Staffing Resources


What Makes Someone a Team Player? Candidate Selection Tips

July 17th, 2015

You’ve heard the saying that there’s no “I” in TEAM. It’s about working together towards a common goal. But, people often get this wrong because they don’t truly understand what makes someone a team player. They may go along with the rest of the crowd, or they just stay under the radar, but they are not actively participating in the team effort.

Choosing the Best Candidates – Traits of Team Players

In recruitment, it’s very important that you look for candidates who understand and demonstrate the concept of teamwork. The factors that set them apart from other candidates may not stand out immediately, so here is a rundown of what makes a candidate a team player.


Does the candidate show that he or she has the ability to become motivated without the need for a management cattle-prod? A candidate that is self-driven naturally takes the lead in any team setting, or can slip into a supportive role when the right project comes along. This is someone who excels in any team work arrangement.


Being part of a team often means having to think outside-the-box on certain projects and certainly to overcome obstacles. Look for candidates who have highly developed creative skills to be harnessed, Creativity is useful when brainstorming new ideas, finding ways to make things better, and inspiring others to work at higher standards.


Team players are normally candidates who are flexible and can adapt to changes as they occur. Look for people who have demonstrated their ability to adapt to tough situations, such as a company that downsized or restructured in the past. Adaptability is valuable to team work because it also means a candidate can shift to different roles in a team when someone steps down or if a new task arises.


It should go without saying, but if a candidate has the ability to get along well with just about any personality type, even difficult people, this is someone you want on your team. Above-average personal communication skills are the hallmark of a candidate who has this ability. Ask good behavioral interview questions that allow the candidate to share stories about overcoming conflicts with others.


A candidate who has a strong sense of personal and professional accountability is a sign of someone who works well both independently and as part of a team. Find out if the candidate has any trouble asking for help because there needs to be a balance between both. Accountability means that the candidate will take charge of his or her own work, and has a strong desire to meet deadlines and stay on task.

The above traits are important when selecting new employees to work on your team. Take the time to find out if your candidate’s are a good fit for your work culture, the collaborative nature of projects, and the passion to be a true team player.

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