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CEO Q&A with John Uprichard, Part 3

FGP has been named one of the best recruitment companies in the country by Forbes Magazine. In the final installment of a three-part series, FGP President and CEO John Uprichard talks about the importance of disruptors in building effective teams and offers insights into how to apply innovation to the hiring process. 


What are some misconceptions surrounding effective team building?

John: One common misconception is thinking that effective teams are comprised of people who think alike. If people have the same cognitive skills and the same behavior, they aren’t able to see all the solutions to a challenge.

In reality, people who think differently and behave differently are, at times, the ones who are the most valuable to a team. They are often viewed as disruptive when they should be seen as valuable complements because they bring insights that the rest of the team doesn’t have.

How does FGP help build high-performing teams?

John: One of the approaches we take is the use of analytics and team mapping. We begin with the individual and we analyze their talents and skill sets. Then, we bring the entire team in, we show them the data, and we have several sessions to identify where the team is currently and what it needs to do in order to become a high-performing unit.

A lot of times it’s a matter of building awareness. For example, when we do the team maps, one person will say to another, "I had no idea that you had a strong numeric ability," and the other will respond, “I have never been put in a position or on a project to use it." There are a lot of revelations that take place when you show teams the data.

What are some examples of ways that companies can be innovative in the hiring process?

John: People often equate innovation with technology, but there are a lot of ways to be innovative in the hiring process that are not technology specific.

As a case in point, we have re-engineered the interview process and transformed it into a business process. Once a company has narrowed its candidate list to two or three finalists, for example, we counsel our clients to provide those finalists with a challenge specific to their business and ask them to give a presentation on how to solve that problem. This provides valuable insights into the candidate’s thought process, how they prepare, how they communicate in front of an audience, and how they engage with the rest of the team—all key aspects that would not be apparent in a traditional interview environment. If it's a leadership role, the question might be, “Describe your six-month integration into the company and the strategy you will set for your business unit." Clients and candidates love it; they want something different.

We also send candidates a copy of our process map. It aligns expectations on the front end, which is especially important when recruiting passive candidates who are in the seat doing the job at another company. As professionals, one of our most important commodities is time, and our process map lets candidates know what their time investment will be moving forward in the process. It also lets them know that we value their time.

A third example, and one that we counsel our clients on, is inclusion. The spouse and family members are a critical part of the hiring process. Relocation is a family decision now more than ever before. We recommend that when companies bring a finalist in, that they make the investment and offer to pay for the spouse’s travel as well. Find out what’s important to the spouse, and while the candidate is interviewing, have an agenda so the spouse can get to know and engage with the area as well.

What is your long-term vision for FGP?

John: Our vision for the company is growth. Over the past 10 years, we have more than doubled the size of our company. In order to continue to grow, we need to invest in our people at every level from individual contributors to team leads, to ensure they have the capabilities and capacities to help our clients build great companies. We want to build a brand that is positioned to help our clients solve business problems by providing diverse talent solutions.