Four Steps to a Successful 360-Degree Hiring Process

By Marissa Levin, an EO Chesapeake Bay member and CEO of Information Experts

A client asked me, “Marissa, should I involve my other employees in the interviewing process?” My answer was an enthusiastic YES. From the intern to the executive, the CEO should never unilaterally own a hiring decision.

 When our oldest son was a toddler, I signed up for a parenting course entitled the Parent Encouragement Program (with 20 other new moms desperately seeking a parenting instruction manual). The instructor discussed the “Family Constellation.” One premise pointed out that while siblings may be born into the same family, they are all actually born into very different families. For example, a first-born is born to clueless parents, and the world immediately revolves around him/her. They don’t have to share attention or toys with anyone. Life is all about, “Look at ME!” The next kid is born to more knowledgeable (and tired) parents and an older kid who has already established a pecking order. He/she will never have the perspective of being the only center of attention – because they’re not. While these two kids are obviously being raised in the same family, their perspectives, experiences, and even relationships are completely different.

The same thing happens in a company. I call it an “Organizational Constellation.” Every hire in a company obviously works for the same company. However, every employee sees the company from their unique vantage point – which is why we hire them. They bring unique perspectives, experiences, and passions for their specific roles. The project manager cares only about customer satisfaction and resource allocation. Their activities answer this question: “What can I do to ensure my projects are delivered on time, within scope, and within budget?” The financial team members care only about financial resources. Their activities answer this question: “What steps can I take to ensure healthy cash flow and efficiencies within the company?” The CEO is focused on vision and strategy; the COO is focused on operations. These are just a few examples of unique perspectives. Every perspective is potentially valuable in the hiring process, depending on what position you are filling.

When a company evaluates a prospective hire, it’s crucial to get the input and perspective from the employees that the person will be working with on a daily basis. This is important for a few reasons:
Their perspectives will provide you with valuable insight into how they will (or will not) integrate into the culture, and the team environment. They will see things you do not see.
Hires rarely work out when they are shoved down the throats of employees. Forcing a new hire on a team typically doesn’t create a culture of teamwork.
Empowering employees to weigh in on hiring decisions creates a culture of trust, communication, and delegation.
Like all major business decisions, it’s best to follow a process to implement a 360-degree hiring strategy.

  1. Communicate. Communicate to your employees your intent to bring them into the interviewing process. Give people an “out” in case they don’t want to be involved. Let them know you will take all of their feedback into consideration as you evaluate hiring options.
  2. Ensure Compliancy. Have your HR Director review the “off-limits” questions with employees.
  3. Encourage Preparation. Distribute the candidate’s resume to the employees that will be involved with the interviewing. Ask them to prepare their questions ahead of time. Also, inform the candidate ahead of the interview that others will be joining in.
  4. Solicit Feedback Quickly. Once your employees have met with the candidate, solicit their feedback either in a discussion, or via email. If they would prefer to provide anonymous feedback, set up an anonymous online feedback form through a tool such as SurveyMonkey.

Creating a collaborative hiring process helps to ensure that new hires will integrate easily into your organizational culture, and will create a culture of cooperation and empowerment. It is “your” company, but your people are your most valuable resource. Their voices and perspectives are essential for you to grow smartly. Tap into them wisely, and your organization will continue to attract and retain the top talent.

Keep growing!

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