How to Hire Better People with Cross-Functional Teams | Atomic Hire Blog
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How to Hire Better People with Cross-Functional Teams3 min read

June 7, 2019 3 min read

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How to Hire Better People with Cross-Functional Teams3 min read

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Hiring top talent is the ultimate goal of any hiring manager or recruiter. In order to achieve this objective, the power of collaboration shouldn’t be underestimated. Although cross-functional teams may not be a new concept in the business world, using a varied team for recruitment could bring a boost to the hiring process. So what can these teams bring to the table and how a cross-functional group of people can help to hire better candidates? Let’s start by understanding how these teams work.

cross-functional team

How do cross-functional teams work?

A cross-functional team represents a group with different functional expertise working towards the same objective. The combination of varied sectors from within a company can create a team of individuals each with their own perspective and specific skillset – something along the lines of ‘Avengers Assemble’.

In spite of its strengths, maintaining a cross-functional team has its own challenges. In a study by Benham Tabrizi, out of 95 cross-functional teams in 25 leading corporations, nearly 75% were dysfunctional.

This negative result was generally due to the initial disorganised setup of the team, and lack of effective leadership to promote accountable goals. Therefore, to establish a successful cross-functional team it is important to consider a number of denominators. These include:

  • Open-minded individuals
  • Strong leadership
  • Substantial resources
  • Motivation
  • Communication
  • Clear objectives

Cross-functional teams are like arteries, as put by Tabrizi, they connect the parts of the body, and enable the organism to renew itself. Cross-functional teams can also be used on a temporary basis to achieve certain objectives, like recruitment.

Why cross-functional teams are important?

As a team format, there are a number of benefits to using a cross-functional system. Some of the main advantages include improved coordination, enhanced problem-solving, and more thorough decision making.

In a collaborative hiring system, each member is invited to share their knowledge, experiences and advice from across the company or organisation. Yet there is a fine line between a positive and negative mix of personalities. On one side, a cross-functional team could help to provide a more educated and unbiased decision towards a new hire. While on the other, a clash of personalities could occur, slowing down the process and interrupting the collaboration.

So, in this case, the responsibility of the hiring manager to select a team of varied functional expertise and somewhat complementary personalities can be rather challenging. Some companies may use team rotation on a monthly or yearly basis to avoid any clashes or tedious habits forming. But once an effective team of cross-functional individuals is formed, the benefits to the hiring process can be invaluable, resulting in an array of better hires.

How can cross-functional teams lead to better hires?

Companies like Google, are big advocates of using recruitment committees in their recruitment process. These companies understand that teams with diverse backgrounds and different opinions can make better, less-biased decisions, which is crucial to find great hires. In a nutshell, the main benefits of using cross-functional teams in recruitment are:

  • Establishing a collaborative culture that is beneficial for the current team and aspiring employees
  • Valuing individual skillsets and experiences to bring different perspectives to allow for more unbiased decision-making
  • Hiring better people by ensuring the candidate is the right fit for the role and for the company as a whole

A collaborative recruitment process is not just valuable for the team itself, but also for the candidates. When their first impression of the company they applied to is a team-orientated hiring system, they may be more inclined to take the job and to continue building the collaborative culture once they join the team.

Making more effective hiring decisions and showcasing a collaborative environment to prospective candidates are some key benefits of using cross-functional teams in recruitment. It takes some time and planning to establish a successful collective hiring process, but if built with clear goals, and strong leadership it can certainly become a recipe for success.

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