Finding the right team member at any stage of team building isn’t an easy task. It is a process fraught with loss and disappointment, to say the least.

You just can’t afford to mess up because it will be at least three months before you will realize that a particular team member was not the right choice. In reality, it is at least six months lost – about two months of search, a month of candidate’s notice period and three months of the candidate’s mediocre performance in your organization.

In the end you are left with two problems:

1) How to dispose off the mediocre team member
2) How to hire his/her replacement

This is why hiring right the first time becomes important. Here are a few tips to hire the right candidate. Till now it has worked for me –

Must have high Emotional Quotient

EQ vs IQI think EQ is far more important than even IQ. Somebody with an average IQ but with extremely high EQ can easily outsmart somebody with extremely high IQ but with low EQ. IQ helps in short bursts but EQ helps stay in the game longer and score. It is difficult to gauge the EQ of an individual in a one-hour interview, where he or she will be on their best behaviour. To figure out if he/she is my kind of candidate I keep antagonizing with them for five long minutes and if at the end they are able to hold their own…that is good enough EQ for me.

Must have high IQ

I strongly believe that barring the professional services (doctors, lawyers, civil engineers etc.), any individual can do any task. Depending on the complexity of the task at hand, I think it takes 15-60 days of taking the individual through what needs to be done and how and even an average IQ person can get the job done. Value addition happens after that – the higher the IQ, the faster and better the value addition. During the interviews I try to figure out IQ of the person by giving quick on-the-spot exercises – where there is no right answer but the approach of the individual can be evaluated. A few of the exercises I have tried out are: “how many people in the World forgot their laptops at home today?” or “How many cars will be on the roads of Delhi at 9.30 am on a Tuesday” or “How many people would have touched the Hollywood sign on Mount Lee till date?”

Must be passionate about a hobby

If a candidate isn’t passionate about something other than work, I try NOT to hire him or her. I strongly feel people who have a life outside of work end up becoming good team members. Besides, if you can’t be passionate enough about something other than work, it is very difficult to whip up passion for work. To cite a few examples…in my team there is a guy who has a kitchen better than my wife’s (Harsh Vardhan Thakur), and there is a guy who can’t get up at 5 am for anything BUT a road trip on his Bullet (Sharad Sharma).

Must be a team player

While I like my team to have members who are far more intelligent than me, I don’t like rock stars in my team. If at all there has to be a rock star in the team, it has to be me. This is primarily to ensure that the team works as a team and not as a movie star’s entourage. Unfortunately, this is the characteristic that is most difficult to figure out during the interview process. Next time I am going to hire a team member I will call them for a game of soccer and count the number of passes they gave in front of the goal – to know how what is important for them, scoring goals themselves or winning it for the team.

If your next team member satisfies each of the four criteria above, I can assure you he/she will be a perfect fit – whatever stage of business you maybe in.

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