How to assemble a winning hiring team

Collaborative hiring is all the rage in 2020, and with good reason. With such tight competition for talent and the impact of a poor hiring decision so steep, many companies are beginning to adopt this approach to ensure that they get it right when filling a new position. Because of this trend, hiring teams are becoming increasingly influential when making recruitment decisions. 

In this article, we’ll explore how you can create an effective hiring team at your organization. But first, some context. 

What is a hiring team?

Hiring teams are groups of employees that are tasked with filling a vacant position in a company. They’re responsible for every stage of the recruitment process, including: 

  • Sourcing talent; 
  • Screening applicants;
  • Making hiring decisions; and
  • Onboarding 

Hiring teams can be cross-functional, meaning they contain people from various departments and seniority levels. This committee is involved at every stage of the hiring process and helps to facilitate a truly collaborative decision. 

Why are collaborative hiring decisions better? 

Hiring by committee ensures that no one person controls the recruitment process, which can lead to issues with bias and one-dimensional decision making. Instead, employees with different knowledge and experience at the company are given the opportunity to voice their opinion on who they think would make the best hire. 

Hiring by consensus in this manner is known to have many benefits, including that: 

  • It ensures a well-rounded and fair recruitment process.
  • It ensures that the team feels that they got a say in a critical hire.
  • It makes onboarding and team integration easier. 
  • It makes existing employees feel valued. 
  • It adds accountability to the hiring process.
  • It ensures a better cultural and team fit. 

However, to reap these benefits, you’ll need to ensure that your hiring team is made up of the right cross-section of people within your organization. 

Who should be on a hiring team?

Each hiring team you assemble will and should be different depending on the role you’re looking to fill. The goal is to include only the people who will add value and insight to the hiring process, and not muddy it with too many opinions. Each hiring team member should have a clearly defined role and set up tasks to complete in the recruitment process. 

Typically, a hiring team will be made up of the following roles: 

  • Hiring manager. The hiring manager is the person who requests that a position be filled. They’re the head of the hiring team, and coordinate with HR throughout the process. They generally have the clearest vision of what type of candidate is needed for the position. 
  • Recruiter. The recruiter is in charge of the end-to-end process of talent acquisition, and acts as an intermediary between the hiring manager and the applicants. Think of the recruiters as the hiring strategist and quarterback. 
  • Talent sourcer. The talent sourcer is in charge of finding qualified candidates who fit the job requirements for the role. They oversee the selection of job sourcing platforms, they do outreach on talent pipeline, social networking, and any other tactic to bring in applicants. 
  • Interviewers. The interview team is typically made up of employees who will directly interact with the chosen candidate. These might be future team members, other managers within the department, or senior leadership. 
  • Recruitment coordinator. The recruitment coordinator handles the administrative work and keeps track of to-dos and outstanding tasks. This might include posting job ads, scheduling interviews, sending paperwork, and so on. 

In the next section, we’ll walk you through the eight common steps to assembling a hiring team, using a software developer job requisition as an example. 

Steps to creating a hiring team

Company X is looking for a new Software Developer to join their team. In the past, they’ve had issues with retention, cultural fit, and skills competencies, so they’ve decided to take a collaborative approach to this job requisition. 

Sandra, Company X’s Director of Software Development, will act as the hiring manager for the new role and has received approval from her boss to move forward.

Here are the steps she’ll take to assemble her hiring team, and execute a collaborating recruitment process: 

  • Sandra sends the job requisition request to HR. This formally gets the hiring process started. 
  • Sandra and HR assemble a hiring team. Because this is a technical role that will require input on coding competencies, as well as cultural fit and soft skills, the hiring team will be comprised of staff members who can address those needs, including:
  • A recruiter who will oversee the hiring process. 
  • Two current software developers who will interview applicants for team fit and technical skills. 
  • The chief technical officer who will screen for cultural fit and dig deeper into the technical know-how and vision. 
  • A talent sourcer who will be in charge of finding untapped sources for talent.
  • A recruitment coordinator who will manage daily tasks, and communicate with applicants for scheduling and acceptance/rejection notifications. 
  • The hiring team prepares for active recruitment and sourcing, which includes taking a collaborative approach to establishing:
      • Job requirements and qualifications; 
      • Creating an ideal candidate persona;
      • Writing a job description;
      • Writing recruitment ads; and
      • Establishing clear must-haves and nice-to-haves. 
  • Talent sourcing commences. The recruiter and talent sourcer take on the bulk of the work, but encourage the hiring team to reach out to their network for referrals. The CTO and Sandra’s team are well-connected in the industry, so they take an active role in reaching out to potential hires. 
  • The hiring team screens and shortlists by committee. After the ATS has completed a parsing of the resumes, the hiring team actively reviews the remaining candidates. They comment on which candidates they like using their collaborative hiring software. The Software Developers screen for technical experience, while the rest of the team focuses on potential fit and relevant industry experience. The highest potential candidates are identified and invited in for interviews. 
  • The interviewers meet with each candidate. Using a phased interview plan that starts with a phone screen by the Recruiter, each candidate meets with Sandra, and then the Software Developers. If all three parties like what they see, the candidate moves on to a final interview with the CTO. 
  • The hiring team reviews the interview results. At this stage, there are three candidates in the running for the position. All have made it through the interview process, and all are showing great potential. Now the hiring team will meet to walk through the pros and cons of each candidate in the hopes of reaching a consensus pick. 
  • The team finds their man, and onboarding begins. After careful consideration, the team selects their consensus top pick, Roger, for the role. Roger has built a great rapport with everyone on the hiring team, and his new co-workers are eager to start onboarding him into the company. All that’s left to do is for Roger and the recruitment coordinator to finalize the paperwork! 

As you can see from our example above, Sandra’s hiring team was very effective at making key decisions by committee at each stage of the hiring process. From start to finish, the emphasis was on sticking to a collaborative approach to hiring, and it paid off for them in the end. 

Before you create your own hiring team and follow in Sandra’s footsteps, it’s important to have the right resources and process in place at your company. 

What you’ll need to manage a hiring team

Generally speaking, you’ll need the following three things to ensure success as a hiring team:

  • Guidelines;
  • Training; and
  • The right tools. 

Creating guidelines for how your hiring team will communicate, who will act as the leader, what each member’s role will be, and what the deadlines and expected outcomes will be, are all critical to success in collaborative hiring. Without having these guidelines established upfront, it’s likely that you’ll lose your way as the hiring process unfolds. 

If you plan to hire collaboratively on a regular basis, then it’s a good idea to create a set of written guidelines that can be used when forming each new hiring team. This will ensure a consistent process, philosophy, and, ultimately, outcome. 

Providing training to hiring team members is also critically important to success. This is especially true for team members who get roped into the process, and who have never experienced a hiring process internally before. They’ll need training on interview best practices, and how to interact with candidates. Establishing a training program for potential hiring team members is a good idea to ensure consistency and quality of work. 

Lastly, you’ll need the right tools to manage a hiring team. Typically that would include an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), and a collaborative hiring software (bonus points if your ATS has both functionalities). Specific features within an ATS can also enhance the collaborative process, such as: 

  • Video interviewing; 
  • Collaborative candidate profiles; 
  • Comment tracking; and
  • Candidate scoring. 

The days of hiring solo are coming to an end. Hiring teams are becoming and will continue to be, a dominant trend that helps companies hire the best possible person for the job, and win the talent competition. 

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