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How to recruit the best people for your team

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Traditionally when hiring new members to a team, team leaders look to see how a new recruit will fit into a team or relate to other team members.

Usually they look out for certain characteristics in order to avoid them, specifically characteristics that will determine how successful individuals relate to others in the team. 

Although it is fair to say there are many different characteristics that recruiters/teams leaders look for when trying to assess how well a new recruit will fit into the team, predominately they evaluate people on how secure, anxious, fearful or dismissive they are.

People who are secure, tend to be calm people who find it easy to get close to others and are seen to work well in a team. 

By contrast, those with anxious or avoidant characteristics are often seen in a pathological light - being either too needy or too aloof, respectively.  

Not surprisingly, secure people are often high on the list to be hired, with the assumption that when team members are secure, they can work well with others, whereas people with the other charateristics are a liability in a team.

So far this all make sense, team leaders want teams that are full of secure people because the team members will work better with each other, but interestingly, research suggests that anxious people are not the liability to a team that we would imagine. In fact, they can even be beneficial.

Researchers Tsachi Ein-Dor and Orgad Tal, had 80 undergraduate students (52 men, 28 women) answer a questionnaire which assessed their personality traits.

Then they were asked to do a follow up study after two weeks where they were given a "help seeking task". This task involved them taking a supposedly virus-infected flash drive to the office of a university official (the Dean's assistant manager).

All participants were met with similar obstacles on the way to the Dean's assistant manager: requests to complete a survey, photocopy some documents, a sign asking visitors to wait outside and a student dumping a load of papers on the floor. These obstacles had one aim, to divert the participants from continuing to seek help for the virus-infected flash drive. 

Ein-Dor and Tal’s research showed interesting results. According to the results, participants who scored high on anxiety were less likely to be diverted from their help-seeking task. More often than not, they refused to do the survey or the photocopying request, ignored the waiting sign and did not help in picking up the papers on the floor. They were single-minded in their quest to seek help for their primary task.

As their results suggest, anxious people are the first ones to notice threats, to seek help from others or raise the alarm. In a team, anxious people will be useful where a team role requires someone with a single-minded focus and the drive to seek out the help needed to get the job done.

The EBW View

Despite the prevailing view that secure people are better for a team's success, Ein-Dor and Tal have shown that there are advantages to be gained from understanding workplace diversity. 

Whilst in real life, anxious people may also cause problems to a team's ability to gain success, this research provides further support for understanding the value that people with different emotional drives can bring to a team's success, rather than one size fits all.

Recruiting and developing teams requires a leader with high Emotional Intelligence to maximise the performance of everybody in the team, whatever their ability and personality. Fortunately, Emotional Intelligence can be learnt and with the right tools can be learnt quickly so leaders can have an immediate impact.

This is where tools like the EBW Global Emotional Intelligence System can help, it provides an assessment platform that enables managers and recruiters to quickly get under the skin of a future team member and provides them with tools to support them so they can have an immediate impact within their new team. 

Discover how EBW Global Emotional Intelligence System reveals what candidates may not want you to know. EQ Recruitment

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The EBW Global Emotional Intelligence System is a unique assessment and development tool for Managers, Executive Coaches, HR experts and Psychologists.

Based on over 20 years of worldwide use and research, it enables you to get leaders and teams to understand why they behave the way they do and use a highly effective 10 step framework to improve their occupational performance.

With a practitioner's network based on 6 continents, all of whom are licensed to use the EBW System, we guarantee the EBW Emotional Intelligence approach empowers leaders and teams to transform themselves and their organisations. 


The EBW is the EQ tool of choice for many world-leading companies, including: