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Peer interviewing: how to involve peers in interviewing

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Peer interviewingPeer interviewing – where coworkers interview potential new hires – offers you the chance to create a great team. In peer interviewing, members of a work group help choose new employees. Traditionally, employers relied on supervisors to screen candidates. But, nowadays, supervisors, peers and even subordinates may take part in the interview process. Peer interviewing can be a valuable interview technique, under the right circumstances.

Six tips for peer interviewing
1. Choose a variety of team members. New hires, veteran employees, young staffers, long-in-the-tooth professionals, men, women, peers, subordinates, senior staff and even employees from other departments can help you round out the mix.
2. Keep the interview results quiet. Remind staff not to share their interview experiences with people who’ve yet to meet the candidate. Otherwise, you may end up with bias – and there’s enough of that to manage anyway.
3. Consider using panel-style interviewing, so that the candidate isn’t hammered with redundant questions. The approach can also help to prevent “I don’t know answers” from your own staff.
4. Weigh recommendations as you see fit. Even though you’re using a peer interviewing style, you need not weigh each interviewer’s opinion the same way. If HR and senior staff will have the final say, let your employees know.
5. Coach your employees, so that they remember not to disclose sensitive information. Give guidance for dealing with questions that address items that fall under non-disclosure statements. Sometimes it’s helpful to have a senior staff member in the room to handle these questions.
6. Remind staff about hiring procedures. Some may not be aware that their curiousity about a new hire may lead to illegal questions. A few reminders about topics to avoid (such as “Are you married?”) can help your staff get to know a new hire without treading in troublesome territory.

Peer interviews can go a long way toward helping a new team gel. But keep in mind that your employees may sometimes be hesitant to recommend a peer with superior skills, out of fear for their own jobs. Have potential hires interview with a variety of people, so that you get a well-rounded view of each job candidate.

Related to peer interviewing
Avoiding interview pitfalls
Interviewing potential employees
Tips for evaluating soft skills

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