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Ketan Dattani, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Buckingham Futures

Ketan Dattani is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Buckingham Futures and knows a thing or two about the qualities to look for when hiring anyone. In this interview, they share some insights with The Industry Leaders.

Can you share a little about your background and experience in hiring and building successful teams?

Since 1998 I have interviewed 100’s of of people for various roles initially as a recruiter, then whilst I have held leadership roles and most recently for my own businesses.

Building an effective team can be one of the most challenging – and rewarding – parts of leadership. A team that works well together to achieve goals is crucial to the success of a business. But building a successful team is about more than finding a group of people with the right mix of professional skills.

The purpose of a team is that they work together to achieve the common goals of the business using their individual – and collective – strengths, skills, and experience. A well-balanced team is far more productive than individuals working in silos. It’s the key to growth, scalability, and a successful business.

Building a team takes effort, patience, persistence, and time but once you get the balance right, it's easy to see just how effective great teamwork can be.

What are the top 3 qualities you look for when hiring anyone.

  1. Emotional Intelligence - it has huge implications for both interpersonal interaction and the internal regulation of emotions. This means that highly emotionally intelligent team members will work better with their colleagues, clients, stakeholders, and managers, helping to avoid conflict and build strong relationships.

  2. Resilience - it ensures that team members remain focused in the face of challenges or setbacks, stopping them from giving up. Resilience is particularly important in high-pressure roles, such as recruitment.

  3. Conscientiousness - conscientious individuals demonstrate a strong work ethic, are reliable, punctual, pay attention to detail, and show commitment and purpose.

What are some examples of questions you might ask during an interview to determine whether a candidate possesses these key qualities?

During the interview process, a typical question I would ask to assess emotional intelligence would be "Tell me about a time you faced an ethical dilemma at work. How did you deal with it and what was the result?"

To assess resilience I would ask would be "Can you give me an example of where resilience helped you overcome adversity?"

To assess conscientiousness traits, I would ask “Tell me what strategies you use to organise your work.”

If you had to assign weightings to the above qualities, which would get the highest weighting, and why?

If I had to assign weightings to the above qualities, emotional intelligence would get the highest weighting as it is a prerequisite for resilience, and resilience leads to greater motivation.

How do you assess people for qualities like adaptability, resilience, and a growth mindset during the hiring process?

To assess people for qualities like adaptability, resilience, and a growth mindset during the hiring process I ask open-ended questions such as:

* ‘Tell me about a time when you asked for feedback from your supervisor or manager. What was the feedback you were given? Why did you request the feedback?’

* ‘Tell me about a time when you made an error at work. What was the error you made and what did you learn?

* ‘Tell me about a time when you had to do something you’d never done before. How did you feel about it? What was your learning outcome as a result of doing it?’

I am looking for responses that demonstrate the applicants key behaviors of learning agility which include: feedback-seeking, interpersonal risk-taking, collaboration, experimentation, and reflection, as well as speed and flexibility.

How do you balance evaluating a someone's technical skills with their soft skills and overall fit for your team and company culture?

Finding the right balance of excellent soft skills, technical aptitude and and overall fit for your team and company culture is a challenge, and I can tell you from personal experience that failing that challenge has a negative effect for everyone involved.

The first step in balancing soft and technical skills is to define what are the specific skills and behaviors that you want your employees to demonstrate and how will these skills align with your business goals and values?

The key is finding people who are adaptable and resilient, with enough existing technical skill to build upon.

Is there one particular source you tend to find the best candidates?

For Buckingham Futures, the best recruits have always been passive candidates—I connect with people on LinkedIn who are not actively looking for a job and get involved in online discussions, comment sections, chats, and forums. It works well because you're finding successful candidates in their current roles and telling them about your open positions in a none sales manner,

I also use my own website traffic to get applicants. It is an extremely valuable asset for acquiring the best talent and creating and cultivating a talent pool.

It makes it simpler for people to get to know what your company is like as an employer. Also, it gets indexed by search engines, making it easier for job seekers to find your live vacancies.

What advice would you give to someone who is just starting to build a hiring process?

The specific details of the hiring process are unique to each company, but I would advise for the below 10 steps to be followed irrespective of industry and regardless of company size:

1. Identify the hiring need

2. Write a job description and advertise the position

3. Review applications

4. Phone Interview/Initial Screening

5. Face to face interviews

6. Background check

7. Final decision

8. Reference checks

9. Formal job offer

10. Onboarding

Implementing a consistent hiring plan will help optimise your ability to identify the strongest candidate while also creating a clear understanding of your hiring process in the event you need to improve it.

Where should people follow you to find out more about your work?


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