Preparing Your Interview Team

Preparing Your Interview Team

Hiring a new employee is no doubt a significant investment of your company’s time and resources, and not just during the hiring process. Onboarding, training and retaining quality employees is a top concern – which is why so many employers are dedicated to getting it right the first time. Regardless of what position you are hiring for, it’s virtually undisputed that the most objective, thoughtful and thorough vetting process is achieved through the use of an interview team. But who should be on it? How should their roles differ… and look the same? Where do you even start?

The key connection among the members of the interview team is that they should have all have a vested interest in the responsibilities of the position and the success of the candidate within it. All individuals selected for the team should have a working knowledge of the goals of the position that is open and the department that it is in, should already have working relationships with the position’s colleagues. In most cases, they should also have some supervisory capacity. Direct managers and team leads should always be included in the process; potential peers can also be an asset in terms of providing insights with regards to work style alignment.

Each member of the team should have a clearly defined set of responsibilities before, after and during the interview. While the questions they ask will each be different, the idea is that multiple perspectives will be used to assess the same skills, competencies and desired qualities. The power of a team lies within evaluating the same traits (often along a matrix or scale), not having each member look for something different.

While choosing which members of the organization are best suited for this particular team at this stage can be a lengthy step, assigning the duties should be fairly straightforward. In general, all team members are responsible for carefully reviewing the job description and suggesting any revisions. If a selection matrix is being utilized, all team members should be educated on the matrix criteria and scoring process.  Each teamist should be assigned a specific question or series of questions to ask and is responsible for keeping  to the time schedule that has been set. The interview process should look identical for every candidate, including the use of questions asked, the maintenance of confidentiality of applicant’s personal information and the method of debriefing and comparison. It’s worth mentioning that every team member should also be made aware of the legal guidelines of what can and cannot be asked, as honest mistakes have been made by many well-intentioned but inexperienced interview team members.

Depending on the design of your organization and your hiring processes, reference checks and employment offers may be handled entirely by Human Resources, or in collaboration with team members and alongside the position supervisor.

While hiring top talent is never easy… it is much less painful when you start with a top interview team. While putting together the team is a dedication of time and resources in and of itself, investing in your own people to find more great people is a truly worthwhile endeavor.



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