Working in diverse teams
Working in diverse teams

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Working in diverse teams

1 Assessing for teamwork skills

You started this course in Week 1 thinking about why employers are interested in recruiting people who have good teamwork skills and who can demonstrate the competencies they are looking for in a team player. Hopefully, by this point in the course, you feel more confident in your understanding of why it is advantageous for a business to have good team players. You should also be able to foresee some of the difficulties that may arise if an applicant is not able to develop these competencies.

Recruiting new staff is expensive for any organisation. Advertising the vacancy costs money and the interviews consume time. Recruiting the wrong person can do great harm, both to business performance and team morale. When the mistake is realised, the employee may leave, fail probation or be dismissed. The entire cycle of advertisement and interview then has to be repeated, with all the attendant costs and risks. It would be so much better for everybody to get it right first time.

Now listen to Rebecca Fielding from Gradconsult talking about how employers spot a good team player during the recruitment process.

Download this video clip.Video player: wdt_video_week8_section1_fielding.mp4
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The way that you can spot a good team player throughout the recruitment process is multitudinal. And again, it really depends on the type of role that you're going for and the type of team that you are going to be working in. But you can certainly expect at the application form stage, if it's an application form, to get asked a question about when you have worked in a team in the past.
Perhaps when you faced a challenge as a team or something's gone wrong as a team. Or when you've succeeded. So I think you can prepare yourself and reflect on those experiences previously. Later on in the recruitment process, if teamwork's a significant and important part of the job, you can expect that there'll be some form of team activity as part of an assessment centre or a day in the life experience, for example.
Where you'll be brought together by other people, and there will be observers and assessors watching how you interact with other people in that group. That's one of the most common ways of assessing teamwork in a recruitment process. The problem is, it's really strange. It feels incredibly odd to be watched and for people to be watching how you interact with others.
My top tip for anybody who finds themselves doing a teamwork exercise at an assessment centre is simply to be yourself. Approach the exercise as if you were in your normal work environment. Be thoughtful and listen to other people's opinions. Summarise back, manage your time, and make contributions.
If you don't say anything, then they can't assume what's going on in your head. So my top tip is demonstrate those fabulous teamwork skills that you've got by supporting the other people in that team and making a contribution yourself.
End transcript
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Activity 1 The employer’s tale

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

Have a look at Figure 1 and consider how an employer might test for some of the skills and competencies in an interview. Ask yourself:

  1. Which competencies would an employer be able to assess confidently from a traditional application and interview process?
  2. Which competencies if any would be more difficult to assess in these traditional recruitment methods and why?
  3. What kind of activity could be included to assess the more difficult competencies in the recruitment process?

Make sure you save your notes for this activity (either in the box below, your workbook in the interactive toolkit or elsewhere), as you will be asked to refer to them later.

Described image
Figure 1 Competencies and how they work
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While most of the competencies illustrated in Figure 1 could be assessed using a traditional question and answer interview, it would be difficult to get a real sense of the following:

  • Fostering a supportive, informal group atmosphere and constructive use of humour
  • Listening to others and giving constructive feedback if needed
  • Creating enthusiasm and initiative to make things happen.

Did you come up with the same answers as here or were there other competencies in the diagram that you felt would be difficult to assess purely by question and answer in an interview scenario?

There is not necessarily a right or wrong answer here, and a good interviewer could ask a question that elicits this kind of feedback, but the issue is that without seeing these attributes in practice, it is difficult to tell whether someone has them or not.

Using a combination of group activity and competency-based interview questions can increase the accuracy of the recruitment process, which as you have seen is important for company performance and economy.


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