How to get started with collaborative hiring in your company

Last updated:
July 20, 2021
October 11, 2022
min read
Adrie Smith
how to get started with collaborative hiring
Table of contents

Recruiting the best talent can be a real struggle if you’re a one man/woman show. When all the staff recruitment tasks- from sourcing candidates to making a formal offer- fall on your shoulders, it’s easy for processes to start fraying at the edges.

On your own, you may find it challenging to meet hiring deadlines and the pressure will only continue to mount as your company grows.

Collaborative hiring is a fantastic solution for one-person and small recruitment teams. Collaborative hiring is a recruitment strategy that leaders like Apple and Google have championed. If it works for them, it’s worth a shot for you, too.

In this strategy, staff recruitment is lead by the recruitment team, but team members conduct screenings, interviews, evaluations, and trial days.

There are many benefits to having your team involved in the process, but when it comes to getting your team even more included in staff recruitment, you may feel paralyzed with the following questions:

  • How can I get them to take time out of their work to participate?
  • What if they’re not good interviewers?
  • How can I make sure they’re consistent and give a good impression?
  • Will they look for the right information, experience, and skills?

Before we jump in, allow us to validate your concerns. These are perfectly natural worries, and almost everybody fixates on at least one of them initially.

After a few rounds of collaborative hiring, though, these concerns evaporate as successful data mirrors the positive impact it’s had.

Collaboration starts with buy-in.

Many who start on the path towards embracing collaborative hiring methods can face several objections. These objections can include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Your colleagues are too busy.
  • They shouldn’t have to be responsible for hiring
  • They don’t have the right skills.

This is why the journey toward creating a collaborative staff recruitment process always starts with gaining buy-in from your intended hiring team.

What is team buy-in?

Team buy-in is a term that signifies that all the members of your team are happy with the task at hand. This can include a project, a process, a vision, and/or a new hire.

In short, gaining team buy-in within recruitment means that all team members are on board and agree.

Use data to generate buy-in

Typically, others in your business- the people you need to be involved in the hiring- will have reservations about getting involved in the hiring process.

But there are a few pieces of information that can help you generate buy-in:

  1. Opportunity costs of delayed hires: Gather data on the opportunity costs presented by delays in the hiring process for critical roles within your business’s teams.
  2. Overview of your talent pipeline: Show them your talent pipeline with the volume of roles you are managing and your receiving applications. These all need responses, screenings, evaluations, etc.
  3. Time to hire statistics: Give them a deep dive into the elements impacting your time to hire, which may cause issues, including your availability to interview multiple candidates.
  4. Showcase the benefits of collaborative hiring for teams: Offer an overview of the extensive benefits collaborative hiring offers regarding employee engagement, quality of hire, cultural fit, and improved time to hire.

Gaining team buy-in to participate in the hiring process probably won’t happen overnight, and the suitable methods will vary from organization to organization.

But communicating a consistent message that hiring the right teams is essential for everyone is an important step along the way.

Collaborative hiring and interview training for staff recruitment

Even once your team embraces the importance of getting involved in staff recruitment, you still may face one last objection:

“I’m not a trained recruiter” or “I’m not really good at interviews”.

This is the perfect opportunity to conduct a crash course in screening, interviewing, and hiring.

Not only will this ease your team’s concern, but you’ll be training them for future hires, too. If you’re teaching them, you’ll be able to set your expectations and implement your process. It’s a win-win.


Useful tip:

Useful tip:

Depending on the size of your team, you can hold a training for a couple of hours, a day here or there, or different “modules” over the course of a year. Treat it as an opportunity to share your recruiting experience and knowledge with your team.

Your course should be tailored to your organization, but there are a few key elements it should include:

  1. Clear learning objectives for each ‘lesson.’
    Consider these carefully. What do you want your team to be able to do once they’ve completed each section? Work backward with the goal in mind first.  
  2. Learning resources.
    Just like when you were at school, every person learns differently. For maximum impact, you need to consider these learning styles and incorporate them into your training. Visual aids will help visual learners, along with video clips. Kinesthetic learners will benefit from ‘doing,’ so roleplay will help massively.
  3. Assessments.
    How will you know your team has acquired the knowledge they need? You will need to assess their progress to be confident they’ve taken the learning on board, and your training is practical.

Technically speaking, the vast majority of training courses need - at the very least - these three building blocks.

Let’s look at the components you should be teaching in a collaborative hiring training program in more depth.

Learning Objective: To prepare for an interview or screening

This is the first step for any interview, but it can often be left behind in preference for “winging it.” Providing clear guidelines in your collaborative hiring training to avoid this ‘interview-prov’ style means setting a clear expectation from the start.

Those involved in the interview process must always come prepared when face-to-face with a candidate. This means:

  • Familiarizing themselves with the official job description;
  • Reviewing the candidate’s CV;
  • Being briefed on any previous communications with the candidate;
  • Reviewing any standard interview questions for the role;
  • Being able to sell the perks and benefits associated with the position.

