Teamwork is what makes the dream work


The hiring process is a daunting task for anyone – corporates and SMEs alike. In fact, it can put the fear of god into most of us. Getting it right deserves an accolade. But how does one navigate the murky recruitment waters successfully to emerge on the other side in one piece?

There’s an interesting shift from the old school approach of hiring for academic merit and experience to hiring for attitude. A recent poll confirmed that 58.8% of businesses indicated that they hire for a good attitude and growth potential over any other skill. This poses the question, what do you look for?

This is my process – see if it’s useful and if you can apply these steps to your hiring process:

1. Attributes

What attributes do you value most in your organisation? Are they technical skills, experience, positive attitude, courage, growth potential, or loyalty? Identifying these from the outset will help you narrow down the list of what you don’t want. Use this list to deselect throughout the recruitment process. For example, if innovation, high energy, and an appetite for risk is a strong part of your company culture then it’s easier to spot the “conservative” applicant who wouldn’t be a good match.

2. Requirements for the role

Do you have clear requirements for the role you are trying to fill? Are these skills compulsory at the outset or can they be taught over time? The outcome here should be a well-defined job description and a list of “must-have” abilities that will attract the right applicants. Once you have defined the role and found a suitable applicant it is easier to monitor with performance management during the probation period and well after.

3. Look for a can-do attitude

 Technical skills and a certain level of experience are important, but should not be the determining factor when hiring someone new. A positive “can-do attitude” combined with growth potential are often undervalued and sometimes overlooked. When I find myself in a situation where a candidate has the relevant skills and experience, but a crappy attitude, I ask myself, “How will this person integrate with the rest of the team?”. If it’s clear they are too abrasive or not a team player, I pass them onto the declined batch because teamwork is what makes the dream work in our organisation. I strongly agree with Anthony Bourdain: “Skills can be taught, character you either have or you don’t.”

You’ve found the perfect candidate and feel you have ticked all the boxes. Congratulations, now the real work begins!

Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed staff can quickly lose the wind in their sails if a clear induction or orientation process is not in place. Couple this with a clear career and personal development plan and you’re on the right track.

I find positive energy and mindset to be infectious and very inspiring. If you’re hiring people who see the glass as half full as opposed to half empty and  are problem solvers then a host of possibilities becomes so much easier, dare I say fun?

Organisations are run by humans, not coding skills, analytics or bots. Sure, these capabilities can enhance your service offering, but they cannot be replaced by an individual with a philanthropic heart, the growth mindset to make dreams a reality or the intense desire to positively impact society.

It can’t replace the glue that holds teams together during times of uncertainty either. You’d be better off knowing the team you hired will pull together and take on the next challenge because they’re a special bunch who are open and willing to develop a whole new skill set because the Fourth Industrial Revolution demands it.

Why not go ahead and include an indicator for genuine transformation to your recruitment and performance management process? Attitude and growth potential will be a recurring theme, why not start with it when looking for new staff?

About the author:

Chantal de Kock has 15 years’ experience in the development sector and is passionate about people development and female entrepreneurship. She is an entrepreneur in her own right and has been an integral member of the Fetola team for the past ten years and sits on the strategic human resource management team.