Hiring the Right Team Members


Hiring and training team members can be a costly mistake if you hire the wrong person. It is essential to be sure that you make the process as efficient as possible to reduce the costs and keep employee turnover low.

Recently, I attended Leadercast Live where the theme was Building Healthy Teams. Having a healthy team starts with hiring the right people.  Andy Stanley said that hiring staff is not the same as building a team. Successful teams have provided some tips to assist you to break from the traditional interview mold so you can save time and resources by finding and hiring the right people that fit your culture and will be passionate about their jobs.

  1. Write Better Job Descriptions

The job description should focus on what your company can do for the potential employees.[1] This means instead of writing a list of responsibilities and requirements, re-write job descriptions that focus on what the company can do for the candidate, such as personal growth and advancement opportunities. Studies have shown that making a few simple changes to the job description will attract candidates who better fit your needs.

  1. Fit the Personality to the Job

Select performance-oriented people and position them for maximum impact. The right skill set may seem like the most important factor, but the truth is skills can be acquired, personalities cannot.[2] Measure passion, if a candidate is passionate about working for you they will be a great asset.[3]

When seeking a new employee, the traits that I found to be most beneficial is, are they teachable? In my experience, my best employees were the ones that did not have the skills, however, these individuals were hungry and not only wanted to be there, but wanted to succeed, gain new skills, and were willing to learn.

Patrick Lencioni, author of 5 Dysfunctions of Teams outlined the Ideal Team player.

    • Humility

The humble person is sweet and lovable. They are good team players and do not seek glory for themselves. At times, a humble person is mislabeled as a lack of confidence and this is not true. This is the most important virtue.[4]

    • Hungry

A hungry person has a strong work ethic and will go above and beyond. They are passionate people.

    • Smart

These are the people who have common sense are good relationship builders (good people skills). This virtue has nothing to do with intelligence. People with only this trait can be viewed as the ‘charmer’.

Lencioni discusses how to have the competitive advantage you ideally want a team member to have all three traits.


3.Clarify What and Why

It is easier to educate a doer than activate a thinker. Once again skills can be taught, as in my previous example, of my best employees were the doers, the hungry people who wanted to learn new skills and were dedicated to putting in the time and effort.

  1. Improve your Interview Questions.

Avoid the standard questions, here are some sample replacements:

  • What have you done? Tell me something you have done, something you have initiated.

According to an indeed.com article, it says asking about a career accomplishment provides the candidate with the opportunity to share a career highlight, which provides you with insight on what makes them feel fulfilled. Learning about what has fulfilled the candidate helps you  to determine if it aligns with your culture and needs.[5]

  • If you were a superhero, who would you be and why?

This was one of the toughest questions I was ever asked when interviewed for my current role. It really threw me for a loop. My mind went 100 miles a minute, I thought of more than one superhero and was unable to narrow it down to just one person. I thought more of the individual traits different superheroes had.

  • Of the 3 virtues, Humble, Hungry and Smart, what do you struggle with most and what can you do to improve?

Be careful with this question, because you do not want to focus too much on a person’s weakness. If they are aware of weakness it shows humility but the candidate also needs to have a desire to work towards making the weakness a strength.

  • Tell me something about yourself that isn’t on your resume.

This question will tell you a lot about the interests of the person outside of the work environment. Every person has talents and skills outside of work, many think that their outside interests do not play into the job, but it is these very interests that add diversity and creativity. Ed Catmull from Pixar learned that by providing a culture where employees were encouraged to pursue a non-work-related interest or volunteer during business hours added to the longevity of employees and brought in a new level of creativity for the projects.

  • What excites you most about this position?

One skill that cannot be taught is enthusiasm. If the candidate is truly excited about the opportunity, it typically translates into excellent work and greater longevity.[6]

  • What three words would you use to describe your ideal work environment?

This question allows you to match the person to your existing culture.

  • Scare People with Sincerity. Lencioni advises you tell the candidate honestly what they won’t like about the company and the job he further explained that those who are serious about the position will want to learn more.
  • Do not do the typical sit-down interview, take the candidate out of the office, ask them questions more than once. If you doubt an answer, continue to probe.

The goal of these questions is to find out if the candidate’s personality will fit in with your team and culture.

Cheryl Viola, Executive Director

[1] https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/7155-startup-hiring-tips.html

[2] https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/7155-startup-hiring-tips.html

[3] https://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2014/07/25/seven-tips-for-more-effective-small-business-hiring/#673e5f6a5735

[4] https://www.tablegroup.com/imo/media/doc/IdealTeamPlayerQ&AwithPatrick(8).pdf

[5] https://www.indeed.com/hire/c/info/best-interview-questions-to-ask-candidates

[6] https://www.themuse.com/advice/top-10-questions-to-ask-an-interviewee