; don’t saddle them with someone who won’t pull their weight. In the hiring process, take the references seriously and dig deep to make sure you are hiring a heavy hitter for the team. Ask about their productivity, compliance with company policy and their level of initiative. Further, ask for concrete examples. If the reference cannot provide any, there probably aren’t any. A strong work ethic is almost always coupled with milestones and achievements.

The Right Background: Make sure that the person you are adding to the team has the right mix of professional experiences, training and credentialing. This can go a long way in reducing train-up time and deliver to your team a teammate with the background that best fits its needs. This will mean clearly articulating to yourself what you are looking for in the new addition to the team and setting up screening procedures to capture those qualities. Don’t settle; keep looking until you find an applicant with the right background that fits your unique hiring needs.  

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Adaptable: This is one of the most important qualities your team needs in a new coworker. Take the time to ensure that your team’s new addition has this intangible so that when requirements evolve, their new coworker can evolve to meet the new demands with the team. Indicators of adaptability include consistent training milestones over the course of the applicant’s career. This tells you they are constantly retooling their skill sets, adapting to the market. Ask the applicant’s references about how well the applicant dealt with change in their previous job.

Your team works hard for you and they deserve the time and attention you will take to ensure they have the best possible coworkers. Collaborating as a member of a highly functioning team is one of the most satisfying parts of professional life. Your involvement in hiring can have a tremendous impact on your team’s potential to enjoy their professional experience. Make sure you are delivering the right coworkers to your employees and you will have added tremendous value to your organization.

Michael Farr, PMP, is a Chief Master Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force and founder of Fosteringexcellence.org. He is passionate about recognition and enabling professionals to motivate their organizations through recognizing their member’s excellence. When he is not slaying dragons with his kids, he can be found at @fosterxcellence on Twitter and @fosteringexcellence on Facebook.