Useful tip:

Sometimes making a set checklist to review before interviews or screenings can help with this process.

Lesson 1: Provide an introduction to (structured) interviews

Knowing what to ask, how, and when can be one of the most significant concerns for those who are not seasoned interviewers.

Structured interviews can relieve nervous interviewers by delivering a predetermined question set to ask candidates in an interview or screening.

Usually, they will be tailored to the role competency or even the particular vacancy. They’ll test candidates on skills required for the role, industry knowledge, motivation, and cultural fit.

You can teach this lesson by giving your team a small presentation or workshop on how a structured interview works. Make sure you include a few best practice guidelines, too.

In addition to introducing structured interviews, you may want to cover interview issues like:

  • Addressing unconscious bias;
  • Use of positive body language;
  • The differences between open, closed, and leading questions;
  • The design of cultural fit questions.
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Lesson 2: Overview of the company culture, values, and mission

One of the main benefits of using a collaborative hiring approach to recruitment is that team members can sometimes convey the company culture, values, and mission more accurately (and authentically) to candidates.

However, for this to happen, your team needs to share a coherent and consistent message.


Useful tip:

Useful tip:

Make sure to give your hiring team a refresher on your company values and mission.

Company culture is, to some extent, organic and should be left to the employees to communicate (each team’s culture could also be different).

But do make sure they know that this is a crucial value-added to every candidate and that during the interview process, they should communicate it whenever possible.

Training your team can take place in a traditional classroom setting, one-to-ones, or practical learning sessions.

Learning Objective: to work on an ATS

Your team should have an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) in place, but if your whole team doesn’t have access to it, you’ll be in trouble.

Collaborative hiring should include virtual collaboration. This way, you can avoid data silos that kill your recruitment growth. Keep all the crucial information in one place, and keep it organized.

Lesson 1: Introduce HR technology (and use it!)

Technology is often the first thing that employees are resistant to.

Change is difficult in organizations, especially when it includes learning how to use a new system. To facilitate a shift in tech use for non-recruiter employees, you must make sure that the ATS you have in place is two things:

  1. Easy to use
  2. Beneficial to them

People simply will not want to learn something that is difficult and provides no immediate benefit to them. So give them some motivation by choosing a user-friendly ATS in the first place!

One that allows for unlimited users is crucial, as well. The interface, then, will likely be more collaborative, allowing for the interactive process your hiring craves.

Lesson 2: Understand how to use the basic ATS functions

Ensure that your entire team is briefed on:

  • Submitting CVs;
  • Adding commentary;
  • Evaluating candidates;
  • And scheduling interviews.

Make it easy for them to add to the hiring process, and they will!

The benefits are clear, as well. It shows camaraderie and allows them to put their input into who is getting hired.

This boosts morale and gives employees a sense of autonomy (a significant motivator!).

Not to mention, this ups the quality of your new hires dramatically.

Learning Objective: To communicate and sell our employer brand

If you’re going to recruit as a team, you need to represent as a team. Employer branding is as essential to staff recruitment as every other step in the process.

It may seem a given that your employees will want to represent your company accurately, but they may not know precisely how to do so.

Ensure they know exactly what you are trying to convey to potential talent before throwing them into the hiring process.

Lesson 1: Outline crucial company messaging

Even if your staff seems on board with your company message, they may need to brush up on the details (and sometimes the basics!).


Useful tip:

Useful tip:

Make sure that your employees remember, as well as take seriously, your company values. This can start as early as the creation of your business.

For staff recruitment, you’ll need to remember these key steps when outlining company messaging:

  • Make your company messages clear and memorable.
  • Hire from the start with the intention to bring on people with similar values and goals.
  • Brief the team on voice and tone. Make a document for reference.
  • Tell them what you want to portray in an interview setting, as well as what type of candidate you are looking for.
  • Make sure that the culture you are representing is felt across the board (not just proposed).

Lesson 2: Align on company values and goals

If the team doesn’t reflect the employer brand you portray online; it will be painfully evident to potential hires.

This last step to teaching collaborative hiring is arguably the most important, as well as the most difficult.

It needs to come from a genuine place. You can’t force a positive company culture! So then, you may ask, how do you create one?

It’s easier than you may think. Follow these steps during your hiring crash course to ensure your team is ready to hire like-minded people:

  • Don’t force participation in the hiring process.
  • Give team members the option to do so, and reward the top participants.
  • Use team candidate evaluations.
  • Don’t leave anyone out.
  • Get an ATS that enables collaborative hiring with unlimited.
  • Most importantly, communicate, and have fun!

Transparency and rewarding positive behavior will go a long way in getting your team on board with collaborative hiring.

Subsequently, this will boost the chances that top talent will want to join your company!

When candidates see how well you work together during the hiring process, they’ll likely want to be a part of your team.

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