Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Peer Interviewing

When considering how to hire, retain and develop the best employees, there is one technique that is becoming increasingly popular. Peer-to-peer interviewing has job candidates meet with current employees at the company. The candidate is able to ask questions about the company and job, while the employee can evaluate the employee and then tell the boss his or her thoughts and impression of the candidate. This technique allows the organization to get a more complete idea of a candidate’s overall fit.

Peer-to-peer interviewing can be successful in a number of ways. Applicants are able to learn more about the company from the “tell it like it is” approach an employee might use. Plus, a candidate is more likely to let their guard down around a peer, providing a more accurate sense of how they’ll fit.

Being involved in the selection of future coworkers is good for morale and productivity. The fact that employees now have more invested in the hirng process within an organization strengthens commitment and builds a community atmosphere. Employees are also more invested in the new hire’s success and are more likely to help them succeed. Additionally, new hires begin work with the knowledge that their peers support them.

There are downsides that should be considered as well, but these can be managed. There have been instances where unhappy employees end up performing the interview, and ultimately discourage the candidate from taking the job. Be sure the selected interviewing employees are genuinely positive, happy and enthusiastic.

Some employees could find an applicant threatening and not recommend him or her out of insecurity. Make sure employees participating in these interviews get along well with everyone, have great people skills, are articulate and understand what the company is looking for in their next hire.

In addition to the qualities already mentioned, interviewers should be trained and must be made aware of what questions are unprofessional or illegal. Make it clear that employee feedback is important, but HR and management still make the final decision.

Peer-to-peer interviewing can be a useful tool to get an accurate sense of if an applicant will truly fit within your culture, and can have positive effects on your current employees.

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