Building Teams: Identifying The Right People

Building teams is one of the most enjoyable things I do. I love building strong teams that work well both independently and together, that encourage some friendly competition, and where each of my team members pushes each other to do just a little better. How do I do it, you ask?

Identifying Requirements. It’s all about finding the right people for the right job. I have hired for many types of positions over the years, but I have been building teams in the retail marketing industry for the past few years. I like to start by identifying what the absolutely necessary skills are for the role and building from there.

For the retail marketing industry, I have two very specific requirements. The first is retail experience. Yes, this is a coachable/trainable area; however, when you’re moving fast in an already fast-paced industry, having this experience is extremely valuable. The second is an engaging personality. This is something that cannot be trained; either you have it or you don’t. I very specifically look for someone who is engaging, who knows how to keep a conversation going without repeating themselves and who can clearly listen (most everyone hears, but not nearly as many actually listen).

The retail experience is relatively easy to identify by reading through the resume. The engagement aspect is easier to identify via a video interview.

Video Interview. If you are hiring remotely, like I do, and have the ability to have the candidate conduct a video interview, even if it’s just a recorded video, I highly recommend it! These video interviews let me see a few things prior to speaking with them:

  • I can see if they can follow some simple instructions (i.e. complete the video interview in a quiet and well-lit area).
  • I can see if they can answer questions completely. (i.e. are they giving specific examples, did they do any research about the company ahead of time, etc.).
  • I can see their engagement levels. I haven’t found anyone who is a “fan” of one-sided video interviews, but I can tell if they would be engaging to store employees and customers.

Phone Conversation. Once I’ve had the opportunity to review their resume for the right experience and their video interview for the engagement aspect, I then call and have a phone conversation with them. Notice I don’t refer to it as an interview. I truly believe that as much as I am “interviewing” them, they are (or should be) doing the same with me. This should be a two-way street – do I feel they would be a good fit on my team and do they feel that our company/the role would be a good fit for them?

This is where the conversation comes in. I tell them about the role, we discuss their experience that relates to the role, we both ask tons of questions, and we discuss next steps (if any). I do sneak a couple of situational questions in there – things that have really happened to my team members. This helps me see if they really do know retail, how they would approach different situations and it helps me to see if they’re really someone I would want on my team.

Big Picture. I also think about the big picture of my team and I ask myself a few questions, such as:

  • Would their personality work well with the rest of my team?
  • Would their personality work well with our client and in the retail locations we work in?
  • Does their resume show that they would stay in this position for at least a year? (the average company will pay approximately $4,000 to hire a new employee; that figure increases when other factors are present for having that position open)
  • Would I want to lead and manage this person?

If I can answer yes to these questions, their experience is what I’m looking for, and they meet all of my requirements I typically move forward with offering the position to them.

Just because I’ve hired a new employee doesn’t mean that my work is done. Not by a long shot! Now comes the real work with coaching, training, setting expectations, and answering every question that comes up. Having a new employee with the right foundation can make or break how well the new employee adapts and gets up to speed in their new role.

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