Should You Consider Collaborative Hiring? Ryan Ayers

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In a leadership role, the responsibility of vetting and choosing new hires will more often than not fall on your shoulders. While that allows you to have a huge amount of control over who joins your team, it’s also a huge responsibility. A bad hiring decision can cost a company big. How much? That’s not always clear. There is an immense range of estimates in the figures experts say are the real costs of hiring and onboarding an employee—costs that are for nothing should an employee resign or be fired quickly. All agree, however, that turnover is costly. In one eye-opening example, Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, has an idea of how much bad hires have cost his company: over $100 million over the years. Not only are bad hires expensive, they can also have a negative impact on morale, engagement, innovation and productivity.

So how to minimize these costs? Could it be that bringing other people in on the hiring decisions (your employees) could help reduce turnover rates, save money, and improve the team overall? If you’ve ever considered collaborative hiring, here’s what you need to know.

Collaborative Hiring: The Benefits

There’s a lot to like about collaborative hiring. Many job seekers have noted a positive experience when the team is involved in the hiring process. First, who knows what it’s like to do their jobs than your team members? Sure, you may lead or manage your team, but they’re in the thick of everyday work, and know what it takes to get the job done. This not only helps you get to know the candidates, it helps candidates see what it’s really like to work at your organization on all levels.

In addition to knowing the company and culture on a different level than you, your employees will only give the thumbs up to people they can see liking and getting along with. Culture fit is so immensely important, especially when you’re trying to build an innovative company. Sure, you team members don’t all need to be best friends with one another, but they’ll need to get along for teamwork and collaboration to happen.

Potential Challenges

One notable feature of collaborative hiring is having multiple opinions and point of view on your side as you make hiring decisions. This can both work for you…and against you. Not everyone is going to have the same opinion, and if your team members disagree during the hiring process, you may need to be the mediator. Additionally, depending on your existing team, collaborative hiring could help improve overall diversity—but it could also curtail diversity efforts. Most companies now realize how crucial diversity is to growth and employee satisfaction, but it takes concentrated effort to build a diverse team. Currently, only 27.3% of American companies have diversity plans, and incorporating a diversity initiative into a collaborative hiring plan is another layer that needs to be considered.

There are many different variables in the success of collaborative hiring depending on the personalities and backgrounds of your team members. There are also logistical challenges that come up with collaborative hiring—how will you design the interview process? Will the candidates be interviewed by several people at once? One at a time? Will each person ask standard questions? Some companies have taken a more hands-on approach to solve this problem, with Pret A Manger candidates experience a day in the store, and have the employees rate them afterward.

Tips for Making Collaborative Hiring Work

If you’re interested in the potential of collaborative hiring, then you might be wondering how best to incorporate the practice in your office. Employees are often suspicious of change, and they might not know how to participate in this new initiative. Fortunately, there are small ways to get started so you can ease into collaborative hiring and see if it will work for you.

First, ask your employees to think about their own personal network. Do they have friends and acquaintances who might be a good fit? We all have more people in our network than we think, and it’s a great way to find high-quality candidates. Next, think about assembling a hiring team. You don’t have to get everyone involved, especially if you have a large team. Being part of the hiring process will appeal to some more than others, and will suit some more than others. You should offer training to this group, since some of them will likely never have interviewed before. Don’t forget—make the process fun. You can even have the team write your job descriptions!

Should you consider collaborative hiring? It’s up to you, but if the high costs of employee turnover have you worried, it might be worth a shot.