You interviewed dozens of candidates in your search for the right talent. Through the many interviews and work trials, there was one individual who clearly stood out. This applicant blew the competition out of the water in terms of qualifications and skill. Yet today, your new hire is struggling to stay afloat after just a few weeks on the job.
For a hiring manager, few things are more frustrating than this realization. Your talent was qualified, skilled, and he/she passed your tests with flying colors. So what gives? It’s possible you failed to consider the applicant’s abilities as a team player. And you must consider more than just their plays-well-with-others skills; you must evaluate their ability to work on teams of varying sizes.
Why Do Team Player Abilities Matter in the IT Industry?
An individual’s ability to collaborate and interact with others can have a dramatic impact on their productivity, the quality of their work and, ultimately, their level of job satisfaction. Solitary vs. team dynamics affect many elements in the work environment, such as:
- The amount, form and frequency of communication;
- The degree of collaboration;
- The scope of each person’s job;
- The frequency and importance of deadlines;
- The manner in which projects are planned; and
- The amount of oversight from fellow staff.
A person who thrives in a collaborative, social, small team setting may drown while working with a large team. In this environment, there is less oversight and a greater emphasis on deadlines, communication, initiative and compromise. In the IT industry, rapid project pace combines with complex team dynamics to create a truly unique, multi-faceted work environment. Adapting to a new workplace is challenging enough; you want to be sure you select talent that’s apt to succeed.
What Are the Implications of Working Alone vs. Working With a Team?
It’s common knowledge that the dynamics of solitary work differ dramatically from what you might see in a team setting, but many hiring managers fail to realize that the size of a team has a dramatic impact on the overall workings. An individual’s comfort level (or lack thereof) is a primary determinant of whether they ultimately succeed.
Solitary Workers in the IT Industry
Solitary work is ideal for the motivated, self-starter who is highly focused and self-manages well. Interpersonal skills and team player abilities are less critical for solitary workers, who also tend to perform a far broader range of tasks on a project. A lone wolf may handle multiple aspects of an IT project personally, resulting in fewer hand offs and fewer deadlines, which can be ideal for someone who tends to struggle with tight timelines. Solitary workers often have the ability to focus on specific elements of a project and the entire project as a whole.
The Dynamics of Small IT Teams
Small teams tend to require social people with very strong team player skills and an ability to create and follow the detailed action plans that are utilized in the IT industry. Interpersonal communication is key to success in a small team setting, as is the ability to debate and compromise constructively. Role versatility is vital too. Natural leaders may need to surrender control to a fellow team member in some situations, while natural followers should feel comfortable stepping up to the plate on occasion.
Workers who do well in small team arrangements can take an assignment and run with it, working effectively under the pressure of tight deadlines. They can focus on completing a very specific task promptly so the project can be passed along to the next person in line. They’re also open to constructive criticism and feedback. Many team players also tend to be competitive, which can be a good thing since the mere presence of teammates can drive professional growth.
Large Teams in the IT Industry
Large team players share many attributes with solitary workers and also with those who thrive in a small team setting. A large team demands extremely detailed action plans and well-defined roles to ensure that everyone works in a productive, harmonious manner. Each person has a narrow, precise task, and deadlines tend to be critical. With so many moving parts, a single delay can be amplified dramatically down the line. Skills like effective time management and an ability to remain hyper-focused are critical to success. These environments also tend to be very fast-paced, with work and information traveling from person to person rapidly on a frequent basis.
In many situations, the individual will be working alone for long periods. Therefore, the large team player needs to be a self-starter who can stay motivated and on-point. You can’t have a person who’s prone to distractions from phone calls, text messages, online distractions or even non-critical work-related tasks. In this setting, you don’t have time to wait for someone to give you direction either. You need to feel confident in taking initiative, while always keeping your teammates in mind.
HR professionals must possess an accurate understanding of the attributes and skills that are required to work in isolation, on a small team, or in a large team work environment. Then, it’s a matter of evaluating your own company’s work environment to identify which type of person you ought to be seeking. Only then can you find talent who has what it takes to succeed and thrive on a long term basis.
Turning to IT Staffing as a Solution to The Hiring Challenge
If the prospect of evaluating these additional qualities feels daunting, you might consider another option. Every HR director realizes there are lots of alternatives to permanent employees. One alternative that’s gaining traction is called insourcing, a practice that entails temporarily embedding a team within your organization to complete a particular project. This option allows you to avoid the hassle of evaluating, vetting, interviewing, and trialing permanent employees who may or may not be a good long term fit. In fact, long term for the IT sector is considered just a couple years, according to this study. So even those who prove to be a good fit may depart in fairly short order, leaving the HR department back at square one.
At iTech, we offer IT staffing solutions such as insourcing, providing assistance to companies and organizations across many industries. We provide a competitive edge, as we’ll select talent with the skills, experience, and team player style to suit your unique work environment. What’s more, our talent has already refined their own team dynamics. This means our staff is far more productive than a freshly-assembled team. Contact us today to learn more about our IT staffing solutions.