Why You Should Be Building Teams Around Talent Not Traditional Roles


The hiring landscape of today’s potential job candidates is much different than what it was just a few decades ago. This is partly due to the fact that workers aged 65 years or older have an average tenure of 10.3 years, while those in the age range of 25 to 34 years old have a median tenure of just 3.2 years. 

These strikingly different statistics reveal the ways in which it has become more commonplace to shift jobs and careers throughout a lifespan in the younger generation. And let’s face it, as more and more individuals are seeking career changes in the workforce, building your company’s teams around traditional roles is becoming outdated

As a professional business coach with expertise in helping hundreds of businesses on a path to progress and profit, I’m here to offer tangible hiring tips for building your dream team around talent. Rest assured, this article will help you say goodbye to the days of tossing out candidates based on lack of direct experiences and hello to a more well-rounded and talent-based hiring process! 

The Importance of Hiring Based on Talent Instead of Traditional Experience 

In the past, the path from a high school or college education to a job was much more linear and straightforward in nature. But today, countless members of the workforce’s desire to improve their salary, benefits, work-life balance, and other facets of their job pushes them to make the switch to a different company or type of position. 

In fact, only 21 percent of those with a college education use all of their educational background and training at work and a shocking 70 percent of those in the workforce are actively searching for a change in career path. This means that the pool of candidates for your open job position could be coming from a range of entirely different educational backgrounds, life experiences, and previous jobs than what is expected. 

For these reasons, the days of hiring based on years of direct experience are over. If you want to stay open-minded and expose your company to as many qualified candidates as possible, you need to screen potential hires. Consider their talents, skills, and personality traits on top of just their resume and accolades. 

By using talent as a starting point for hiring, you’re giving yourself and your organization the opportunity to have a diverse workforce of individuals. These candidates are not only talented in their respective roles but also bring valued new perspectives on how company operations can improve. 

Prioritizing Soft Skills Is the Key to a Building a Team around Talent 

The talent that candidates bring to the table speaks louder than the experiences and traditional roles that they’ve held in the past. Some candidates that make a career shift might not have the exact bachelor’s degree, certification, or years of industry experience that you might have originally wanted for the role. 

However, you could be surprised to learn that they might just have the skills and talents to perform just as well, if not better, than a traditional candidate. More specifically, soft skills are one of the most valuable talents you can look for in candidates. 

While hard skills, such as learning computer software or mastering an excel spreadsheet, can be taught, soft skills speak louder to the innate and unique abilities of a candidate. In fact, one study found that 89 percent of recruiters reported that when a hire doesn’t work out, it is usually because the candidate had a lack of soft skills.

Soft skills can include anything from a candidate’s ability to communicate clearly with others, work as part of a team, excel under pressure, and stay motivated and persistent even when faced with challenges. Having members on your team who are talented in their soft skills can make your company more efficient, collaborative, and profitable.

The Top Five Talents to Look for in Prospective Hires When Building an Unstoppable Team

Now that you understand the importance of hiring for soft skills and talent, you might be wondering: what exactly are some of the soft skills and talents that I should be looking for in the hiring process? 

While this is by no means an exhaustive list, here are five of the many crucial talents that I always recommend keeping on your radar when hiring a talented team of rockstars for your business, no matter the candidate-specific credentials might be: 

Proven Teamwork Abilities 

No matter the type of job or organization, teamwork truly makes the dream work. The ability to work well with different personality types and ways of completing tasks is an essential skill to possess when contributing to a harmonious team environment. Some of the core ingredients that make up a great team player include active listening skills, interpersonal conflict management, and problem-solving abilities. 

Having someone on your team with a strong grasp of teamwork will help to foster collaboration, motivate members on your team to do their best work, and reduce the overall stress levels that working in a high-pressure environment can often lead to.

Oral and Written Communication

Written, interpersonal, and other communications skills are great attributes for a talented candidate. Whether it’s sending an important email, leading a presentation at a conference, or simply conversing with coworkers, the ability to communicate clearly and effectively will come in handy in more ways than one in any type of role. 

Not only will a strong communicator be able to get their point across and inspire others, but they will be more likely to deliver clear and concise feedback and assessments that can help you and your team learn and grow.

