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Involving your team in hiring

You might try to minimize your team’s involvement in hiring because you think it’s distracting. That’s shortsighted.

You are hiring to build and better your team — involving your existing team members at strategic moments results in better hiring outcomes.


Role design

When you’ve identified a need to hire, involving the team in refining the job requirements pays off. Folks closer to the day-to-day work can help clarify (or veto) specifics of what you need in a hire both in the short- and longer term. People on the team can add color to the job description, making it a more realistic representation, and therefore more helpful and appealing for candidates.

Candidate sourcing

Getting your team involved can significantly boost your candidate sourcing efforts. Give your teammates a clearer picture of why you’re hiring and the skills and objectives needed for the role by having them collaborate on designing it. When they know what’s needed for the role, they’ll have an easier time reaching out to relevant individuals and parts of their networks for referrals. Making a genuine, personal, and tailored ask to join my team is much more effective than a generic solicitation.

Interviews

Research suggests that using structured interviews is one of the best ways to improve your hiring process¹—helping to de-risk hiring decisions by reducing bias and enabling consistent evaluation and candidate experiences. Interviews also offer teammates an opportunity to meet and evaluate candidates and candidates to meet their potential future colleagues.

You can find out how a candidate will work with the team by setting up a work sample-style interview with team members, like having candidates perform an example task in front of or with the team. While panel interviews are traditionally not widely used, it is common to collaborate with more than one colleague while on the job, so involving teammates on the interview panel is an excellent way to approximate real-world working conditions to assess candidates.

Hiring decisions

At most companies, hiring managers or executives make the final call about whether to make a candidate an offer or not.  For this critical decision, we can learn from Nobel prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman, who has shown how humans easily anchor judgments around small amounts of information instead of seeing the whole and more accurate picture.  

With hiring, this means data collected throughout a structured hiring process informs better decisions; and multiple interviewers independently assessing multiple skills leads to more comprehensive, realistic judgments about candidates. So when it comes time to make a call on a candidate, go about it like a judge (that would be the hiring manager) and jury (the interviewing team). The judge is responsible for the decision but should not overrule the jury lightly.

Research also shows the candidates with a stakeholder advocate in the hiring process are more likely to be successful on the job.² It makes sense: interviewers who champion a candidate will be personally invested in helping them be successful on the job.

Candidate experience

Hiring is a two-way street between companies and candidates. If the candidate isn’t feeling good about the opportunity, you’ll have a hard time closing them. Giving candidates confidence they have a thorough understanding of what it will be like on the job can minimize hesitation. To effectively provide candidates with an accurate sense of the job, use a realistic job description informed by the team and involve future colleagues in the interview process. This gives the candidate a chance to meet the individuals on the team and see how they work together.

We hear from a lot of hiring managers that they try to minimize their team’s involvement with hiring, as it is costly from a time perspective. This is shortsighted. Modern work is teamwork. Hiring for a great team gets the team involved.

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¹Huffcutt, A. I., & Culbertson, S. S. (2011). Interviews. In S. Zedeck (Ed.), APA Handbook of Industrial and Organizational Psychology (Vol. 2, pp. 185–203). American Psychological Association.
Schmidt, F. L., & Hunter, J. E. (1998). The validity and utility of selection methods in personnel psychology: Practical and theoretical implications of 85 years of research findings. Psychological Bulletin, 124(2), 262–274. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.124.2.262

²Burks, S., Cowgill, B., Hoffman, M. & Housman, M. (2013). “You’d Be Perfect for This:” Understanding the Value of Hiring through Referrals. Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), Bonn, Germany.