Innovative hiring in an age of full employment

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Kevin Green discusses collaborative hiring

Collaborative hiring – where a wider group of employees are asked to evaluate job candidates – not only benefits companies but the wider economy too, says Kevin Green, chief executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation

One of the strategies that made Apple so successful was Steve Jobs’s belief in asking people from across the organisation to help decide who should be hired. It’s what’s known as ‘collaborative hiring’. In the UK, Pret A Manger has adopted a similar approach, with candidates spending ‘experience days’ in a store and team members voting on whether they are taken on.

There are more people in work now in the UK than at any time since records began in 1971. Jobs transform lives and the fact that more people are feeling the financial and social benefits of work is great news. However, as vacancies continue to rise, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for employers to find the talent they need to compete.

Our data shows that 95 per cent of organisations are operating close to full capacity, and that more than eight in 10 companies intend to hire more permanent staff in the next three months. Business leaders know that without the right people they will miss opportunities and struggle to take advantage of the UK’s favourable economic climate.

As recruitment becomes more of a challenge, employers are seeking innovative ways to improve their hiring process. And there’s significant room for improvement: a third of UK adults don’t feel positive about their last experience of being a candidate.

Collaborative hiring: the benefits

Collaborative hiring is one innovation that employers are turning towards. The merits and challenges of this approach are explored in a current BBC Two programme, Who’s The Boss?, which I have worked on as an expert adviser.

It’s been a fascinating experience. By asking their existing team to feed back on each candidate’s performance, hirers gain more insight and so are more likely to make the right decision.

Collaborative hiring also benefits the candidates. As an interviewee, you want to get a sense of the culture and values of the organisation. Engaging with the people who already work there during the selection process is a fantastic way to work out whether you would make a good match.

Businesses also get the benefit of empowering their existing team and encouraging collective responsibility. A good fit with the team can make a new starter up to 30 per cent more productive, according to CEB. Part of this is because employees who have played a role in hiring a new starter are more likely to help that person be successful.

Another benefit of collaborative hiring is that businesses can avoid what is known as ‘unconscious bias’ when hiring. Managers will often instinctively hire people who are similar to themselves – but in doing so organisations run the risk of missing out on diverse talent. Giving more people input in the hiring decision means it is a more robust and objective process.

Innovative hiring strategies are set to become more familiar as organisations seek to put themselves in a better position to attract the people they desperately need – which is great news for candidates, employers, and for the UK economy as a whole.

Who’s The Boss? is a three-part series showing on BBC Two

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) runs the Good Recruitment Campaign to help businesses of all sizes and in all sectors be as successful as possible when attracting, selecting and hiring people. For more information, visit rec.uk.com/Goodrecruitment

About author

Kevin Green

Kevin Green

Kevin Green is the chief executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC)

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