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Pros and Cons of Collaborative Hiring

Pros and Cons of Collaborative Hiring

Collaborative hiring is the buzzword of the moment in HR, especially in the forward-thinking tech space. Apple, Google, Facebook, Zappos, Menlo Innovations, and more swear by collaborative hiring, a hiring strategy that involves team members in decision making, as the best way to hire the right talent while also engaging their current team and ensuring a heartfelt onboarding for the new hire. We’ve put together a list of the major pros and cons of collaborative hiring, so you can decide if it makes sense for your company.


It fosters an egalitarian culture.

Traditional hiring is a top-down process driven by hiring managers. “Google turns this approach upside down,” says Laszlo Bock, Senior Advisor at Google. “You’ll probably meet your prospective manager and a peer, but more important is meeting one or two of the people who will work for you. This sends a strong signal to candidates about Google being nonhierarchical, and it also helps prevent cronyism, where managers hire their old buddies for their new teams.” Collaborative hiring allows you to both tell your candidates that you have a healthy, collaborative company culture and to reinforce that culture.

It makes current employees feel heard.

Employees have to work with your new hire every day. As they are also the ones that will help ensure a successful onboarding of a new employee, it is important that they feel invested in the success of the new teammember. “Collaborative hiring — where employees are included in the process of selecting their future colleagues — can improve engagement levels, reduce staff turnover and boost a company’s bottom line,” says Mandy Gilbert, CEO of Creative Niche. “I focus on obtaining staff “buy-in” when hiring. Put simply, they are the brand.”

It can help attract top talent.

Trusting and valuing your employees’ input is a big part of the sort of positive company culture that highly skilled, high performing candidates look out for. “Collaborative hiring is ideally suited to entrepreneurs committed to transparency and collaboration in their firms, and who trust their team to give honest feedback,” says Gilbert. “The approach helps attract top talent who can be very discerning when choosing their next employer.”

It also gives you a chance to win over candidates by showing your great team off. “From my personal experience, the company’s team can be one of the biggest selling points for attracting new recruits,” says Mark Gardiner, CEO of Charles Warwick.

It gives your team a chance to sell candidates on your company.

An employer’s clear conflict of interest makes potential candidates wary of any self-endorsements. Endorsements from current employees are much more plausible. “Potential candidates will view how they [current employees] interact as a litmus test for credibility,” says William Vanderbloemen, CEO of Vanderbloemen Search Group. “Your team can also help alleviate concerns that a candidate may have about the opportunity, often more effectively than a superior can.”

You can test out your candidate before hiring.

Some companies, like Pret A Manger, include experience days in their collaborative hiring processes. Potential hires work for a day, or a few days, and employers get to see how they perform. At the end of the experience, team members give their assessments of their temporary teammember.

Bad hiring decisions can cost your company a lot of money and taking new hires on such a ‘test drive’ can help avoid wasting money on a bad decision. “By testing the candidate on their practical abilities to do the job and involving more of your team in the interview process, you’ll increase your chances of recruiting the talent your business needs for the future.” says Gardiner.

Candidates can test you out, too!

Candidates benefit from test drives, as well. LinkedIn’s 2015 Global Job Seeker Trend Report surveyed over 10,000 people globally who moved jobs in early 2015 and found that the number one obstacle that people named when changing jobs was “not knowing what it’s really like to work at the company.” 49% of those surveyed shared that concern. Experience days can help warm those candidates’ cold feet.

It can improve your company culture.

Trust exercises are fine, but plenty of mediocre companies make employees fall into each other’s arms and spend hours getting sweaty and sore on ropes courses. Instead of investing in a costly excursion that could elicit more groans than enthusiasm from your employees, show them that you value their contributions to your company. “They [current employees] are on the whole empowered and encouraged through the collective responsibility.” says Gardiner.



Productivity losses.

If five employees are interviewing a candidate, those are five employees who aren’t doing their usual tasks. “Pull employees from their daily work to take part in interviews and there will be some loss of productivity” says Michele Ellner, Director of Marketing for Montage. It’s a clear and unavoidable cost.

It draws out the hiring process.

When a single hiring manager controls the hiring process, candidates can be hired much more quickly than when multiple people must meet, interview, and discuss. “Giving employees a chance to ‘touch’ candidates takes a tremendous amount of time,” says Dr. John Sullivan, HR expert. “The scheduling of multiple employees for interviews may literally add weeks to the hiring process. That added delay will definitely cause you to lose in-demand candidates with multiple offers that simply can’t wait for your decision.” Scheduling group video interviews can speed up the process and minimize the additional time required by collaborative hiring.

It can scare off some passive candidates.

Passive candidates often prefer discretion when considering other jobs, particularly if they haven’t decided yet whether or not they would like to leave their current employer. “Confidentiality may be a problem — candidates who currently have a job and don’t want their boss to know of their search activity may want to limit the number of those who know,” says Dr. Sullivan. “And as a result, involving multiple employees in the hiring process may actually scare away some candidates because it certainly does reduce the odds that the information will remain confidential.”

When it comes down to it, there are both pros and cons of collaborative hiring, but there are a lot more pros. It’s clear why hundreds of companies are embracing collaborative hiring. “My bet is that if you hire collaboratively, you’ll discover a more engaging, culture-building process and more confidence in the end result” says Vanderbloemen. If collaboration is a part of your company culture, as it should be, it should also be a part of building your team.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR | Danai Kadzere

Danai is a Content Marketer at Happie. Before Happie, she worked as a freelance writer, ghostwriter, and children's book author, after graduating from Harvard University with a BS in Human Evolutionary Biology. If she's not working, she's probably reading, baking, or getting lost.

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