Most companies conduct job interviews as a series of one-on-one conversations between pre-screened candidates and key decision makers. The goal is to gain more details about the depth of the interviewee's skills, and assess whether they will be a good fit for the role and the company culture. However, when you consider the efficiency of this method in the executive, managerial and professional space, there may be a better approach. If your company operates through more of a collaborative, team approach, that same methodology can be used to ensure you make a good hire.
So what is a team interviewing process and what does it look like? "A team interview operates under the premise that top candidates typically excel during one-on-one interviews because they know all the right things to say," observes Nancy Halverson, vice president of global operations for MRINetwork. "They're well prepared and they're great under pressure. Putting them in a group setting turns the tables a bit, presenting a scenario where only individuals who have the ability to work well in a team will excel. Further, a team interview provides the opportunity for the company to conduct routine business exercises, such as brainstorming or planning sessions, where the candidate is asked to contribute to the group's discussion on anything from the development of a strategy, to shaping the required steps for execution of an upcoming initiative."
Unlike panel interviews, team interviews do not focus on rapid-fire questions from multiple stakeholders that can create a stressful situation for candidates. Instead, team interviews let decision makers subtly observe candidates in a seemingly more casual environment.
Halverson offers the following advice for why employers should consider bringing in the team to evaluate candidates:
A team interview helps employers quickly weed out candidates who are not a good fit. Great candidates who don't have the collaborative skills needed to succeed in the organization are eliminated at this stage, thereby expediting the interviewing process. A swift interviewing process is critical in the candidate-driven professional space: it means a faster hiring process for the company, which in turn increases the ability to keep top performers, who have several job opportunities at their disposal, engaged in the process.
This scenario provides more objectivity during the interviewing process. Having multiple team members interact with candidates in a group setting and observe their behavior, is much more effective than just evaluating candidates from the perspective of one interviewer.
The sharing, cooperative aspect of team interviews caters to the work environment that many Millennials seek. This will become increasingly important as Millennials become the majority of the 2020 workforce.
A team interview can help companies avoid wasting time and money on a bad hire. Just because a candidate is talented and skilled, doesn't mean he or she would be right for your organization.
As the executive, managerial and professional labor market becomes increasingly candidate-driven, companies have to look for every way possible to shorten their hiring processes and keep their top picks from accepting other job offers. Team interviews expedite the recruitment process by replacing several individual meetings with key decision makers and condensing them into one group meeting. Halverson concludes, "A team interview is a great way to gain deeper insight about candidates' collaborative and interpersonal skills, while also giving them a glimpse of the company’s culture and approach to work. Job interviews should be a two-way exchange. If played well, this experience could be the thing that makes "A players" want the job opportunity as much as your organization wants them."