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Why “meeting the team” is more important than you think

By November 25, 2021No Comments

I, like every sane Kiwi, am double vaccinated. I also support the temporary suspension of some of our freedoms. Perhaps I’m what tinfoil hat-wearers would describe as “sheeple”. Perhaps I just don’t like people dying unnecessarily . I am however in the majority – with most people from most walks of life agreeing that vaccinations and a bit of time apart will benefit us all in the long-term. We may bicker about the finer details, but overall, we’re on the same side.

It’s been interesting observing the anti-vaxx and anti-lockdown protests both here and abroad however. Not interesting because these people put up a convincing or eloquent argument. More so, I observe with interest that no matter the country, the groups who attend are almost always cut from the same cloth. Unlike us pro-vaxxers who all sit on the spectrum of “alright”, the anti-vaxxers are a veritable rogues gallery of weirdos, religious crack-pots, racists, criminals, fitness “influencers” (the worst), Trump supporters,  and gang members. (Do I sound bigotted? Hmmmm…I’m not the one making death threats or attending super-spreader events, so I don’t care all that much). However that’s not to say there aren’t a tiny smattering of “alright” people who have somehow been led astray, but they’re in the serious minority. In the most part, the rallies at the Domain look like a “come as someone you really wouldn’t want to associate with” dress-up party.

And this is the bit that strikes me as most odd. If you’re one of the “alright” people standing there listening to Brian f*cking Tamaki, do you not look around and think “Bloody Hell. Is this the company I’m keeping? Do I really think this lot are on the right side of history? Matey-Boy here is wearing a MAGA hat and Margaret with the tie-dye singlet looks like she’s got Lenny Kravitz in a headlock”?

Scott wrote a blog last week about remote-onboarding in lockdown, and it got me thinking about the recruitment process in these strange times. Typically, it runs like this: Interview with Recruiter. Interview with Hiring Manager. Interview with Hiring Manager plus their boss/underling/peer. References. Meet the team. This “meet the team” is very much the proverbial rubber stamp, and providing the Recruiter can keep the candidate off the booze, the invoice is already sitting in Xero drafts. And in a Covid world, this “meet the team” may be an online drink on a Friday afternoon if anything at all. In many cases, it’s just been dropped in its entirety from the process. In fact, in the majority of placements I’ve made in my 15 years as a recruiter, the team has mostly been left…un-met. And when the team are met, it’s often seen as the team assessing the candidate and not the other way round. We take it as a given that candidate is already sold on the job.

But here’s an idea. What about if we operate under the premise that work relationships, and feeling like you belong, and are part of a team of like-minded souls, was really, really important? What about giving a candidate early exposure to who they’ll be spending 8 hours a day with, who they’ll be going for a beer with, who they’ll be arguing with, and who they might eventually call their work husband or wife? Imagine if we could let the candidate, prior to committing to a role, assess if they’ll be hanging out with the Trump supporting gang members, or those who are actually “alright”? Imagine if the “culture” wasn’t just the flowery description from the Manager, but something you could try before you buy? Be great wouldn’t it. In almost any other situation life throws at us, we get to dip our toe in the water before signing on the dotted line. Interested in Islam? Visit the local mosque and see for yourself. Think you might be gay? Fool around with your college roommate. Want to get married? Date each other first. Want to join the National Party? Watch a pack of hyenas tear themselves to pieces fighting over a deer carcass. In the world of recruitment, no such thing happens. You can view the shiny surface, and take the leap of faith. No returns, no refunds. And all we need to do to change this is bring the “meet the team” forward to any point which is “pre-decision” for both parties. It’s actually pretty simple.

Will we do it though? Nah. Unfortuantely, we’re all too paranoid that our bosses will find out that we’re interviewing elsewhere to try anything quite so sensible. Ah well. It was a nice idea.

Anyway, one week to go Auckland.