How to develop a recruitment team ethic

A team is a group where all members focus on the collective target. In many respects recruitment is not a team game. However as a manager, I soon realised that there were going to be huge commercial and personal gains to be made by generating a team atmosphere as far as it was possible.

One of my objectives was to make our competitors scared of the whole team, not just the superstars. The team became very close knit. Strong friendships and mutual trust was formed. The revenue reflected the joint effort of the team, the sharing of ideas and the close personal bonds between each team member.

This environment also then provides its own support mechanism for consultants and their leaders, when results do not go as hoped for, or when disaster strikes. The team ethic fosters loyalty to the business and the team and helps ensure the talent stays with you and doesn’t walk out the door every time a competitor comes knocking.

Certain rules were established – no hiding candidates, no talking candidates out of your colleague’s vacancies (both of these tactics were common between two members of the team I joined in 1982), and no bitching or talking behind someone else’s back. Fair play was paramount. We went out for team drinks regularly – the team that plays together stays together.

In my experience, a lot of recruitment firms could do much more to generate genuine team spirit… and I do not mean by throwing a load of cash at paintballing, abseiling  or some other ‘corporate team-building’ event. If you feel that you need to do something like that to get a ‘team’, you have probably already left it too late. Consultants can see through that sort of ruse a mile off.

Ask yourself:

To what extent do you have a team?

Can your consultants operate as team players or are they totally selfish?

Do members of your team look at the team target, or just their individual target?


What do you currently do, or could you do, to build teamwork and team spirit?

Write down a list of ideas before reading my suggestions.

Suggested answers

1. Use the term ‘team’ more often. ‘Good morning team’ was something I used to say every day. We always talked in terms of ‘the team’.

2. Encourage team members to communicate and ask for ideas of each other during the day. Generate noise and buzz.

3. Make sure they are aware of the team targets and provide team performance updates.

4. Set rewards for team as well as individual performance.

5. Have set times in the day for making sales calls as a group. Make sure you include yourself in that process. They need to see you making sales calls.

6. Create synergies by ensuring complementary teams are working closely together, ie temp and perm.

7. Senior consultants to coach junior members of team.

8. More joint interviewing (not just junior and senior).

9. More joint client visits (not just senior and junior).

10. Establish small teams to work on large projects, ie arrange a marketing event.

11. Arrange team social events. Have fun together.

12. Celebrate the team’s successes together.

13. Have team competitions, such as around filling difficult jobs or placing ‘unusual’ candidates.

14. Hold constructive team meetings.

15. Play a loud tape of background chatter and noise in the office. This also helps give the impression to callers that you have a large, extremely busy team. Great fun.

The above is an extract from How To Be A Great Recruitment Manager, a new e-book written by specialist recruitment trainer Dean Gollings. Visit to buy.

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