How to form a strong hiring selection committee

by
March 31, 2017
How to form a strong hiring selection committee

Image by thodonal88 / Shutterstock, Inc
You might have read our article, covering the eight key steps in the recruitment process. If so, you’ll already know that the most sensible place to start, is with your selection committee.

A hiring selection committee is a group of people who collaborate to assess candidates and make hiring decisions. The entire committee will often be present during every stage of the recruitment process – from reviewing CVs, to conducting interviews.

Do you need a hiring selection committee?

Not all companies will want – or even need – to form a hiring selection committee. So let’s start by talking you through why you might, or might not, want to form one.

If you run a small business, you may make all hiring decisions yourself. Or you may have a dedicated hiring manager to manage the process for you. But if your company is of a certain size, then a hiring committee can help make sure that your company’s best interests are represented from all angles.

But it isn’t just a “size” issue. A selection committee can also help to remove bias, and make sure diversity and equal opportunities are considered.

Of course, these benefits come at a cost, and establishing a hiring committee can be expensive, not to mention time consuming. This is because the members you select will need to devote paid time to reviewing candidates – and the time to hire may take longer, due to more people being involved in the decision.

Six tips to make sure your hiring selection committee is effective

If you decide to use a hiring selection committee for assessing and selecting candidates, then here are six tips to help you build a strong committee:

  1. Keep it compact. Ideally, you’ll want three or four people on your hiring committee. Going beyond this number will normally make your committee far too big. If you make your committee too big, then you increase the length of time it takes to hire. This increases the tug on your resources, and can also increase the length of time it takes to fill a position. An exception to this rule, might be if you are hiring for a pivotal position, for which the cost of making a bad hire is likely to far outweigh the cost of a large hiring committee.
  2. Keep it representative. One of the benefits of a hiring selection committee is making sure all of your company interests are taken into account. So make sure you create a committee that represents different priorities within your organisation. For example, instead of asking three marketing managers to form the hiring committee for a marketing position, you might want to assign your key marketing manager, and two senior people from other departments.
  3. Ensure the position is understood. Have you ever been involved in an interview where the interviewer knows nothing about the position, and is simply reading from a list of questions? This approach rarely works well. When you have people in your hiring committee who are not directly involved in the department or area of work you are hiring for, it is important to ensure they all understand what is required from the person you hire. Create a clear internal brief, and discuss it as a team.
  4. Assign a chairperson. To help decisions move faster, assign one member from your selection committee to become the “chairperson”. While everybody’s input should be taken into consideration, having a chairperson can help seal any final decision, particularly when there is close competition. It is best to assign the person who will be most directly impacted by the final decision, or who understands the role the best – for example, the person who will be the new hire’s direct manager.
  5. Agree on uniform criteria. In terms of assessing each candidate, it helps if each member of the hiring committee is marking applicants against the same scoring system. This helps your committee more easily see which candidates have consistently displayed the strongest skills and capabilities. You can use the internal brief you created as a platform for developing a scoring criteria.
  6. Write down feedback before you discuss it. Whether you are reviewing CVs, or discussing the results of an interview, it can help to avoid holding a group discussion straight away – write down feedback first. This is because in group discussion settings, the first person to speak can sometimes influence the initial opinions of other members, creating bias.

If you can afford to establish a selection committee, then go for it

Hiring selection committees can be expensive and time-consuming. But if you can afford to create one, and if you can streamline the process to minimise the time it takes to hire a candidate, then I recommend that you should start doing it straight away. You will likely find that your hiring decisions become more well-rounded, and yield better long-term results.

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