When you hire someone new, you’re introducing risk and reward into the set equation of your office tribe. Teams can be made or broken by this one new hire’s skills and interpersonal dynamics. It’s why hiring is the most important decision a manager can make. That’s why careers experts argue it’s so important that this decision shouldn’t be made alone and you should include team members in the process.
When done right, collaborative hiring is a win-win for both sides: It vets good and bad hires and it can make your teams feel valued to be included.
Here’s why you need to include current employees in your next hire and how to do it right:
1) It makes things easier once the candidate gets hired
If you let candidates talk and interview with your team, this benefits both your team and the chosen candidate because it will build relationships that will make it easier for them to join the group if they’re hired.
Being a good fit means not only having the skills to do the job, but it also means being a good fit for the community your job serves and the organization you work for. And that’s exactly the kind of vetting process collaborative hiring can improve.
Randy Conley, Vice President of Client Services and Trust Practice Leader at the leadership development company The Ken Blanchard Companies, says that managers who fail to seek the input of their team members in a new hire are putting themselves and the candidate at a disadvantage.
“I think not soliciting the input of your existing team sets you up for a gap in trust and a harder onboarding process of who you’re bringing on whether it’s a peer of theirs or a manager,” he said.
With an inclusive hiring process, the new hire gets to ask honest questions about the company culture to their future team, and your team gets to see how a candidate seems in person — not just on their resume and cover letter. When that chosen candidate starts their first day of work, they will already have the beginnings of relationships with the people they will be working with on a regular basis.
2) It makes employees feel valued
Collaborative hiring doesn’t just help you find strong hires, it also keeps teams strong to know that their voice and opinions matter.
But how do you make employees feel valued while also letting them know that they don’t have final say? Conley says he makes expectations clear from the beginning about what role each team member will play in the hiring process is and how their opinions will factor into the final decision.
Conley said he tells his team members, “I value their input and it will influence my decision on who to hire and I leave it at that because it ultimately is my decision.”
He warns that managers should avoid giving false promises to staff that their input matters, or else it’s a “trustbuster” because “if I’ve already made up my mind, that’s worse than not involving them.”
3) It vets candidates for cultural fit
Despite the advantages of involving your team in the hiring process, there are many command-and-control managers who don’t subscribe to collaborative hiring. The thinking goes, it’s much quicker and easier to hire someone when the decision process is just up to you. Which is true. But to those managers, Conley argues that you gain more than you lose when you involve your team: “Yes, it’ll take a little longer. Yes, it’s logistically harder. Yes, it can present some challenging team dynamics depending on who’s included, who’s not. But at the end of the day, I think it is worth it because you get multiple perspectives and views that you may not pick up on your own. The more information you have as a hiring manager, the better equipped you are to make a decision.”
In fact, people who support collaborative hiring say there are plenty of ways to include stakeholders in the hiring process without slowing down the process too much.
Cheryl Hyatt, a partner of Hyatt-Fennell, an executive search firm, cited an example of a college looking for a new vice president. The school’s search committee of faculty, students and staff had winnowed the pool to two candidates who were then brought to campus to meet with the wider community. The committee was split on who to pick because both candidates were perfect on paper, so they needed help.
“These two individuals had such differing skill sets and differing personalities that they wanted to bring them both in as the finalists. When they came on to campus…the campus community truly went behind one candidate and the other candidate pretty much bombed,” Hyatt said. “So while it was up to the president who was going to get hired, the campus community was able to provide input and they all aligned behind one particular candidate.”
4) It adds overall accountability
By including your team in the hiring process, it spreads accountability and maintains trust within a team even if the hiring decision leads to a bad outcome like a termination.
Conley cites the example of hiring an employee who he eventually needed to fire because she was not a good fit. Because his team had signed off on the vetting of this hire, Conley said it was a “collective ‘ugh'” when the hire didn’t work out. If you get your team to buy into your next hire, they’re less likely to mutiny if the hire doesn’t pan out, because they were as invested as you in the hire’s success.
“People who plan the battle rarely battle the plan,” Conley said. “If you involve your team in not just hiring decisions, but also in the strategies you’re developing as a team, the action plans you’re focused on, it creates much more ownership. They’re invested in it. They will be less likely to work against your plans if they’ve had a hand informing them.”