Really? Does everyone need to be invited to the interview?

As many organizations have become flatter, we’re consistently surprised that many employers involve very few people in the interview process for new employees. This may be justified in terms of time and cost, especially if the primary interviewer, the hiring manager, is experienced in selecting talent.

Our opinion, based on observing many hundreds of hires in a variety of companies, is that the 360-degree interview process has as many advantages as the 360-degree performance review. Yes, it takes more investment in time — preparation, scheduling, interviewing, debriefing, and feedback. But the return on investment is in better hires and more realistic expectations by the new employees.

So, who should be included in the process? We’ve seen all of these people included in successful interview protocols:

  • A third-party recruiter. Naturally we’re a fan of this, as it pre-qualifies the candidates and manages their expectations.
  • The hiring manager, of course. This key person can completely focus on the deliverables of the job, especially if there are other people also in the process to pay attention to additional issues of fit, communication, and style.
  • A representative of human resources, sometimes to do the initial screening, but also to handle discussions about benefits, company policies, and culture.
  • Other members of the immediate team. Sometimes these individuals have a voice, but not a vote, in the hiring decision. At the very least, it’s a chemistry check.
  • Peer-level employees from the same department, or from other departments with whom the new hire will work on a regular basis.
  • Other managers who are at the same level as the hiring manager, frequently to give additional perspective in a company that’s complex or highly collaborative.
  • Employees who may be junior to the potential hire, often as a courtesy to all involved.
  • A senior executive. We worked with one client who used a senior executive at the end of the process to do a gut check on the work ethic of the candidate. Some companies use a senior exec who best expresses the mission or ethic of the organization.

Some companies would say, “We can’t afford to have this many people in the process.” We think that if you want to make the best hires who will stay for years, minimize staff turnover, and become magnets for additional talent, you can’t afford not to.

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