It seems businesses and organizations are always on the hunt to get the best and brightest talent out there; the “crème de la crème.” Meanwhile, prospects are padding resumes with degrees and certifications, using descriptors like, “self-motivated” and “expert,” to show why they deserve top billing. Accolades and accomplishments can certainly be appealing and may say a lot about how driven you are. They may even address your level of intelligence. But, they don’t give any indication of what type of team member you are. I have found that determining how skilled or talented an individual is may be secondary to a more pressing question: How will this individual mesh with and improve our team? As a co-worker of mine used to ask prospective employees, “What would your former co-workers have to say about you?”
I have interviewed many (and even hired a few) applicants who had a laundry list of accomplishments that decorated their resumes rather nicely, but who could not function effectively within the context of a team. Maybe all that “self-motivation” was simply self-ishness. Maybe being the “expert” was more about being recognized and having the spotlight shining only on themselves. And, perhaps all those certifiable skills and degrees led them to believe they are never wrong about anything. These attributes usually culminate in being a lousy teammate. So, it is not only what people may advertise about themselves that is important, but more so what their teammates can advertise about them.
Focus on being a great teammate. The accolades – the kind that matter – will follow.