Identifying Team Players: A Guest Post

This post is written by Bill Ramsey, an associate in the assessment field.
Identifying Team Players
By Bill Ramsey
I am not a “team player.”  In fact, I wince when I hear that expression.  If I were a vampire, you could repel me with garlic, sunlight, and rousing pep-talks extolling

Selecting the right member for your team is a critical skill that is augmented by the use of assessments.

the virtues of the “team player.”  Synergy: A code word lazy people use when they want you to do all the work.
I work with people, and I love it!  My boss hired me specifically for my innate networking ability.  My #1 KRA is to “engage in conversation,” which happens to be the most exhilarating facet of my job.  Nonetheless, neither my boss nor me consider me a “team player,” and we have objective proof.  Do I work with a team?  Yes.  Do I enjoy it?  Yes.  Do I frequently lean on them for help?  Yes. 
I’m a team player, but not in the traditional sense.
Here’s the problem for the person in charge of hiring:
If you’re in charge of hiring, you need to identify the person who aligns with your idea! 
 A quick illustration:
Lisa is friendly enough, but she typically works alone.  She believes:  “I do my job to the best of my ability.  I expect that others to do the same.  I don’t need someone looking over my shoulder to get my job done.”
Jennifer knows everyone in the office.  She believes:  “I do my best work with others.  I perform best in a team, and together, we can affect real change.” 
Is the “team player” Lisa or Jennifer?
Both see themselves as key components of the team.  Both consider themselves “team players.”  They simply have different understandings of “teamwork.”  In the Olympics, Lisa would be on a team of Gymnasts.  Jennifer would be on a Basketball team.
How, then, can you–the person in charge of hiring–understand what the Applicant understands about being a “team player?”  [SIDENOTE:  The interview is even more difficult when the candidate–perish the thought–falsely gives the answer they think they’re “supposed” to give.]
Assessment tools are not about “personality,” nor are they “tests.”  A tool that has been normed for hiring purposes[1] will give you a clear understanding of an applicant’s learning style, behavioral traits, motivational intensity, and much, much more. 
No matter what the applicant tells you, you will have a clearer understanding of his/her optimal role in a team! 
Here are a few real quotes taken directly from the PXT assessment tool, given to the applicant:

  •  “You prefer autonomous work, rather than involving a team in the discussion about how things will be done.”
  •  “You likely prefer to run your own show and may quietly resist being restricted.”

What a jerk!  Certainly not a “team player!” 
That’s me. 
Why did my boss hire me, knowing this about me beforehand?  He knew that he needed an “autonomous” person to work on his team.  In the traditional sense, I’m not a “team player.”  That’s why I play so well with others.
If you have a team that doesn’t seem to “fit” well together, assessment tools can help you understand why.  If you wonder if a new hire is the right fit for your organization, assessment tools can help you know–before you invest the time and money in a mis-hire.
 An offer
If you’re skeptical–I’ll make you a believer.  Contact me and I’ll give you a free demo.

[1] “. . . normed for hiring purposes . . . .”  Not all tools are designed as pre-hire tools, nor do they claim to be.  Buyer beware!  If the tool you’ve chosen isn’t normed for pre-hire purposes [Myers Briggs, etc.], you’re asking for an ugly lawsuit that you’ll lose.

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