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Remodel Your Hiring Process With Team Interviewing

by Caliper
on 2015-05-08

Team interviews can take a hiring process that is old and worn and bring it back to life, helping you hire great employees that stay and shine! And the process is DIY once you have the tools.

A team interview typically involves assembling several interviewers to gain a broader perspective on the candidate’s experience, skills, and personality. The interview-panel format is especially helpful when the candidate will be reporting to more than one manager, since interviewers all get to hear the same responses and can follow up on each other’s questions. Alternatively, team interviews can be conducted in a series of one-on-one meetings for ease of scheduling (and to reduce the intimidation level for candidates).

Two key elements of team interviewing are variety and consistency. Employ both and notice how much richer and accurate your selections become.

You can incorporate variety into the process by engaging interviewers with distinct personality differences. For example, you might enlist one interviewer who is process oriented and another who is a task juggler, one who is gregarious alongside someone who is reserved, or pair a big-picture thinker with a tactical one. This shows candidates the diversity they’ll experience. With enough personality ‘flavor’ in the mix, your candidate will also find the interviewer who best puts her at ease and, by extension, encourages her to be more authentic.

Consider variety in perspectives as well.  Whether people are interviewers or not, their perspectives are critical when putting together questions. Ask yourself:

  • Are the manager’s concerns represented? What about peers? What behavioral questions should I ask of the applicant to address these views?
  • Are internal customers represented?
  • Have I incorporated a matrix manager’s needs?
  • Will the candidate have direct reports? If so, how can I address their concerns in the interview?

Then take the time to brainstorm questions that touch on the range of perspectives.

You can also vary where you conduct interviews. It may not be possible for the candidate to visit each interviewer’s office, yet parading interviewers into a conference room can be tiring for everyone. Break things up by holding some interviews in a central location and others in offices.

Consistency is equally critical to maximizing hiring effectiveness. Try using a structured guide that gives interviewers parameters and guidelines for asking questions. Instead of each person asking the same question, discuss in advance who will be covering which questions and how.

Training can help interviewers who are inexperienced in asking behavioral questions. Making the effort to build those skills across your interview team will pay off big time.

Determine in advance the maximum number of interviews for candidates. Putting them “through the wringer” in a prolonged hiring process is grueling for them and defeating for you, and it makes the calibration of interview results time consuming and hard to achieve. But whatever that number is, be consistent in how you apply it.

Finally, spend a consistent amount of time debriefing your team. Don’t shortchange a candidate because one team member can’t meet at a particular time. Wait until everyone is present to review your scores and notes. It’s also a good idea to have a facilitator conduct the calibration so that all voices are heard.

Reminders for variety:

  • Expose your candidates to multiple personalities within the organization.
  • Apply a range of perspectives when crafting interview questions.
  • Use variety in meeting locations and times.

Reminders for consistency:

  • Ask the same set of core questions to each candidate.
  • Debrief with your interview team consistently.
  • Use consistent selection tools beyond interviews.

By adding these simple items to your hiring toolbox, you can rebuild your staffing process so that it’s better than ever.