There is no “I” in teamwork

27967753_SWhen attorneys make decisions about what employees to hire, it is important to remember that there is no “I” in teamwork.  The same is generally true as it relates to what employees to retain or promote.

Far too many interviewees will turn basic job interview questions talking about themselves (versus explaining what they would add to the team).  This can happen in all kinds of subtle, and not so subtle, ways.  In non-subtle ways, they will talk incessantly about their goals for their future.  They will talk about what they want for their career.  They will brag in a way that shows arrogance versus confidence.  They might even begin interviewing the employer about the organization itself as if they are not sure they’d want to work for the employer.  And on top of all of this, the word “I” and “me” is often sprinkled in almost every answer.

In subtle ways, they will ask about the vacation time.  They might focus on what type of mentoring program is in existence.  They may ask about the training programs offered, try to investigate aspects of the firm or offer unsolicited suggestions about what the employer can or should do better.  If that wasn’t enough, these individuals often have rigid, or unrealistic demands, as it relates to the pay or the position itself.

At the same time, there is often very little talk about what they would add to the organization.  They don’t explain how they can help.  They don’t illustrate their solid work ethic and exceptional skills.  They don’t talk about their dedication to the craft.  They don’t talk about how they are willing to come in at the ground level, work hard to prove themselves and move up.  They don’t mention that it’s a privilege and honor to be considered for the position.

Think of the professional athletes who are traded to a team who say that they just can’t wait to help the team win a championship versus the athletes who focus on individual achievements.  At the end of the day, the latter shouldn’t inspire an employer to hire or promote somebody.

For those of you who are deciding who to hire, or who to retain or promote, people that focus on themselves throughout an interview are probably not the people you want in your organization.  You’re best to look for the candidates who talk about how it is a privilege and honor to be interviewed for the position, who focus on what they would add to the team and who just want to contribute in any way possible to the organization.  Those are the applicants you want even if they are hard to find.

If anybody else has any comments, feel free to add it in the comment section below.

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