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Recruitment and Belbin Team Roles

Many companies use some form of testing for recruitment and the range of tests available seems to be growing and growing. Firstly, store we need to decide what type of person we need, then how we are going to measure that need and, from that, what tests to use; aptitude tests, such as verbal, numerical or abstract reasoning, personality tests or behavioural tests. In an assessment centre several types of tests may be used.

Bebin team roles measures behaviour in the workplace.  Devised by Meredith Belbin and colleagues in the 1970s and based on research at Henley Management College, this technique has been updated many times since it first appeared.

Many companies find Belbin team roles very useful when recruiting, particularly when they evaluate the needs of a team, how a new member will fit with the team and what type of style or contribution would strengthen the team. For example, the company may have a team that excels in many respects, but lack that extra bit of creativity. So, they may decide to recruit a new member who has strong Belbin Plant tendencies, a natural ideas generator. Or, they may have a team which is strong on ideas, but not so good at evaluating them, in which case they would benefit from a Monitor Evaluator in their midst. Equally, they may excel at generating and evaluating the ideas, but are slow to implement or to finalise. In this situation an Implementer and/or a Completer Finisher would be the ideal recruit.

Belbin can also be very helpful when putting together a new team, for example an improvement team. Individuals with Shaper tendencies are very beneficial at the start of an improvement project because they will provide the drive and focus needed, as well as being very conscious of deadlines and timescales. However, too many Shapers in a team can be a disaster, because they will compete with one another to be top dog, wrestling for control and pulling the team apart in the process. Coordinators will also be able to contribute their ability to take a broad view and stimulate contributions from all team members.

Later on project progress may benefit from adding a Resource Investigator to the team, to gather ideas and resources from outside the team, stakeholder or customer inputs, although don’t ask the Resource Investigator to perform a painstaking collection and analysis of data; they get bored far too easily. A Specialist can be drafted in to provide their specific knowledge.

Further in the Monitor Evaluator will contribute to analysis and contingency planning, the Completer Finisher may help to pick through the detail and to promote error proofing. Finally, the Teamworker could facilitate everyone affected by the project to adjust to the associated changes, to celebrate successes and reduce the threat of change.

If you would like to find out more about how Belbin team roles could benefit your recruitment or team formation needs, please contact us at Pathfinder Associates, or see further information at or


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