Group Interviews?

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I mentioned in an earlier tip how you can utilize other staff to help you in the hiring process. In that tip, we discussed getting input from your key staff after an applicant had filled out a questionnaire. I believe getting other perspectives on an important hire can be very valuable.

But what about bringing some of your staff into the interview room itself?

Well, that could have some positives and some negatives.

On the negative side, the candidate may feel he’s in an interrogation. And this may get a bit overwhelming. I guess if you’re hiring for a very high pressure position, you might want to see how the person handles a bit of pressure right in the interview.

But I see how this kind of interview might have a strong positive: If you cleared it with the applicant first.

For example: “Sally, if we hire you for this position, you would be working with three others in that department. Would you mind if I asked those three to come in and participate in this interview? You could ask them any question you like and they would be free to ask a few questions of you. Is that acceptable to you?”

If Sally says, “yes, by all means,” then this kind of interview could be very helpful to you and to the applicant.

Your staff could ask a variety of questions and they don’t all have to be serious questions. They could ask: “who’s your favorite singer?” or “Do you love or hate the Yankees?” And of course, they could and should ask more serious work-related questions.

This kind of group interview will give your staff a first hand look at the prospect. Afterwards they will likely be able to give you valuable feedback.

However, if Sally says she’d rather not be interviewed by a group of people, then of course I wouldn’t force it on her. But I also wouldn’t see it as a good indicator.

All in all, if you get your applicant’s agreement, you’ll likely learn things you would not have learned in routine interviewing.

As the law varies in each area, please check with an attorney to ensure you are applying these tips within the law.

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