Does Your Firm Have a Dedicated Interview Team? If not, you are doing it wrong.

"Do you have chairs to fill?"

“Do you have chairs to fill?”

Think about your firm’s most recent hire.  What was the biggest challenge?  In today’s market, I would say, with confidence, that the most challenging aspect of your search was finding the talent in the marketplace.  As we race towards 2015, the market for world class design talent is very tight.

While there are many points in the hiring process that I could speak to, and will, in today’s post I wanted to share some ideas on a Dedicated Interview team.  I share this first because I believe this is the first step in successful hiring.

What is a Dedicated Interview Team?

Very simply, a dedicated interview team is a group of employees, from all levels of the organization, who are responsible for interviewing, vetting, and marketing your firm to potential employees.  By balancing this group with firm leadership and individual contributors, three important things happen.

  1. All levels of your firm are represented during the interview process. This helps to give candidates a 360 degree view of life in your firm.
  2. Because of the exposure to the bigger firm picture, the team becomes aspirational for junior employees, and a great mentoring point for senior leadership. I have seen firms make membership in the Dedicated Interview Team a rotational appointment, and a qualifier for those on an Associate or Partnership track.
  3. You firm is able to quickly vet talent, make an offer, and start the employee. This is critical when a candidate has multiple offers.

Properties of a Successful Dedicated Interview Team

In baking, the ingredients must come together in proper amounts.  The same goes for a high functioning Dedicated Interview Team.  All members must understand your firm’s core values and be able to speak to your firm’s value proposition.  They should also have an understanding of where your firm has been, how it has grown, and how it defines its self in the market.

Also important is an understanding of the bigger picture.  To assess talent, the team must understand how each role influences the other.  You can start to see why this team is a great educational tool for employees growing in the firm.

Another important ingredient of team membership is participation in relevant organizations outside the firm.  A successful Dedicated Interview Team can also function as an outward public relations tool!

How to use your Dedicated Interview Team

Of course, this team can be used in limitless ways.  Because we are talking about hiring, I will share a few benefits I have witnessed.

  1. Candidate Evaluation. Because the team is made up of employees that understand your firm’s core values, and are able to speak to your firm’s value proposition, members have a unique perspective on how candidates will meet the position’s need, year one and beyond.
  2. Selling your firm. The energy and excitement the team brings to the interview process can greatly influence and motivate candidates to join your firm.  When engaging in the battle for talent, this is an invaluable tool.
  3. Moving to an offer. Because evaluation and feedback is the team’s responsibility, not a disparate group of employees and managers, evaluation of the candidate can be quick, concise, and accurate.  This allows the firm to make a hiring decisions quickly, beating out the three other offers the candidate has.

These are just a few ideas I have worked with DBI clients to implement.  I know that a Dedicated Interview Team could be used in many other ways.  The great thing about a group like this is that it is scalable, it can work for firms of any size.

Regardless of how the team is used in your firm, the most exciting aspect of the Dedicated Interview Team is how it can transform a firm into a knowledge and market leader.  By providing an outstanding interview experience, even candidates who are not hired will walk away with a positive outlook on your firm.