Your employee selection process is a critical component of your business success. If yours is a company that values people as your most important asset, the asset that sets you apart from your competitors, your selection process is vital. Your selection process must be legal, ethical, transparent, documented, and involve current employees significantly.
In a selection process with these attributes, resume review, serious attention to cover letters, and job application review are more important than ever. So are phone screens to eliminate less qualified or unqualified candidates.
I don't know about in your company, but in mine, we interview with an employee selection team. Consequently, employee time invested in each candidate who comes in for an interview is costly.
In our selection process, the involved employees spend additional time outside of the actual interview, comparing candidates and providing Human Resources employees with feedback and input. Their input about which candidates to invite back for a second interview, that will involve even more people and staff time, are heeded.
In our selection process, in addition to asking employees to work on selection teams, we train them in legal and effective interviewing. Finally, we involve employees in the final employee selection.
As you can see, all told, candidate selection is costly in terms of employee time and energy. So, the decision about who to bring into our selection process for an interview is the key step in employee selection.
Why Involve Employees in the Employee Selection Process?
Are you shaking your head and wondering why we would commit this kind of time to our employee selection process? If so, my response is simple. We want to create a company that has transparent communication, in which employees know what is going on and have impact on decisions that affect their jobs. Is anything more important to an employee than the selection process that hires the employees with whom he or she will work every day? The employees with whom they will develop friendships, spend time, and sit with each day at work... I doubt it.
When we bring a new employee into the organization, their fit with and potential collaboration with their colleagues, is critical. So is employee ownership of the decision to hire the new employee. If an employee is part of the selection process that picks their new colleague, they are committed to making that coworker succeed. After all, they wouldn’t want to be wrong, would they?
Trust your employees’ instincts about the potential cultural fit of a new person, too. They will work most closely with the new employee and their gut reaction to the fit of the potential employee is noteworthy. For example, in a recent employee selection decision, we had two equally qualified candidates who had been culled from several hundred applicants.
At the candidate debriefing meeting, after the second interview, a number of employees stated that they had received a negative vibe from one of the candidates. These centered on cultural fit issues that might make her fail as an employee. Apparently, during her interviews, the candidate radiated a 9-5 mentality which will not work in a company that does whatever is necessary to delight customers.
The employees also picked up on a sense of arrogance, that her opinion was the opinion that mattered despite the input of other employees. This attitude won’t work in a company that emphasizes employee involvement. Not always successfully, but we strive to encourage meaningful conflict over ideas and decisions. We discourage consensus decision making that might lead to group think.
Our company’s success rides and falls on employees who are willing to think big, stick their necks out, advocate for their ideas, make thoughtful mistakes, work hard, and embrace accountability. (Hey, did I just describe the perfect employee?) The employees said this candidate did not fit the bill and so, she was not hired.
Did the selection committee make the right decision? We will never know for sure. The employee who was selected, however, is doing a great job. But, the candidate bypassed is like the road not taken. We will never know, and I don't know how to measure, the cost of lost opportunity: when our selection process fails to choose a particular candidate. All you have to go on is the best judgment of your employees in the selection process. Why waste your most important resource?