Most companies conduct job interviews as a series of one-on-one conversations between pre-screened candidates and key decision makers. The goal is to gain more details about the depth of the interviewee’s skills, and assess whether they will be a good fit for the role and the company culture. However, when you consider the efficiency of this method in the IT and engineering staffing sectors, there may be a better approach. The quick, demanding nature of IT and engineering staffing projects, and the team collaboration required to successfully reach key project milestones, call for a more modern interviewing approach. The same group sharing methodology used on projects can also be used to ensure you make a good hire, whether you’re looking to fill a permanent position or bring in a contractor to fill a temporary need.
So what does a team interviewing process look like? “A team interview operates under the premise that top candidates typically excel during one-on-one interviews because they know all the right things to say,” observes Kim White, fulfillment manager for CDI Corporation. “They’re well prepared and they’re great under pressure. Putting them in a group setting turns the tables a bit, presenting a scenario where only individuals who have the ability to work well in a team will excel. Further, a team interview provides the opportunity for the company to conduct routine business exercises, such as brainstorming or planning sessions, where the candidate is asked to contribute to the group’s discussion on anything from the development of a strategy, to shaping the required steps for execution of an upcoming initiative.”
Unlike panel interviews, team interviews do not focus on rapid-fire questions from multiple stakeholders that can create a stressful situation for candidates. Instead, team interviews let decision makers subtly observe candidates in a seemingly more casual environment. Identifying people who can adapt in this situation is especially helpful in determining how quickly a contingent worker will become a productive staff member.
White offers the following rationale for why employers should leverage team interviews:
A team interview quickly weeds out candidates who are not a good fit. Great candidates who don’t have the collaborative skills to succeed in the organization are eliminated at this stage, thereby expediting the interviewing process. A swift interviewing process is critical in the candidate-driven markets of IT and engineering: it means a faster hiring process for the company, which in turn helps better meet deadlines on your most important projects. It often means attracting the best contingent workers who also have multiple choices.
This scenario provides more objectivity during the interviewing process. Having multiple team members interact with candidates in a group setting and observe their behavior is much more effective than just evaluating candidates from the perspective of one interviewer.
The sharing, cooperative aspect of team interviews caters to the work environment that many Millennials seek. This will become increasingly important as Millennials become the majority of the 2020 workforce and often exhibit a preference for contingent assignments.
A team interview can help companies avoid wasting time and money on a bad hire. Just because a candidate is talented and skilled, doesn’t mean he or she would be right for your organization. Whether you’re investing time and money in a permanent employee or a contingent worker, the wrong choice is too costly to risk.
As the IT and engineering labor markets become increasingly candidate-driven, companies have to look for every possible way to shorten their hiring processes and keep their top picks from accepting other job offers. Team interviews expedite the recruitment process by replacing several individual meetings with key decision makers and condensing them into one group meeting. White concludes, “A team interview is a great way to gain deeper insight about candidates’ collaborative and interpersonal skills, while also giving them a glimpse of the company’s culture and approach to work. Job interviews should be a two-way exchange. If played well, this experience could be the thing that makes “A players” want the job opportunity as much as your organization wants them.”
Recent CDI Analysis
A team interview is a great way to gain deeper insight about candidates’ collaborative and interpersonal skills, while also giving them a glimpse of the company’s culture and approach to work.
Fulfillment Manager, CDI Corporation
Although the nation’s unemployment rate remained the same in November at 5.8 percent, widespread gains were seen across a variety of different sectors. According to the November Employment Situation from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment increased by 321,000, above economists’ predictions for approximately 230,000 jobs. Professional and business services saw the most significant additions with the creation of 86,000 jobs. This industry followed the overall trend, adding nearly 30,000 more jobs in November than its average monthly gain of 57,000. Temporary help services also saw an uptick, adding 23,000 jobs over the month. Job gains were also seen in computer systems design and related services which added 7,000 jobs, and architectural and engineering services which added 5,000.
Manufacturing expanded by 28,000 positions. Within this sector, industries like aerospace and automotive construction led the increases. Bloomberg noted that higher paying fields requiring special skills, such as technology and engineering, were also growing, a good sign for salary increases across the nation.
The full Bureau of Labor Statistics report can be downloaded by clicking here.