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Interviewing and HR: Delegate or Collaborate?

Talent selection and acquisition is a complicated process. I mean it doesn’t have to be, but it ends up being quite involved. There’s the sourcing and mining of talent, which means sharing your opening with the market in which you will discover your ideal candidates. You also have the screening, evaluating and analyzing of the applicants’ resumes, cover letters, and social profiles. Then the initial interview, usually starting with a phone call, then the face to face interview, which presents its own challenges logistically speaking. Don’t forget the evaluation of the actual interviewee’s responses to the desired answers. Toss in references and the whole “fit” piece into the mix and it becomes convoluted really fast.

There are all types of systems and assessments designed to assist and automate certain aspects but a systems performance is only as good as the user(s). The difference between user and users is paramount; a collaborative system needs multiple users. Also systems tend to have a hard time working properly if they are not utilized. Having more people involved in your hiring will increase the utilization of your system. Many HR departments have abandoned their systems through employee attrition; one HR manager selects and purchases a system, then they move on to another position or company, the successor does not see value in that system so it collects dust… If there are more people in the system, it is more likely to remain as a steadying current in your hiring process.

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Since human resources departments have several layers to account for within the daily operations, many HR departments do not have the time, manpower or desire to manage all of the talent selection process. A popular trend has emerged which is to allow other departments to handle the bulk of the hiring responsibilities. The ideology is practical since HR will not be working side by side with these employees. HR should allow the managers, directors and supervisors to screen, interview and select their team members.

Again ideally this seems to be covered in awesome sauce, but in practice there is more to that process and the further it’s removed from HR the more likely you are to have some sort of federal violation, or at the very least, a best practice screwup. Without proper screening guidelines, HR metrics and procedures in place to make the process fair and consistent; managers, directors and supervisors tend to make hiring decisions based on varying gut feeling or carnal desires. It happens all too often. HR needs to stay involved in the process.

I’m a trench HR kind of guy, I believe you should have a team of HR generalists and specialists; like a HR Pod and they should take care of it. They need to play a prominent role in the sourcing, evaluating, screening, and selection process; however, I also understand the importance of synergy and fit. I’m a reasonable man so I’m willing to compromise.  HR should work together with the other employees to choose the best available candidates.

HR locates the talent, then shares the best applicants (resumes, social profiles) to the hiring manager, allowing them to select the ones that they would like to see included in the interview process, and then from there HR conducts the primary screenings to make sure all skill and education requirements are met. HR must consolidate and consider the notes of co-workers in different departments. Once the top candidates are identified, HR and the hiring manager or supervisor should interview the perspective employees. The questions should be determined based on the essential job duties and functions only, like behavior or situational, but not FYA (from your a**).

The final recommendation should get HR’s approval, that’s right HR should have veto power because HR is trained to find the best candidate save for using sex, race, age, ability or any other physical characteristics. That whole Civil Rights Title VII thingy. Yeah, sounds cheesy, until you’re slapped with a case and then you’ll be happy HR protected you from that circus.

cost of workChris Fields is an HR professional and leadership guy who blogs and dispenses great (not just good) advice at Cost of Work. Connect with Chris via email at [email protected].  Photo Credit The Magicians Who Make SmartRecruiters’ Product Awesome.



Chris Fields

Chris Fields is an HR professional and leadership guy who blogs and dispenses great (not just good) advice at Cost of Work & ResumeCrusade.