“Do you like working in a team”? they asked her. Rima said “yes”. “Give us an example of when you were working with a team what were the results and your role in the work”, the panelist asked her. Rima didn’t blink her eyes, her head was racing searching for an example. She was not sure of how to respond to the query.
Rima was in an interview and panelists were firing volley of questions at her and this one was the last volley at her her….She thought hard and blurted,,,”we had this massive project with a very tight timeline further accentuated by budget cuts and we managed to pull it off within timeline and slashed budgets”. “So what was your role”? Rima thought hard what had she done during the project, she was assigned legwork of the project. Coordination and compilation of the project. There were others who were leading the project, making decisions, some others system experts and others what you would call SMEs in the project. She tried to explain that she was one of the many who worked on the project to ensure that the team was able to deliver. Ms Rima can you explain what was your role in the project. Rima thought hard how can she explain what her role was. She was assigned certain work that she did very diligently, suggested some ideas to her seniors but at the end of the day just did her job.
Rima introspected did her participation in the team really count. What about the endless hours she spent at her laptop trying to complete her work. There were no weekends or any family time during that time, all she did wok. Was all that in vain, did it mean that the project could have been completed without her and her contribution was insignificant? What about that time when her colleague was unwell and there was an important milestone to be delivered she was a backup for her colleague. Did it not count to anything when her team members came to her when they were low or too stressed and needed someone to smile or crack a quick joke. Didn’t she help keep the entire team sane? Were her efforts of motivating or helping her team mates in vain? But this was not part of her job, she did it because she felt it was needed and she empathized and understood the team. She was the one person who team members would go to resolve conflicts on the team or if they just needed space.
“Ms. Rima it will be great if you can articulate clearly what was your role in this project”? Rima was quiet for some time and then simply answered, “Apart from doing the work that Is assigned to me. I maintain harmony and morale of the team”. The interview Panel were puzzled asked her to explain. Rima said, “the project lead and all other prestigious roles are taken and they have to lead a team, I am team member who is like a soldier in the infantry. I can work tirelessly and when others are tired I can bring a cheer to them. I don’t get paid for doing that but I think it’s is important to build a team culture and I help build it. Having a huge team can lead to conflicts, conflicts that even people don’t realize exits or accept. I help nip them in the bud. Overall I am not a quarter back, but I am someone who can help the quarter back gain ground and make a touchdown.
The panelist didn’t seem to understand. At that point Rima made a decision that this was not the place she would like to associate herself with. The interview ended, they were only interested in what her role was but didn’t understand the role she and many others played over and beyond their job. Many of us fail to recognize the need of such employees who bind the team together, they may not be star performers but are very important nucleus of an organization as they can change the way a team function.
So the next time you are in the interview panel, be clear of who you want to hire, the star performer, project leader, or just someone who sits at the corner cubicle but acts like glue for the team. You dont always need a star performer sometimes you need someone who help others excel in what they do.
The below link hosted by Performia Australia is a good representation.