BELBIN is a methodology used to bring each individual’s behavioural “fingerprint” to the team, maximising the team’s potential and containing weaknesses. It can be used with teams, in management training, for leadership development, in recruitment and career development, for conflict management, for employee engagement, for personal development and coaching, in change management. Of all these uses, below we are going to focus on recruitment.
Why use BELBIN to select your next colleagues?
BELBIN shouldn’t be the only tool used in selection and recruitment, but it is a tool that could make the difference between a good fit and a poor one. Because, besides the entry criteria – which ensure an individual will be able to fulfill their responsibilities in the new job (such as meeting the mandatory qualifications, experience and possible references) – potential should also be assessed.
A candidate that ticks all boxes might be a short stayer if they don’t feel that their new job is challenging enough, if they feel couldn’t grow that much more professionally or if they don’t feel like they fit with the other team members.
This is where BELBIN comes in. While the qualifications and experience can be evaluated through interviews, aptitude/ knowledge tests and other methods, the potential and the fit to a group are a bit harder to evaluate if we don’t know what exactly to look for. BELBIN looks at behaviours and what kinds of contributions a person can bring to the team and to the role. What gaps they can fill and how they would mix with the others.
What does BELBIN offer you for assessing potential?
The information provided by the methodology is useful in both internal and external recruitments, allowing us to see potential from a more science-based perspective than just intuition. These are the BELBIN reports you can use to base your decision on:
- Individual reports show us the main contributions in terms of Team Roles, as well as suggestions regarding the types of work the candidate could undertake and the possible mis-matches in terms of responsibilities.
- Team reports show us where gaps in the group appear (from a Team Roles perspective) and how a candidate fits with the other teammates.
- Working relationship reports compare two potential teammates to show how their collaboration could look like, what clashes could appear and how compatible they could be (attention: not similar, but compatible).
- A compatibility report (resulted from comparing a Job Report and an Individual Report) show us, side by side, the expected behaviours for the job, as seen by those knowing the job well, and the profile of the candidate; this allows us to see how well the two overlap and what are the chances of a good fit with the job.
Things to keep in mind in using BELBIN in your recruitment process:
1/3. BELBIN works best when we have the full picture.
That means using the Self Perception and Observer Assessments (how I perceive myself as well as how others see me.) This is because others may notice traits unknown to the candidate, as well as offer a dose of objectivity. If there is an agreement between perspectives, we can be sure those Team Roles are strongly portrayed and well-seen. If differences appear between the two perspectives, we can look to analyse the reasons. For example, the differences between self and others’ perception can indicate:
- wishful thinking (this is how I would like to be, yet others don’t see that/ this is how I do behave, but others don’t see that as strongly as they see other behaviours)
- unknown potential (others may see behaviours the candidate isn’t aware of yet) OR
- more different facets of the same individual (especially if different observers have seen different roles in the top).
However, if we consider external recruitment, adding observers might prove to be too difficult, as the candidate could be reluctant to ask their colleagues to fill in observer assessments so as not to raise suspicions about their intentions. We should always have in mind the confidentiality matters and the boundaries communicated by the candidate to ensure a smooth process. In this case, not having observers shouldn’t be a deal-breaker, but we should compare the results with the things noticed during the other interactions with the candidate.
2/3. The dropped points from the report show us how reliable the Self Perception is.
A too high number indicates lower reliability, as a larger number of points has been allocated to statements focusing more on likeability and not on real contributions inside a team. We should be wary of Self Perception-only reports that have a high number of dropped points and try to correlate that information with information gathered from the other selection steps.
3/3. BELBIN doesn’t give us a definite answer, but it is a tool that helps us to create a complete picture.
Thus, BELBIN should be used in addition to methods aimed to assess the knowledge and aptitudes of the candidates we consider hiring and should come to our aid in making the difference between those candidates that passed the initial selection steps. It can give us valuable information about the chances of a candidate being a good fit with the team and with the company culture. This way, you will ensure to create and build more stable and long-lasting teams. But a completely ineligible candidate, not meeting the required criteria, will hardly be able to perform despite their match with the team.
PS Open a discussion on how to apply BELBIN for increased performance in your business and team with Adrian Rîndașu, Co-Founder and Managing Partner EDUROM, BELBIN Certified Trainer and Consultant: through email | on his LinkedIn.
Edurom is a Management Consulting and Human Resources services group that assists you in achieving outstanding results by providing world-class training methodologies, talent recruitment expertise and executive search, tailored consultancy solutions. EDUROM is officially representing Belbin® in Romania, delivering trainings, generating reports and certifying trainers. The official website of the methodology is https://www.belbin.com/.