Should The Whole Team Be Involved In A Hiring Decision?

Now, there’s a short answer and a long answer. Keep reading to find out more.

Who do you spend the most time with at work?

Team-based hiring, sometimes called “collaborative hiring,” has been on the radar screens for a hot moment: ERE was writing about it back in 2015, for example. The basic idea is that, while a hiring manager may make the final decision, he/she makes that decision with lots of input from the team that the new hire will enter.

This makes logical sense. When you start a job, you spend a good deal of time with the team you are entering, i.e. department or special function. You report to your manager and hopefully get consistent feedback and interaction from them, but we also know via research that a lot of managers are honestly “absentee,” meaning they’re not around and not providing guidance. Often those managers expect new hires to “hit the ground running,” and while that’s a common expectation, the reality is that often when people try to hit the ground running, they really just mess up all their adult teeth. 

Since you spend more time with the team than the direct boss, often, shouldn’t the team have a role in hiring you? And wouldn’t it be a natural fit since they are the people who will need to interact and collaborate with you? Wouldn’t the team members logically be able to tell if you’re a good cultural fit?

What gets in the way of this, then?

Two big things:

  1. Managers wanting control of a process to add someone to their team.
  2. “That’s the way we’ve always done it.”

That first reason is definitely valid. If you have accountability for the success of your team, you want to have the final say on who gets added to it. But collaborative hiring isn’t taking away that final say — all it says process-wise is that you should seek input from other team members.

As for “that’s the way we’ve always done it,” well, we all need to embrace change in our businesses periodically.

How would team-based hiring work?

These steps come to mind:

  1. Sit down with the whole team.
  2. Talk about what you need and where the gaps are. What is making people busy?
  3. Could software help?
  4. If not, and you need a hire, start listing out their responsibilities. 
  5. Now get into the intangible things: What type of personality works best on this team? What about gender, race, age, etc? Does the team need a diversity of people and perspectives?
  6. Once you have a list of intangible (personality, culture fit) and tangible qualities of a new hire, start the screening process.
  7. See if you can design the candidate experience so that candidate info goes to the entire team and not just HR or the manager. 
  8. At the end of every workday, spend 10 minutes discussing the candidates that came in that day.
  9. Have a team meeting at the end of the screening period and decide collectively on the candidates to advance a round.
  10. For phone screens, have a mix of team members conduct them.
  11. When you get to in-person interviews, have the whole team in there!
  12. The team provides input on final candidates to the manager.
  13. The decision is either made by the manager or collectively in the room as final candidates are being discussed.

Now you just added a member to the team that the entire team vetted, as opposed to just the manager … so when the new hire becomes an employee, they’re in a much better position to hit the ground running.

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Diego Gomez

Director of Business Development at Ideal
Diego's background includes a Bachelors Degree in Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering, alongside a Master's in Business, Entrepreneurship, and Technology from the University of Waterloo. He has navigated the waves of enterprise software for the past eight years, serving in business development and sales roles at McAfee and Oracle. He joins Ideal with a passion and interest for the fast evolving environment of startups and the application of emerging technologies to solve enterprise problems. He is passionate about art and music, spending his free time playing the violin and exploring Toronto's exhibitions and festivals.
Diego Gomez

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