Benefits of Team-Based Hiring

Collaborative hiring – traditionally the in-house recruiter working with the supervisor of the vacant position – has now evolved to a team-based hiring approach. Typically, the team not only includes managers, but also non-supervisory staff members of the department doing the recruiting. Some imaginative firms have expanded the collaborative concept even further.

What’s so great about team-based hiring?

Pete Jansons, CareerBuilder’s New Business Group VP, supports the enlistment of non-supervisory team members to help hire.

“Why not?” he wrote in How to Involve Employees in the Hiring Process.” You trust them on so many decisions that are vital to the firm, why not trust them on this?”

Jansons talked of compelling benefits:

  • Because they will need to work alongside new hires, front line staff have a vested interest in finding top-notch candidates
  • These workers’ intimate knowledge of company culture gives them a great feel for which candidates would fit in well.
  • Current staff can be the company’s best salespeople. Who better to answer questions and sing the praises of working there?
  • When a new hire onboards, fellow workers might feel responsible, going the extra mile to welcome them and get them up to speed.

Digital marketing consultancy Uhuru Network has been conducting team hires for four years. According to CEO Peter Lang, it has unified the staff.

“Our entire culture is based on team collaboration, and even on remote collaboration, which is more difficult,” Lang told us. “We have to have a lot of transparency.”

The team hiring enables such transparency, by including non-supervisory staff in the interview process. According to Lang it just makes sense.

“Many of the staff are going to be shadowed by the new hires, and so they have a stake in the hiring decision,” he said. “They have to work with them and vouch for them. They have skin in the game.”

Menlo Innovations designs software and offers consulting services to firms in the technical industry. Its recruitment process is, according to CEO Richard Sheridan, ‘The Most Unusual–and Effective–Hiring Process You’ll Ever See.”

Menlo’s version of collaboration is unique, pairing two candidates, whose collaborative effort is to be focused on getting each other hired.   

We want good kindergarten skills at Menlo, and we test for them from the very beginning,” Sheridan wrote. “An existing employee [one of three in the monitoring group] observes and takes notes on each pair while it collaborates on a task typical of the company’s work. They look for specific evidence of authentic collaboration, confidence and humility. It all takes place in the same big, open, noisy room we work in all day long.”

Every 20 minutes candidates are re-paired with new partners. Once each candidate has worked with every other candidate, they’re all excused, and the hiring-team pizza party begins. Each observer gives each applicant thumbs up or down. Three thumbs up the candidate moves to live skills testing, also a hiring-team effort. Three thumbs down they’re eliminated from consideration. If the vote is somewhere in between, the hiring team quizzes the observers about the candidates, after which the entire team votes on who to invite to the next round. Majority rules.

Sheridan loves the process because the team decides, not the managers; and because it’s fast.

“Our mass auditions start at 4 P.M. and wrap up by 6 P.M.,” he said. “Last week, 38 candidates turned up for an audition, and we had finished voting on them by 8 P.M. Imagine evaluating 38 applicants in just four hours.”


Do Candidates like team hiring?

According to Sheridan, candidates also love the process.

“Thank you for creating such an amazing culture,” one applicant told him. “Even if I don’t get invited back, I will remember this interview forever.”

Aaron Richmond, digital marketing executive for High Speed Training, has been immersed in collaborative hiring for quite some time. A noted UK-based online training provider, High Speed’s hiring is team-based for every position; nearly all the staff, including Richmond, have been through the process as candidates.   He shared with us his candidate experience, which began with a “recruitment event.”

“The team aspect probably started as soon as I walked in – candidates were seated around a large table in the lunch area interspersed among employees and I had no idea who worked in what department, what job titles anyone had, or who was in a management position,” he told us. “Face-to-face was the only aspect that was team-based but I’d later learn that teams are involved in filtering through resumes and selecting the candidates who make it to the interview stage.”

For his marketing-position interview, the company chair and every member of the marketing team was present, including director, manager and all non-supervisory staff members.  

“Even though I wouldn’t be working with [all of] them directly, because culture fit is so important for the business, they try and get an opinion of that culture fit from as wide a spectrum as possible,” he said.

Richmond was very pleased that the interview included so many workers.

“I got along with the non-supervisory members of the Marketing team really well,” he said. “The interviews with them felt a lot less formal than with management but, more than anything, I found it sold the company to me because I was able to speak to the people I’d be working with before I was even hired. It made me want to work there even more and to make sure I gave my all to the process.”

Richmond described it as his favorite interview ever.

“Having now conducted the interviews myself and knowing how it feels from both sides, I could not be a stronger advocate of the team-hire process,” he said. 

Prior to team-based, traditional hiring has merely satisfied the needs of department heads and immediate supervisors, and pleased the one of many applicants that landed the job. In contrast, team hiring positively impacts time to hire, quality of hire, company executives, non-supervisory staff, those hired, and even candidates who didn’t get the gig this time around.

Could there be any better result?