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How Teamwork in Recruitment Attracts Better Candidates

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The HR industry globally is getting a little bit bored of hearing about the so called “war for talent”.

We get it, there are a limited number of great candidates and lots of opportunities.

Well, what if we responded to the next person that claims the war for talent should be our number one concern, with a new perspective?

“No, that’s not my biggest challenge. Actually, it’s the war for teamwork I’m most concerned about.”

It was HR guru, Dave Ulrich, that coined this concept. At the 2017 AHRI Convention he told a crowd of HR professionals - who, I might add, were hanging on his every word - that teamwork should be their greatest concern right now.

There was a moment of stunned silence, followed by vigorous nodding in agreement as he enlightened us.

Why teamwork & what does it mean for recruitment?

It’s easy for us to consider teamwork and recruitment as two entirely separate pieces of the business puzzle.

A recruiter fills vacancies and a manager does the rest, right?


Simply hiring individuals with the skills to match the job description isn’t enough to drive business success - it’s team cohesion and a positive working culture that’s really going to deliver results. That’s why teamwork should be top of mind at the moment you start penning your job ad.

Before you continue reading, I invite you to stop here and ask yourself two very important questions:

  1. Does my business foster an environment where the super-talented individuals we hire can thrive (and ultimately drive the best outcomes)?
  2. Is our culture outwardly represented in such a way that we organically attract more great people?

While you ponder the honest answers to those questions, here are a couple of reasons why fostering teamwork is more important than ever.

Fact 1: The Power is No Longer in Your Hands

Today’s jobseekers have a far greater level of power when it comes to hiring decision making; research for the Xref Recruitment Risk Index revealed that 30% have applied for 10 or more jobs in their search for the right role.

Candidates are increasingly driven to seek the organisations that demonstrate a strong employer brand and positive company culture, both of which will be largely influenced by the team you grow.

Fact 2: There’s Greater Value in Character Than Skills

By recognising your focus must be on the war for teamwork, you will acknowledge that it’s never really been possible to hire perfect individuals for every role. But it is possible to build the perfect team, with multiple characteristics and skills that complement each other.

“If the family isn’t getting along, buying a new TV and a new couch is not going to fix the problem”

So what can you do to drive teamwork?

According to Ulrich, teamwork is driven by great leadership. It’s not enough to replace and re-skill to get the best from your business and your people. “If the family isn’t getting along, buying a new TV and a new couch is not going to fix the problem”, he says.

Nurture from inside

  • Great leadership means engaging and guiding people towards a common goal, rather than simply managing tasks. A shared vision for the business and a measurable roadmap naturally drives a collaborative, team-first culture.
  • Structure your business to support teamwork; discourage silos, create open discussion forums, focus on project-based work
  • Review and reward. Whether its big wins for the business or an individual’s personal development, we should always celebrate success. By putting formal and informal recognition processes in place, you bring people together.

Let the world know (and attract more great people)

  • Celebrate your successes with the outside world! Let people see that you foster a team-focussed environment and give people a taste of your culture.
  • Make sure your brand is well-represented - through every touch point. Demonstrate your shared values and vision, by explaining it online, through the content that you share with your network, or through the way you respond to feedback.

Maybe it’s time to rethink what we focus on as HR and recruitment leaders. Maybe if we focus on the battle for teamwork, the war for talent could take care of itself?

Let us know what you think. Share this on your social media profile and we’ll be happy to join the conversation.

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