All companies want to find the best candidates, but candidates should also ensure they’re finding the best companies. What that looks like for each candidate is different, but one non-negotiable should be ‘fairness’ and ‘transparency’.
When applying for a role, jobseekers are empowered to ask whether the company uses clear and objective hiring processes to screen candidates. Smaller companies – but some larger ones too – often struggle to structure hiring decisions, and don’t always have the frameworks in place to ensure an objective approach when multiple hiring managers are involved. At Sorted, we implemented ‘hiring huddles’ to tackle just that.
Kicking off in 2022, and continuously reviewing and improving them as we go, hiring huddles have increased our effectiveness at improving the collaboration, fairness, and transparency around the way we hire. Whether you’re hunting for a job, or a manager, or someone working in the talent industry; hopefully this information can explain how we believe the recruitment process is one that should always be changing and improving.
What is a huddle?
A hiring huddle is a collaborative meeting which is held after an interview has been conducted. A small, cross-functional or specialist team – including the person or persons who conducted the interview – will make the decision around job offers, and determine the appropriate seniority level for the candidate, should they be offered a position. Huddles not only streamline the decision-making process to ensure timely feedback and responses to candidates, but they also promote open communication, accountability, and objective observations.
The hiring manager(s) will walk through each interview objectively and gather wider feedback on each stage. The huddle will break down the interview against the requirements for the role, as well as gathering any positive or negative points that might have arisen.
From the huddle, the outcome is clear on whether a candidate will receive an offer or not, in which team and at which level.
How huddles have benefitted us
We’ve found implementing huddles brings together multiple perspectives, which provides a holistic understanding of a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses. By including all interviewers, hiring managers, and relevant members of the Talent team, all aspects of a candidate’s performance are considered, which has put us in a stronger position to reduce the risk of bias or an uninformed decision.
Improved decision making
Because of the structured nature of huddles, we’ve have seen significant improvements in the quality and speed of our decision making as they encourage a thorough and objective assessment of each candidate. Our hiring squad share their observations in a systematic manner, focusing on specific competencies and alignment with our company values. This approach ensures decisions are made based on concrete evidence as opposed gut feelings and even bias.
Huddles have helped to help cut out false positives on candidate feedback too. In the past, it was more common that a candidate might receive a ‘yes’ at all interview stages. However, every interview has a ‘yes, but…’ in their feedback. For example, if every interviewer is concerned about a candidate’s communication skills but are willing to pass them through as a ‘yes’, our huddles now allow the hiring squad to table that negative signal and make a collective decision.
Some companies might hire this candidate based on them being ‘all yesses’, however this can result in the candidate and business not being a great fit for one another and it could have been prevented.
Enhanced candidate experience
Huddles emphasise the importance of providing clear and constructive feedback to candidates, whether they’re offered a position or not. Because of huddles, our Talent team has a better understanding behind hiring decisions – which has improved the quality of feedback to our candidates. The feedback has also enabled our Talent team to calibrate more effectively on each role by having a deeper understanding of why the candidate was not hired.
Consistent evaluation and levelling
Consistency is key across all the hiring process, and it’s particularly important when determining a candidate’s appropriate level within the company. Every interview at the final stage will be discussed in a huddle, which means that each job offer will receive the same level of thought and consideration. We have also developed a competency framework for each role, which allows us to be confident with the hires we make, because of the care and attention put into it each decision.
Iterate the hiring process
Having huddles has seen our interview process evolve and become much more efficient. We have regular opportunities to talk about and understand how our interview process is working and if it isn’t, we can be proactive in making changes.
There could be many reasons why your process isn’t working, such as:
• Missing signals at final stages because we haven’t asked those questions in enough detail earlier on.
• Interviewers struggling to gauge seniority.
• Not measuring the right competencies to make an informed decision.
These are great qualitative data points for anyone looking to change their own interview processes.
In conclusion, hiring huddles have helped us to transform our interview processes, and have empowered us to make informed, objective, and fair hiring decisions. They bring together multiple perspectives and structured discussions, which means we can evaluate candidates more accurately and provide them with better feedback. They’ve ultimately resulted in a stronger and more cohesive team. It’s a fantastic structure to have in place that can scale across all areas and set your hiring team up for success.