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How to hire a great team

In your role as a Manager – somewhere along the way – you will most likely need to recruit people.

Learning how to do this well is a key element of your role as a Manager, whether that’s hiring people internally from within your company or looking externally.

However, the process and the skills needed to hire a great team are not simple!

There are different factors that come into play. And in this article, we are going to explore this topic and share some tips from the experts.

What are the challenges faced by People Managers when hiring great teams?

  • Managers are not experienced or supported enough to recruit.
  • The recruitment process is set up to find out about the technical skills but not the human skills.
  • The recruitment process is too slow, and candidates can drop out along the way.
  • The time it takes to recruit and the risk of getting it wrong puts immense pressure on Managers.

The cost of recruitment

As per, it is estimated that the cost of hiring a person could be as much as fifteen thousand pounds when you add all the internal recruitment costs, the external recruitment costs, the hidden costs (e.g. your time as a People Manager).

So much time and money are invested on recruitment; and getting it wrong is a cost to the organisation but can also impact on the wider team if the candidate is not the right fit. And it can be very stressful for you, the Manager!

That’s why it is so important to think the process through properly!

Recruiting is a great chance to pause and think about what you need and where you want the team/your organisation to be in in a few years and who you need to hire to take you there.

How to hire a great team: Taking some advice from recruiters and HR professionals

We asked a number of recruiters and HR professionals the following question: What are the common mistakes that People Managers make (or challenges they face) when hiring people? And we are going to share the results of this research with you.

Slow recruitment process

A slow recruitment process is a common mistake that People Managers make when hiring, and often results in candidates losing interest or not being available anymore.

It is important to take your time upfront to decide what you are looking for, and that you do not procrastinate once you start the recruitment process. This means that you can move much more swiftly through and keep people engaged as part of that process.

Not thinking the process through enough

The second thing that Managers often get wrong is where they do not think the process through enough (e.g. what is needed to fill this role? What are the skills required?). As a Manager, you need to be clear on what your ideal candidate looks like and spend time thinking about it before you write a job description that reflects your vision.

Not being prepared for an interview/the recruitment process

The next challenge is not being prepared for the recruitment process. We often see Managers get somebody in for an interview without taking the time to review their CVs or prepare for the interview itself.

Not being able to uncover the candidate’s soft skills

Not being able to distinguish between the “what” questions (skills that people have) and the “how” questions (the behaviours and attitudes they bring) is another common hurdle Managers must overcome.

Managers are not always confident at uncovering soft skills and questions on these might be light in an interview – it feels hard to find out and get evidence of these soft skills.

But there are ways! If, for example, you wanted to get evidence that someone has good communication skills, you could ask one of the following questions:

  • Tell me about a time when it was difficult to get your message across to a stakeholder. What did you do to help them understand what was going on?
  • Tell me about a challenge that you had with someone in your team that you have successfully overcome.
  • Tell me about how you manage the relationships within the team.

In that way, you will find out how they communicate, what they understood, how they listened and if they have empathy. It is about bringing it to life in real situations. And it is those practical examples of how someone has gone about something that really demonstrates their abilities in these areas.

Finding someone that fits on paper but might not be the right fit for the team

The other challenge that we uncovered in our research with recruiters and HR professionals was around trying to find someone that fits on paper but might not be the right fit for the team (e.g. it could be someone who may have all the right technical skills but not the right human skills). Or vice versa!

You could recruit someone just “like you” because it feels safe and exclude someone who may not have all the technical skills for the job but a creative mind. The risk, though, is that you are not creating diversity of thinking, diversity of experience, and fresh new ideas, which your team could hugely benefit from.

To help you overcome some of these obstacles and make the hiring process a little bit easier, we have put together a few tips together for you from our experts.

Top tips to hire a great team

  • Have a really clear vision, and have roles in your team that deliver the vision. It is about taking the time to find out what you need to get the team and organisation to where it needs to be and having a real understanding of your current team – what their strength, capabilities and personalities are.
  • Create a succession plan internally to fill roles and think about what the benefits of bringing people along from inside the business could be.
  • Have a diverse team and fill the gaps.
  • Design the recruitment process around the applicant experience that is in alignment with the experience you want them to have when they start working for the organisation (e.g. how can you create a positive experience from the point of the job advert through to the onboarding process?).
  • Train somebody who has the right attitude to develop the technical skills that they need. Finding somebody who has the right behaviours, but may have gaps in skills or experience, is easier to bring in than someone with the right skills but who may not have quite the right behaviours and attitudes.
  • Take your time upfront to decide what you are looking for, but do not procrastinate once you start the recruitment process. This means that you can move much more swiftly through and keep people engaged as part of that process.
  • Trust yourself in who you think is going to be the right fit and ask your team about what they would most value – and get them involved in that process – if that’s appropriate.
  • Find your own recruitment style. An interview is the first point of connection with somebody who may then be working within your team, and, you need to get a sense that this is where they want to work as well. Bringing yourself authentically and giving them a feel for what it is going to be like working within your team is equally as important as you are finding out whether they are the right fit for you.

What are the most important questions to ask in an interview?

As part of our research, we also asked what the most important questions should be during an interview.

Every interview process or questions should be tailored to each role and applicant, but the focus should always be on what you, as the employer, can do for the applicant and you should ask the following questions:

  1. Tell me what you would like to get from working here
  1. Why do you want to work for our company?

The answer to these questions will reveal the candidate’s motivation and interests but it will also allow you to see how closely they align with what you are trying to do.

  1. What situation have you experienced that has given you the most learning in your career?
  1. What would one of your current team say is like working with you (or for you)?

The answer to these questions would reveal their ability to reflect what impact they have had on other people and what they choose to do moving forward.

Reflection is a key skill for a candidate as it shows that they have self-awareness, growth and potential.

To summarise

In this article, we uncovered a number of key challenges that Managers face when hiring a new team member. We discussed why the process really matters and why taking some time out to think it through end-to-end could really save time, money and effort to you, your organisation and your team.

Please do get in touch with us if you would like to dive into things a bit deeper or if you would like some other resources around this subject. 

CAPE Coaching & Development equip, empower, and enable brilliant People Managers through development programmes, workshops and 1-2-1 coaching. Learn more by visiting

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