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Hire Teamwork-Oriented Employees

You can use pre-employment tests, specific interview questions, realistic job previews, and role-modeling to hire employees who crave to use teamwork and collaboration. Warning:  Many jobs do not need teamwork-oriented employees. Our society greatly values “teamwork.”  Also, many leaders are teamwork-oriented, so they erroneously assume they should hire employees who love teamwork. So, find out which jobs in your company really require collaborative employees.  Some jobs do not. For example, in our pre-employment testing research at many banks, great Tellers usually score high on a test’s Teamwork scale.  But, the banks’ successful Bookkeepers score low on the pre-hire test’s Teamwork scale.

Lesson to help you:  Use employment tests to objectively discover which jobs truly require teamwork-oriented employees.


Now, let’s delve into some terrific ways to help you hire teamwork-oriented employees. PRE-EMPLOYMENT TESTS HELP YOU HIRE TEAMWORK-ORIENTED EMPLOYEES Your fastest and lowest cost method to assess teamwork in a job applicant is pre-employment testing.  Start by conducting a “Benchmarking Study” in which you test current employees.  Pay special attention to typical test scores of successful employees in each job.  Then, you may give pre-hire tests to job applicants, and prefer applicants who get test scores similar to your successful employees – plus also do well on other prediction methods.


Here are employment test scales that help you assess an applicant’s teamwork-orientation:

1.      Teamwork test scale

2.      Friendliness test scale

3.      Helping People Motivation test scale



The next method you can use is the job interview.  If teamwork proves crucial for success in a job, then make sure you ask questions to uncover how teamwork-oriented the applicant is.


Here are examples of such open-ended questions:

·         “What were three gratifying projects or tasks you worked on?”

·         “Tell me about three projects or tasks you disliked doing?”

After you ask each question, listen to how much the job applicant mentions teamwork.  Applicants who are Teamwork-oriented will describe gratifying tasks involving working with people not teamwork-oriented will say gratifying tasks entail working alone RJP = REALISTIC JOB PREVIEW TO ASSESS TEAMWORK


If a job candidate does well on your pre-employment tests and job interviews, then you can do a realistic job preview (RJP).  This shows what it actually is like to work in the job.  An RJP involves the applicant spending a half-day or full-day accompanying an employee to watch the job actually being done.


The RJP serves three purposes.  First, a job applicant shows interest in the job by agreeing to spend four to eight hours observing.  Second, your employee can unearth valuable insights about the candidate.  Third, research shows applicants getting an RJP are (a) less likely to accept a job offer but (b) if they do accept, less likely to turnover.


Make sure the applicant sees the teamwork required to perform the job.  Keenly observe the applicant’s reaction to required teamwork.



If teamwork is required to perform a particular job, then the manager must be a teamwork role model.  Then, employees learn how to act on-the-job. So, if a job requires teamwork, but the manager does poorly at teamwork, then you either need to A.  help the manager develop teamwork skills B.  replace the manager with someone whose strong suit is teamwork



If you use pre-employment test benchmarking or another way to see if a job truly requires teamwork, then you can hire collaborative people by doing the following:


1.      Pre-Employment Tests – see if applicant’s test scores are like your best employees’ scores

2.      ob Interview – listen to comments about working with people

3.      Realistic Job Preview – find out applicant’s reactions to teamwork needed to on-the-job

4.      Role Model – exhibit collaboration so your employees to learn by watching you


Why would you bet your career or your company’s success?  If a specific job requires teamwork-oriented employees, then you readily can use these four methods to hire job applicants who excel at working with people.

By: Michael Mercer, Ph.D.

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