As every person in charge of hiring new employees knows, finding the right candidate on paper can be very different from finding the right candidate for your company. One of the most important things to look for now is the collaborative skills of all potential candidates. While individuality is certainly a cornerstone of what makes a successful company flourish, a great employee will be able to work both individually and collaboratively with a group of other employees. Collaboration on a project leads to a higher success rate as there are more people to catch errors, add insights, and bring individual knowledge to a project that could not have been achieved with a single person alone. While it is always important to find an employee that does not need constant supervision in order to complete a project, it is equally important to find one that knows how to work well with other members of your team. It can seem daunting to look for someone who will actually contribute to a collaborative meeting instead of sitting to the side, but with the following tips, finding that key employee can be a breeze.

One of the most important things to look for when searching for a collaborative candidate is someone who is capable of putting their money where their mouth is. If they talk heavily on their resume about an effective work method they spearheaded at their previous job, question them about it. Ask how they brought other employees in on this endeavor and how they helped implement it in their workspace. You might not necessarily want someone who only talks about themselves. Of course, a good candidate will want to highlight their strengths in this instance, a good collaborator will talk about how they delegated tasks to help make the implementation of a new system easier for everyone. Just think of it as a “we not me” mentality.

A good collaborative employee should also be someone who has top quality communication skills. It is all very well and good to have good ideas, but if you keep them to yourself, you’re hurting everyone else. Effectively being able to communicate ideas and thoughts is paramount to a successful collaborative team. A collaborative employee with good communication skills should be able to discuss every person’s role in the project and should be open to both praise and criticism from their team. An employee who is not able to communicate effectively with the rest of the team can quickly become a hindrance instead of a help.

A more difficult but extremely important qualifier to track down are a candidate’s prior team members.These people will be much more likely to be knowledgeable about a potential candidate’s collaborative effectiveness as opposed to a manager. These are the people who worked next to the candidate every day, who saw whether or not they were an effective collaborator or simply someone who tagged their name on the project without doing any of the work. If this candidate is good, there should be more than one person willing to attest to their success rate at collaborative work.

The final thing you should check for before you make that final decision  is if the candidate’s resume has any collaborative work experience listed. While this might seem obvious, it can be difficult to parse a resume to see if it is true. Look for any keywords around team, such as “group”, “partner”, or even “team” itself. While some candidates might think they are capable of collaborative work, unless they have experienced it and been successful, you might want to look elsewhere.