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Hiring teams take 5 steps together

Too often, taking a team approach to interviewing simply means that a few people show up in the same room just minutes before the first candidate arrives to decide who will ask each of several already prepared questions. When the interviews are over, the “team” hangs around long enough to share their feelings about each of the candidates.

There can be a more structured approach, as participant Linda Karlson explained during an Interview Right to Hire Right seminar hosted by the Peace River Human Resources Association in November 2002. The human resources administrator described how the recruitment teams are involved from start to finish whenever a position is to filled at Daishowa-Marubeni International (DMI), a pulp mill near Peace River, Alberta with more than 350 employees.

Linda facilitates a process that involves three or four representatives of the department with a position to be filled. All members must commit to remaining involved until the position is filled and attending all meetings throughout the five-step process. The team makes all decisions through consensus.

During the first step, the group meets to clarify its purpose (“to hire the best available technician”) and to determine what they are looking for. They brainstorm what education, skills and personal characteristics they would like to see in the successful candidate. These objectives are divided into two groups: “Musts” (the non-negotiables, minimum educational levels, legislative requirements) and “Wants” (the ideals, preferred educational levels, technical skills, personal characteristics). Each of the Wants is assigned a value, with “10” reflecting the most important.

The second step begins by using newspaper advertising, postings and in some cases, search companies to identify candidates. A matrix that focuses on the readily measurable Musts is used to screen applicants and identify four or five to be interviewed.

Interview questions are written based on the Wants. The candidates’ answers provide data that can be used to compare the alternatives to the Wants. For each of the Wants, the team selects one candidate who best matches the ideal. This person receives a rating of 10. Each of other candidates is assigned a rating in comparison to the best for that Want. These ratings are multiplied by the weighting assigned to the Wants areas earlier in the process. The scores are tallied to produce a final total for each candidate.

As part of the third step the team takes a closer look at the top candidate. If the two top candidates achieved similar scores, both will be looked at. “How do I feel about this person?” “What can go wrong if we hire him?” If serious concerns are identified, which seldom happens, these are taken into consideration when reaching a final decision. If the concerns are minor, a plan may be developed to remedy the problem.

Once these “gut feeling” issues are considered, the team decides who will be hired (step 4). Before their work is done, the team must prepare to provide feedback (step 5) to unsuccessful candidates, particularly internal ones. At the end of the process, all members of the committee are able to give the same message if asked for feedback.

During his Interview Right to Hire Right workshop, Nelson Scott trains managers and supervisors to attract the right candidate, interview effectively, make the right hiring decisions and to use meaningful staff recognition as a tool to improve staff retention and reduce turnover.


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© Nelson Scott.  All rights reserved.

A professional trainer, speaker, and consultant since 1995, Nelson Scott works with organizations that are committed to making the right hiring decisions, developing and retaining productive staff, and strengthening relationships with customers.  Learn more by visiting or e-mailing


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