Hiring Compatible Teammates

Alright ladies and gentlemen, I hope you’re ready to retread some ground we haven’t seen since the days of watching saturday morning cartoons. Hold on for a second and let me tell you how one of the lessons from those halcyon days of sugary cereal and poorly made cartoons can help you make your business more effective; it’s time to talk about the power of friendship.

Friendship is a strong word with a lot of different meanings. On one end, you have your facebook friends; the kind of people that are actually acquaintances but you call friends because… why not? On the other side of the scale you have your siblings in all but genetics, the rare few people that complete you in a way second only to your significant other. Let me be clear about this; your team does not need to be the latter. In fact, it’s probably best to aim for something between the two extremes. Your teammates don’t need to be starting fantasy football leagues and grabbing drinks everyday after work.

When I say the power of friendship, I’m specifically talking about the power of professional camaraderie. Recent studies suggest that teams function better when the people on them like each other. This is the kind of research that falls into the academic tradition of learning so much about so little, but it’s still worth paying attention to because it suggests something important: teams full of people that actually like each other and who build rapport end up having higher productivity.

Contrary to much of what traditional interviews and resumes would have you believe, employees aren’t just a packet of skills attached to a beige, inoffensive automaton. There is a whole person attached to that resume of skills, and when you hire you had better pay attention to that. When you hire somebody, especially for a small startup, you will be bringing that whole person into your space and sharing eight hours of your day with them.

So how do you find people with compatible personalities for your team? Tough to say. There are quite a few ways to actually go about the process and it can pay to keep a flexible repertoire of techniques to apply to finding out whether a prospective hire (more on that in future blogs). My main bit of advice is that, if you have a team small enough for this, that you bring the whole team in on the interviewing process and ask them for their opinions on each candidate. Different variations on this idea of getting your team into the hiring process all have their own advantages and drawbacks based on the situation.