A couple of months ago I met with colleagues from a previous role. We quickly realised that it had been around 15 years since we last met. That floored me. How could it have been 15 years since I last saw these guys in person, and how come we could all just pick up again where we left off?

During the following week I thought back to when we worked together and how well we worked as a team. We all knew our roles and responsibilities and, for the most part, everything just clicked. We were a great team, producing great work.

Whilst all businesses are finding their own way through the current situation (and all the technical, financial and social impact it is bringing to all our lives), it strikes me that now is a great time to map out what your dream team looks and feels like.

Now may not be the right time for you to hire, but when the time does come (and it will, despite the panic many of us feel at times during this crisis), wouldn’t it be great to have that perfect team picture in your business plan so that you can get to work on it straight away?

So how do you go about working that out? I would suggest that first and foremost you need to think about what kind of leader you want to be. Jasmin Egner, my co-founder at Cordial Fox, wrote an incredibly impactful talk on true leadership a while back and it is as utterly relevant today as it was when she wrote it. The top tips presented in that talk are intended to inspire those in leadership positions to be true leaders by making a number of key factors part of their very core.

One of her tips really strikes me as vitally important when hiring. A true leader holds space for their team, allowing the voice of everyone to be heard. Jasmin succinctly puts it “give those a voice who have great ideas but are socially anxious. Maybe they’re on the autism spectrum or maybe they just haven’t yet found their voice. Invite confident members of your staff to join a panel of work buddies from which quieter staff members can take their pick. It gives the work buddies a sense of responsibility, because they are helping a colleague get ahead, and it creates a stronger sense of belonging for your quieter staff member too, because they know they have someone to voice their concerns or communicate their ideas, if they can’t yet do it themselves. You can find buddy schemes from primary school, through university and the military. Simple to organize and proven to work, it’s a win-win”. This approach works with a team that has a variety of personality types – and let’s face it, the best teams always have that variety.

Your recruitment plan should be an integral part of your business plan. Now is a great time to be revisiting your business plan and reassessing what position you need to be in now and over the next 9 to 12 months. I can help you with this. We can work together to overcome the challenges you are facing by revisiting your plans and adapting them accordingly.

Once you have a plan for what your ultimate team looks like, you’ll still need to find and put those people in place (if they’re not already there). That’s where a strong relationship with a trusted recruiter comes in to play.

Daniel Poole, Senior Consultant at recruitment firm Handle suggests that the relationship between recruiter and hiring client relies on ensuring there’s a solid understanding of the organisations requirements. “For me, when I help build a client’s team, it all starts with asking the right initial questions to really understand which out of all the key traits and skills in the job description are pivotal. Quite often there’s a long list of wants, and needs, but it can often boil down to a few things that really make the difference.

Dan continues “Understanding the client’s business and culture also play a huge part in introducing the right people, this can often lead to introducing candidates who on paper are slightly left-field choices. As recruiters, we meet a lot of people, and our initial interview processes give us fantastic insight. We are trained to make quick mental connections and to have a gut feel as to which agencies people will be best suited, both on a work and cultural level

Will Grasshoff, MD of OX Seven agrees that trusting your gut instinct should play a big part, “The only true barometer of success is time. We have all had examples of people who seem like the best thing since sliced bread on day one, yet after a full week working with them you want to fire them out of a cannon to the moon. We also have people who are growers and who you can really warm to over a prolonged period. There’s plenty of psychometric testing you can do, but ultimately you have to trust your gut.

For Luca Lusardi, Executive Consultant at The Unit Agency, personality and creative style are of paramount importance, “I would always look at the existing team first and put personality and creative style before where they have worked because as far as I’m concerned, you could have someone working at GSK and another at Amazon but if they have the same thought process personality will always win.

If I struggle to find someone that would fit in with personality, I would look to put someone in who is polar opposite but has worked at somewhere demanding as they can deal with stakeholders

With hiring paused at most organisations, now is a great time to research and connect with a few recruiters who are specialists in your field. Ask your contacts for recommendations and get in touch with them. The best ones will make time to chat with you to understand your needs and work with you when the time comes to achieve your hiring goals.

Your topline, two-step process looks something like this then:

  1. Work on your recruitment plan as part of the work you’re doing on your operational strategy right now.
  2.  Make connections with trusted recruiters (if those aren’t already in place).

If you need help on your recruitment plan, strategic or operational plan or your business plan in general feel free to get in touch with me for a free initial chat to explore how we can work together and how I can help you.

If you would benefit from coaching sessions in order to gain clarity and focus on your leadership style, your values or your ‘why’, do reach out to Jasmin Egner AKA The Cordial Coach. She is happy to have a free initial 20 minute chat with you to figure out how you can work together.

And if you’re starting out on finding a trusted recruiter I’d recommend any of the recruiters mentioned in this article.

Adam Jennings, Cordial Fox Co-Founder & Creative Leader

Adam Jennings is co-founder of Cordial Fox Limited. He has 25 years of experience in the creative industries, working with clients such as Microsoft, 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, BBC Worldwide and Penguin Random House. Adam is available for creative and strategic consultancy, creative support, public speaking and creative mentoring.