Pros and Cons of Involving Employees in the Hiring Process

Should you involve employees in the hiring process? Those in favor point to an interest on the part of candidates, especially younger candidates, in interacting with employees before they’re hired.

But do the benefits outweigh the potential downsides?

Why Go There

Employee involvement in the hiring process can range from interviewing and decision making to simple tasks, such as one or two employees giving a tour of manufacturing plant or other facility.
Companies sometimes struggle with how much employees should participate. Yet, a number of experts advocate for including in employees in the entire process.
Randy Conley, vice president of client services and trust practice leader for leadership development firm The Ken Blanchard Companies, writes in his blog: “I wouldn’t hire any new employee without the input of other people on my team. I pride myself on being a pretty good judge of character and talent, but I know better than to trust my opinion alone when making such a significant decision. I’ve found that involving my team in the hiring process has proven the truth of the adage that ‘no one of us is as smart as all of us.’”
Conley cites five benefits of involving team members in a hiring decision:

  • It makes team members feel valued.
  • It provides interviewing and decision-making experience for future leaders.
  • It creates a sense of ownership in the new employee.
  • It gives you a broader perspective on candidates.
  • It gives the candidate more insight into his/her future coworkers, team, organization, and culture.

Note that benefits focus on staff, as well as candidates.

Reasons to Steer Clear

However, there are arguments against too much employee involvement—or, at the very least, arguments for keeping involvement to a minimum.
These reasons include:

  • Adding decision makers adds time to the hiring process.
  • Getting consensus among decision makers may be difficult.
  • Employees may perceive they have more authority than they do.
  • Time spent hiring takes time away from employees’ other tasks.
  • Candidates may feel they are being subjected to too much scrutiny.

In addition, while a hiring manager’s reasons for involving employees – to develop leaders and build a cohesive team – may be admirable, staff members may not approach the process the same way. They may simply “like” a candidate. What’s more, they may bring inherent biases to the screening process—biases about which a manager is unaware.
A hiring manager has been trained, presumably, on how to interview. As a manager, he or she also has “inside” knowledge about the department and the company. What’s more, the manager has decision-making skills necessary to the process. Staff members may lack all of the above.

Your Call

Still, depending on organizational culture, involving employees in the hiring process may be a fit.
Nevertheless, companies deciding to go this route should do what they can to address the time element. In an employment marketplace where candidates have multiple opportunities, time to hire takes on greater significance.

Paula Paula Santonocito, Contributing Editor for Recruiting Daily Advisor, is a business journalist specializing in employment issues. She is the author of more than 1,000 articles on a wide range of human resource and career topics, with an emphasis on recruiting and hiring. Her articles have been featured in many global and domestic publications and information outlets, referenced in academic and legal publications as well as books, and translated into several languages.