Recruit for team dynamics not just individual brilliance

When it comes to recruiting staff it’s easy to get caught up in finding that ‘game-changing’ individual with exactly the right skills and level of experience to take your organisation forward. But does your recruitment strategy take into consideration whether that stand-out person will fit in with the rest of your team?

Often it’s months down the line before you discover whether or not your new hire really has what it takes. No matter how brightly they shine on paper or at interview, if their personality doesn’t gel or you unbalance the dynamic with yet another cookie cutter recruit, then chances are they aren’t going to live up to your expectations.

People’s working styles and personalities vary so much, that even in very technical roles it’s vital to place as much weight on behavioural traits as on track record, qualifications and experience.

Having a well-balanced team is key. Whether it’s your leadership team, middle-management or a high-performing team you want a group of people that bring different views, perspectives and characteristics to the table, and who work efficiently together.

If you adopt a cookie cutter approach to how you recruit staff you’ll only ever get one kind of result. To create a versatile, adaptable team you need people who complement each other, challenge each other and bring out the best in each other.

So how do you go about doing that? Here are five ways to determine whether someone is the right fit for your team:

1. Separate the person from the job

We all tend to gravitate to people who are like us, and the same happens when recruiting. If you’re an extrovert you  might feel uncomfortable with people who are introverted, and vice versa.

Remember that you’re not selecting someone to be your best friend, you’re selecting them to make a contribution to your organisation. Don’t lose sight of this during the interview.

What you like about someone personally cannot come before what they may, or may not, contribute to your  team as an employee.

2. Use a personality assessment

Using an assessment like the Myers Briggs Type Indicator test can offer you clear metrics to help you judge whether someone’s personality is suitable for a particular kind of role, and for the team they’ll be working with.

For instance if you know you need a confident leader with the ability to make objectives decisions Myers Briggs will reveal whether someone is an introvert or extrovert, how they process information and whether they make decision-making style is logical or intuitive.

If your team have also taken the test, you can use this information to start building the right balance. Tests are are a great tool to use alongside what learn at interview when you want to make hires based on personality.

3. Ask unexpected questions

There are certain questions that everyone expects to be asked in a interview and your candidates will have prepared answers for standard questions like ‘what are your strengths and weaknesses?’.

To understand who someone really is steer the conversation towards unexpected topics, like what their favourite food is or what sports they enjoy, questions that require them to think on the spot, for instance:

  • How do you improve yourself?’
  • If you could do anything in the world, what would  it be?’

How someone deals with the unexpected is revealing, plus you get them to reveal a little more about themselves.

4. Let the candidate lead the conversation

We’ve all been in very formal interviews, where the interviewer sticks to an approved list of questions and treats it as a strict Q&A. But this style only tells you so much about the person you’re interviewing.

Instead put the candidate in the driving seat. Let them lead the conversation and see how they communicate unprompted. This can be challenging, but it provides an opportunity for their personality to shine. If a candidate struggles to communicate without guidance then that will give you food for thought as well.

5. Involve the team

Lastly, it can help to get a different perspective on a candidate to avoid any tunnel vision or bias. What’s more, you’ll also learn what other people’s views are on what the teams needs or lacks. New perspectives will broaden your view about what ‘right’ looks like.

If you think your organisation like to make sure the next person your hire is the right fit for your team we can help. To find out more about bringing in diverse talent call us on 01883 722008 or email


Individual brilliance versus team dynamic – Berwick Partners

Why employers should recruit for team dynamics and candidates should apply for cultural fit – The Source

4 way to test ‘cultural fit’ during the hiring process – The Entreprenur

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