How Well Do You Recruit Your Team?

One of the most important things a manager has to do for the organization is to know how to recruit a good team. If you don’t pick well the people you work with, your results and the team’s results will be the same. And you won’t be able to blame the one saying: “Boss, we are super OK, but we have Johnny on our team and he’s pulling us back… you know how he is.” Even Johnny is your responsibility.

Recruitment may seem like a game, playing in the sandbox full of snow, but if you are wearing shorts and slippers, might not be as fun.


In case you lose an employee, you must first consider if replacement is needed or not. As a manager, your main responsibility is to the company, not to the team you are leading. You are in that position to make profitable decisions for the company. If you don’t think it over this way, it means you are not interested in “the big picture” and which is your team impact in the organization.

Of course, you’ll initially be in a position to say that your people have a lot of work and there is not a chance you’re not replacing the person who left. This a very good moment also to analyze again the activities of each member of the team. You’ll be in for a lot of surprises on the useless things that are (still) done just because “we always did them like this”; some useless things that you asked for in the past or some tasks you can take over. If you can manage a team with fewer resources, you inevitably increase productivity, which is also one of your main responsibilities.

Don’t fall into the trap of reducing costs at any cost. The following period you should be performing at predictable costs. If you start cutting resources just to look better “from above”, but the quality will be reduced your good intentions will turn against you.

It’s NOT about redistributing the activity of the person who left, especially if the other team members are already loaded.

Let’s assume you have done the analysis, and the conclusion is that you want to recruit. The role of HR is to help you make a decision, they are the specialist in the whole process. They are supposed to ensure a shortlist of candidates (presumably assessed by commonly established criteria) and you are going to interview them together.

You as a manager must choose the persons you are going to work with from now on and no one else. It’s like asking a man to choose the hair dye, even when he has all the details about nuance and consistency. Or for a man to ask a woman to pick the best engine oil for the family car.

There is no reason for you to leave the boss or the HR colleague to pick people in your place, no matter their good intentions. If you’re at the beginning of the road and need guidance, it’s a totally different story, even though, the final call should be yours. You are going to work with that person and you’ll be responsible for their performance.

A few recommendation for recruitment process:

  • choose for the long term; ask yourself if you can work with that person for a minimum of 5 years; obviously if the position is for a determined period, things change a little bit, but if the person is good, you’ll be interested in keeping him/her; the 5 year rule applies either way;
  • choose based on attitude and see what you can build from there;
  • choose a person that fits your styles;
  • don’t use standard questions if you’re not looking for standard answers;
  • don’t choose by looking at the resume – that sheet of paper only helps the candidate get to the interview;
  • the reference is just as important as the interview, even if you are talking about an internal candidate (this is even easier and you must assume you’re not getting good reference unless someone tries to get rid of that employee);
  • don’t pick a person if you have the smallest shred of doubt.job opening

Nevertheless, don’t pick a person just because you have to, based on “what I have seen so far was OK”, the best you can get in this case is for “sort of ok-ish” performance from your team. Only because you need to fill an empty chair, don’t put yourself in the situation to empty the chair again, it’s not always easy or pleasant.
Good luck! – to the candidates you are going to interview

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