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The Art of Building a Successful Team


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In order for your career to grow, you must demonstrate effective leadership skills. Organizations are finally beginning to realize that soft skills are just as important as technical skills and therefore, are placing more emphasis on developing and rewarding effective leaders. One important skill for leaders to master is the ability to recruit high-potential talent into the organization.

The responsibility of recruiting these candidates doesn’t fall solely on the shoulders of your recruiter. There are many ways that you can enhance their efforts to attract the most sought after candidates. Recruiting shouldn’t be reactive – performed only when you have an opening on your team. It should be an ongoing activity so that your pipeline of candidates is full and you can start interviewing shortly after a need has been established. Follow these tips to make the most of your efforts:

1. Look to your existing employees for a promotional opportunity, first. You should always look within the organization before you consider external candidates. Reward employees who are actively developing their skills and are loyal to the company. Is there someone who is ready to take on new responsibilities?

2. If you are an active member of your professional community, start building a rapport with prospective candidates. Recruiting is a lot like marketing – the more positive contact you have with prospects, the more receptive they will be to talking to you about making a move to your organization. Keep in contact with those you would like to have on your team one day.

3. Build a reputation as a strong leader. This is one of those times when you want your reputation to precede you. If you are known for being a great leader, candidates will want to work for you. Year after year, “lack of opportunity" is cited as one of the main reasons for employee turnover. Judicious candidates know that their manager can make or break that opportunity and they make their decisions accordingly.

4. Don’t be intimidated by dynamic, high-potential candidates. I’ve seen many hiring managers pass over candidates because they were intimidated by their ambition. Instead of worrying about someone taking over your job (if this is an issue, you’ve got bigger problems to worry about), think about who could potentially replace you when you move on to a bigger role.

5. Avoid the temptation of hiring someone just like you. It’s great when you have a connection with a candidate, but try to remember that you aren’t hiring someone to be your friend. Instead, look for someone who will complement your team’s strengths and weaknesses.

6. Select candidates who are passionate about their work. Passion is difficult to ascertain during an interview. However, there are signs you can look for and questions you can ask to better determine if this is someone who is passionate about their work.

  • Does their education and work history consist of positions that build on each other, demonstrating knowledge in their field and a desire for growth? Or, have they bounced around with little direction?
  • Are they actively involved in their professional community? Do they take advantage of opportunities to develop new skills?
  • Find out why they chose to get into this particular line of work.
  • Make a note of their specific professional goals. “To be working in a position that utilizes my skills or to be a manager" doesn’t cut it. Is it just about the money or are they looking for growth or meaning in their work?
  • Find out what aspect of their job they enjoy most.

    7. Stop settling for mediocrity. Don’t be afraid to hold off on making a selection decision until you have the right candidate. Get creative in the way you manage your employee shortage. Consider redistributing the duties on your team and hiring a temporary administrative employee to take up the slack. This is a great time for your employees gain additional experience.

    Jill Frank is “The Promotion Coach. " Get her FREE report, “7 Unintentional Actions That Will Slow Your Climb Up the Corporate Ladder" and FREE advice on corporate advancement at

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