Hiring Collaboration Tips From The Very First Thanksgiving

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Nov 26, 2015
This article is part of a series called Classic TLNT.

Editor’s Note: We published this originally on TLNT on Thanksgiving 2013, and it seems appropriate to repeat it today.

Every November, we all sit down with friends and family to celebrate the ultimate sign of teamwork: the first Thanksgiving.

Back in 1621, a group of 53 Pilgrims and 90 Native Americans shared a harvest feast. Today, we celebrate this collaboration with tons of turkey, stuffing, and giant parade floats.

Thanksgiving is about more than delicious food. It’s really about being able to put aside differences and help others in need.

While the war for talent rages, it can feel like teamwork isn’t as important as beating your competition to the best people. Employers are regularly receiving 250 applicants or more for every corporate job posting, yet the skills gap continues to grow wider.

It’s never felt more difficult to find the right candidates, but collaboration with your hiring team is essential in order to find the best people. So here’s how to take a page from the history books and learn some valuable teamwork lessons from the first Thanksgiving feast:

Cultural fit is important …

It’s pretty obvious the Pilgrims and Native Americans who came together for the first Thanksgiving had wildly different cultures. They practiced different religions, lived different lives, and had different ways of seeing the world. Yet they put these differences aside in order to help one another and share a bountiful harvest.

Being able to jump in and hit the ground running is important when hiring a superstar for your company. Why is company culture so important? Recent figures have found 46 percent of small business new hires fail within the first 18 months, and 89 percent of the time this is due to poor company culture fit. Employee turnover is expensive, and a badly fitting hire can set your company back $50,000 or more.

It’s important to focus on a candidate’s potential company culture fit in the hiring process. This might mean asking questions in the interview which are specific to your company culture.

Perhaps you need someone who can work independently or someone who can roll with the punches of a chaotic startup company. Utilizing one-way video interviews, where candidates answer employers’ written questions on video, is a good way to focus more narrowly on the candidates who will fit into the company culture without wasting time on inefficient phone screens.

So too is following the 94 percent of recruiters using social media to connect with great candidates. By checking out a candidate’s social media footprint, you can get a better feel for their personality and, most importantly, for their level of professionalism.

Just like the Native Americans taught the Pilgrims new ways to farm, you need to embrace new technology in order to find the best fitting employees.

… but so is diversity

When it comes to hiring, it’s smart to remember the importance of cultural fit without letting it impede your company’s needed diversity. Your company needs diverse talent, just like diversity helped saved the Pilgrims back in 1621.

You need someone who can fit into the company culture and will enjoy the workplace environment, which doesn’t mean hiring only one kind of talent. Putting diversity initiatives in place and making sure your entire hiring team is aware of these guidelines is a great way to build a more diverse workforce.

Diversity in the workplace can lead to results as impressive as the first Thanksgiving, since different viewpoints and experiences might be just what your company needs to succeed.

Bring your knowledge to the table

As new settlers to America, the Pilgrims didn’t know much about how to adequately farm this new land. Thankfully, Native Americans like Squanto took the Pilgrims under their wing and taught them everything they needed to know to survive. Without teamwork, the Pilgrims probably wouldn’t have lasted very long in their new home.

Just like the first Thanksgiving, your collaboration with your hiring team only works if everyone brings their unique knowledge and skills to the table. You need to get everyone on the same page and ensure everyone shares what they need from a new hire.

The HR department might understand cultural fit qualifications needed for the organization, while managers in the specific department will know exactly what skills a new hire should possess. Without teamwork, these ingredients can never combine to form the perfect employee.

New technology, like cloud computing and video interviews, make it easy to share guidelines and interviews with the whole team. It doesn’t matter how busy your team members are, or even whether they’re out of town at a meeting.

Taking lessons to heart

Video interviews allow you to record and share answers, while cloud computing helps your team sync up regardless of location. This can help you beat the competition and make job offers to the best candidates faster.

Thanks to their collaboration, the Pilgrims and Native Americans were able to sit down to a delicious feast. Today, we celebrate their teamwork by gorging ourselves on turkey, but we should be taking their lessons to heart if we truly want to hire the best and brightest candidates.

What do you think? What collaboration lessons can you learn from the first Thanksgiving?

This article is part of a series called Classic TLNT.
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