Three Interview Tips to Determine Team Compatibility

Three Interview Tips to Determine Team Compatibility

One of the biggest hiring challenges across the globe is finding the right talented professional for your team. After weeks if not months of searching and interviewing, it can be incredibly disappointing, not to mention costly, to see a new hire fail to mesh with their team or move on too quickly. While it never hurts to fine-tune your on-boarding and try to improve the welcoming aspect of company culture, the best way to prevent new-hire turnover is during the interview process. Recruiters will seek out and bring you a list of names for people with good resumes and phone presence, but not all of them will have the right attitude, work ethic, or energy level to mesh well with the team you want to place them in. It’s your job to find out which ones could be good matches and who will have a high risk of bouncing.

1. Ask About Previous Jobs

The normal interview question set includes checking in on the tasks done in earlier roles but you can learn a lot from the attitude your candidate has toward their other work. The amount of enthusiasm and respect used when someone speaks about their earlier positions is a good indicator of how seriously they will take their work with you. While short periods in previous jobs is also a good clue, make sure to check and see if circumstances that caused those short employments has changed. You may find, for instance, that your candidate had a series of unfortunate life interruptions or was only working summers while they went to school.

2. Ask About Their Work Process

When the candidate you’re hiring will be part of a team, the way that team works matters to how well a new hire will mesh. Get the team leader to join you or explain to you what they are looking for in a new member and keep this in mind for the next wave of interviews. Then, without hinting at what you’re looking for, ask your candidates about their work process. People who love their work will light up happily lay out the details of what they do (once they’re sure you want that) and explain why each piece is important. This will give you a good idea of their personal work ethic, depth of knowledge, and whether or not their process can fit well with the team. However, don’t write someone off if their process doesn’t quite match the given description. Instead, take notes and check with their potential manager to see if the alternative style is equally acceptable.

3. Hold a Group Project

While this goes above and beyond the usual interview tactics, if someone has made it through 90% of the hiring crucible and you want to be absolutely sure about compatibility, you can host a group project. Either in person or over a video conference, invite the candidate and their potential new team to handle a small work task together. While shyness, awkwardness, and getting used to each other is all perfectly normal, what you’re most watching for are signs that the candidate’s working attitude meshes well with the team as they settle in to finish the project. If all goes well and the team gives you positive feedback on the choice, you’ve found your new hire.

The most rewarding part of being a hiring manager is seeing a new skilled employee thriving both in their new role and working with their team. With your careful interviewing process and personal expertise, you can ensure each new employee you hire is a near perfect match for the position you need filled.

The Network Editorial Team