How to make sure your hiring committee doesn’t fall apart

Without ground rules, hiring committees can fail their purpose.

Here’s how you setup your hiring committee for success:

Who should be in the interview room

According to Tom Foster, his view on setting up the “hiring team” is:

  • Don’t have random people sitting in on the interview – each person there should fit into one of the 4 specific roles¬†
  • Not all hiring committee members in the room at the same time – you risk intimidating job candidates by doing that
  • Maximum of 2 committee members in the room at any time – only 1 speaks while the other writes notes¬†
  • Every committee member gets to ask questions – no one is merely an observer; they play an active part in learning about job candidates¬†

What should every member contribute

According to Mark Horstman of Manager Tools, it’s worth deciding what each member will contribute before interviews start. Are they:

  1. Going to give a Yes/No decision on each candidate OR
  2. Strictly gather data and relay back to hiring manager

If you’re curious what his stance is, Mark calls for making every hiring committee member say Yes or No.

He says doing this changes the dynamic for hiring committee members.

They go into interviews with more commitment, knowing that the final hiring decision depends on their say.


4 people you will want on your hiring committee

Google’s manager use hiring committees, calling the process consensus-based hiring. But I found little on exactly how they do it.

Luckily, Tom Foster of Management Blog has more concrete advice. He suggests having 4 people on the hiring committee.

Each person has a unique role. They value one aspect of work more than others. So they will pick up things other people might miss.  

These 4 people are:

Hiring Manager

The central position in the hiring committee. They should have final say or at least have the most weighting in the final decision.

Manager’s Manager

Their role is to guide and support the hiring manager’s decision. They most likely have hired the same or similar role in the past.

Technical Person

Renowned for the technical skills and ability to see it in others. They will ideally work in the same area as the new hire. 

Culture Person

Helps you gain a better glimpse into the job candidate’s interpersonal skills and fit with the team’s culture. Could be someone from HR. 

Final thoughts

Remember you’re gathering data during interviews to get the complete picture. That’s the greatest strength of a hiring committee.

Let each committee member contribute to that end.