Traditionally, hiring decisions have fallen solely on the shoulders of the employer. And, for owners of small, but growing businesses, this responsibility is a major cause of stress and pressure.
By staying fully in charge of the hiring process, moreover, these same leaders may be causing potential candidates to shy away from accepting a job offer.
Just ask the job-seekers themselves: For 41 percent of Gen Z, 81 percent of millennials and 52 percent of Gen X surveyed, the opportunity for candidates to interact with employees before they are hired is important, according to Engage2Excel’s 2017 Trendicators report, which surveyed 1,500 job seekers.
Candidates want to understand whom they'll be working with before they accept a job offer. When employers involve current employees in the hiring process, those candidates gain a glimpse into the company’s culture and can better determine if they’d be a good fit.
Employers who involve current employees, meanwhile, take some of the pressure off themselves. When their team members and candidates can interact, everyone will see a natural improvement in new hires and even an increase in retention rates.
Here’s why every employer will benefit from including employees in the hiring process:
1. Creates more accountability
Kris Duggan, CEO of BetterWorks, a performance-management software company in Redwood City, Calif., realized his team members were able to hold one another accountable for their core values when everyone got involved in the hiring process.
“A candidate will never just talk to our hiring manager and their future manager -- they actually present a ‘homework’ assignment to a team of our own employees who would be working with them regularly,” Duggan explained via email.
Along with measuring candidates’ performances on their ‘homework’ assignments, Duggan’s team evaluates cultural fit.
“We evaluate new hires based on their ‘sparkle’ -- or how much enthusiasm they show for their role and our company. When current employees are involved, we hold ourselves accountable to hiring for our core values, like sparkle,” he said.
Tip: Set a list of both skills and cultural criteria for new hire evaluations. Once this criteria is established, have current employees measure each candidate on their own. Then, get together in brainstorming sessions to discuss everyone’s pros and cons. Gathering varying opinions during the hiring process will help leaders make more effective hiring decisions.
2. Connects employees with company success
Referrals are one of the most common ways to involve employees in the hiring process.
“Referrals help leverage an organization’s employee relationships with friends, former co-workers and family members to spread the word about job openings,” Jill Chapman, senior performance consultant at Insperity, an HR solution organization in Houston, told me.
Chapman found introducing Insperity’s employee referral program to new hires during the onboarding process was most effective. As employees are learning the ropes, they can easily connect the employment interests of former co-workers, family, and friends to the company’s needs.
“These interactions are important because employee participation fosters engagement and a connection to the organization’s success,” she continued.
Tip: Employees who refer new hires feel proud when those hires succeed in their positions. This makes them feel like an integral part of the team and reinforces that their opinion matters. To further entice employees, use a recognition software like HighGround to recognize them for their contributions.
3. Eases onboarding
At BambooHR, an HR software company, leaders allow collaborators outside of HR personnel and direct supervisors to see information about new hires before their first day. The BambooHR team also does a 10- to 15-minute meet-and-greet between a candidate and his or her potential co-workers before an offer is sent out.
“We want them to start building relationships among the team members so there is less awkwardness on their first day,” said James Conway, senior talent acquisition partner at BambooHR in Lindon, Utah.
“These examples allow team members to be a really big part of the candidate engagement process -- which means stronger relationships during onboarding and better long-term integration with your new hire,” Conway added.
Tip: Allow employees to meet potential new hires at some point during the hiring process. This can occur during interview rounds or right before you make an offer. No matter what timeline leaders choose, it’s crucial to encourage relationship-building so everyone feels comfortable and ready to jump into work together.
4. Makes for a stronger cultural fit
Nobody knows the ins and outs of a company’s culture better than current employees.
“By meeting with all the employees that a candidate would be working with, both the candidate and the current employees are able to see if they would fit in well with the team,” Nicole Stelmar, digital marketing specialist at Inseev in San Diego, told me via email.
Even during her own interview, Stelmar said, she was able to discern the culture at the company and make a decision on whether or not she’d be a good fit for the position and culture. Now, as a current employee, she’s able to see the benefits from both sides of the table.
“Since we all ask candidates different questions, each of us has a unique understanding of their experience and personality. Ultimately, this gives us a more well-rounded view of the candidate and whether or not they’re the right fit,” Stelmar said.
Some leaders believe that involving too many people in the hiring process is dangerous due to the high volume of opinions. However, Stelmar and the Inseev team find it’s the most effective solution to determine which candidate has the most potential to succeed at their company. In fact, thanks to all those differing opinions, team members get a clearer view of who a candidate is before an offer is made.
Tip: When getting employees involved in the hiring process, give them time to consider candidates alone and then with other team members. This ensures that they'll get a 360-degree view of the candidate's cultural fit before making their final suggestion.