Positive Attitude

A potential candidate can have all of the best experiences and accolades necessary on a resume and cover letter that make them look like the best person for the job, but without a positive attitude, these attributes often fall flat in action

On the other hand, when individuals bring a sense of optimism and positivity for the work being accomplished to the table, it rubs off on other team members and works wonders at boosting overall morale. As a result, this can increase a team’s energy and productivity when completing projects even in the most stressful of times. 

Adaptability

The ability to adapt to changing project deadlines, job responsibilities, and expectations are all qualities of a reliable and clever employee. Furthermore, adaptability is an especially helpful talent to see in candidates that don’t come from a background that fits the traditional role of your open position. This is because they are likely to learn new skills and workplace norms more quickly and efficiently. 

With digital tools shifting and changing the way most companies operate, having team members who are able to quickly pick up new tasks is essential for companies that want to stay ahead of the curve. 

Organization and Time Management 

In any type of company, solid organization and time management skills are a great asset to have in a team member. This is because it is with these skills that teams are able to accomplish more projects and tasks in a timely fashion. If you are looking to build a team that is capable of staying on top of duties to meet and exceed business goals, hiring with this talent in mind is crucial. 

Candidates who display these skills are more likely to be able to prioritize projects, time tasks accordingly with deadlines, and generally avoid the most common productivity-sucking pitfalls that most teams fall into. By finding team members with these skills, you will save yourself hours of valuable time that could be spent elsewhere.

By hiring motivated, talented team members with these skills and abilities, you can cultivate an ultra-productive environment where each member is passionate about their role in the company and feels appreciated for all of their contributions.

Three of the Best Hiring Tips for Building the Most Talented Teams Possible 

In addition to scoping out specific soft skills and talents in prospective hires, there are a few things to think about during the hiring process that will help you narrow in on the most talented team of candidates possible. Here are a few best practices for hiring the team of your company’s dreams: 

Think About Diverse Candidates 

When everyone on a team has an identical background, it is all too common for teams to stay pigeonholed into the same ideas and ways of thinking. This often leads to a stagnant and less talented group of people. This is where the importance of diversity and inclusion comes into play. 

Whether it’s diversity regarding someone’s gender, race, sexuality, socioeconomic status, religious beliefs, or any other parts that makeup one’s identity, creating teams filled with various backgrounds will undoubtedly help organizations increase their innovation, creativity, and ability to connect with a wider range of audiences and consumers. 

One insightful example that reveals the benefits of diversity in building talented teams was the finding that higher representation of women in C-suite level positions increased returns to shareholders by 34 percent. Additionally, it was also found that companies with higher than average diversity had 19 percent higher innovation revenues. 

Think About Your Interview Questions

Asking the right types of interview questions is the first step in finding the most talented candidates for your vacant role. In addition to asking about previous experiences and educational backgrounds, it is equally important to pose open-ended questions that help you dig deep and truly assess where a person’s true talents and abilities lie. 

This might entail questions about a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses, their ideal workplace environment, how they handle conflict or stress, what they are most proud of, and so much more. The possibilities for great open-ended interview questions are truly limitless! 

Think about workplace culture fit

Part of the process of building a team around talent is considering how a future employee will fit in with the culture of your current team. If someone doesn’t have the personality to fit into your culture, it can be difficult to build a cohesive and trusting team. It is all about finding team members with skills that not only complement one another, but also complement the mission, values, and overall mindset that defines the norms of a workplace. 

Final Thoughts: Talent Trumps Traditional Roles Each and Every Time 

It is clear that in today’s ever-changing career landscape, building teams around talent is so much more important than the traditional roles of the past. If you are ready to hone in on top talent to bring fresh ideas to your team, start focusing on the soft skills and personality traits that they can contribute to your company. 

I guarantee it will go a long way in improving your business operations, efficiency, and profits over time! 

Author Bio: 

Allison Todd is a coach and consultant with over 20 years of experience transforming small and large businesses’ operations and profitability. Whether it’s beginning, launching, or scaling a business, Allison founded her coaching and mentoring business with the hopes of helping clients conquer their fears and build confidence to take their business to the next level. 



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