How To Use a Hiring Committee for Your Company

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Saphia Lanier
Saphia Lanier



Finding and interviewing talent is hard work — it’s the reason large companies often rely on recruiters to do the work. But not everyone has the budget to hire a team to scout for candidates.

How to use a hiring committee

Instead, small and medium businesses can create a hiring committee internally to share the burden and ensure everyone gets a say in who is brought on board. 

What is a hiring committee?

A hiring committee is a group of leaders and team members from different departments who come together to review job applications and interview candidates. The goal is to ensure the right person is hired for the job based on everyone’s point of view. 

Members of the hiring committee will typically include representatives from human resources, a manager from the hiring department, team members from the hiring department, and other senior leaders.

“A hiring committee allows you to get a more well-rounded view of each candidate” since each person asks different questions, explains Jennifer Morehead, CEO of HR consulting firm Flex HR. 

“This is especially helpful if you’re considering multiple candidates for the same position.”

Using a hiring committee also prevents biases that can lead to prejudice or discrimination, if you build a diverse hiring committee. 

Roles of the hiring committee

A hiring committee will consist of multiple leaders from relevant departments. Here’s an overview of the most common roles:

  • Hiring manager: This is the individual who understands the open role and the skills and knowledge required, since it’s a part of their team. They likely wrote the job description for the position. For example, if the company is looking for an iOS developer, the hiring manager is likely the leader of the iOS app team. 
  • Department leader: This will be a leader from the department the new hire will work in. They have a high-level understanding of the department’s goals and can analyze the candidate’s skills, personality, and work style to see if they’re an ideal match. 

    For example, if the role is for an iOS developer, then the leader of the app development department (who may oversee, say, both Android and iOS teams ) would sit on the committee.
  • HR representative: Human resource professional ‌who finds and screens candidates for open roles. They’ll gather the information from candidates and present it to the hiring manager to consider. This individual will also ensure legal compliance throughout the hiring process.
  • Team members: These workers will work alongside the new hire. Some will have the same responsibilities and can offer insights into who would be an ideal fit for the job. 
  • Other stakeholders: Sometimes personnel from other departments will join in the hiring process if the new hire will impact their work. For example, a marketing team hiring a copywriter could bring onboard the team leader from product design, since the copywriter will work closely with them.

Hiring committee responsibilities

A hiring committee collaborates to vet applicants. Here’s an overview of the primary responsibilities of a hiring committee:

  • Identifying applicants for a position, including going over applications 
  • Interviewing candidates to determine if they’re the right match and qualified for the role
  • Selecting the candidate and letting the hiring manager know (e.g., casting their votes and explaining their choice)
  • Hiring manager will get the final say in who gets hired for the role, but will consider everyone’s input

Hiring committee process

Hiring committees should have an organized process with clear steps. This will ensure everyone knows what to do and when, and prevents anyone from being left out or unheard. 

For example, Google’s hiring committee is a team of five to six people who undergo an in-depth screening process with applicants. Some say the process involves three rounds of interviews with Google employees, who must score the candidates using a predefined set of criteria. Plus, they must write a detailed report on the candidate and the reason for their score. 

Google’s hiring process has seven steps, according to ex-Google interviewers. But here’s what you can do to build one of your own:

  1. Screen resumes: Recruiters or hiring managers review applications and resumes to create a short list of candidates to reach out to. 
  2. Call with recruiter: After approving the resume, the recruiter schedules a 20- to 30-minute call with the applicant to discuss their background and interest in the role. 
  3. Phone interview: Then have one or two phone interviews with the hiring manager, taking roughly 45 minutes to an hour.
  4. Interview on-site: Once a candidate passes the phone screens, they can come into the company to have a face-to-face interview with the hiring committee.
  5. Scoring: Now, it’s time for the hiring committee to grade the interviewer and submit a feedback form with the candidate’s responses and their final recommendation (e.g., strong no hire, leaning no hire, leaning hire, or strong hire). 
  6. Negotiating salary: Finally, after passing all the interviews, give the candidate an offer package. At this point, they can either accept or negotiate the salary and benefits.

Examples of hiring committees in small businesses

Small businesses can use a simpler process for their hiring committees, since there are fewer leaders and teams to collaborate with. 

For instance, at Surfer, a content optimization company, there are only three people on the committee: the CEO, a senior executive from the hiring department, and an external HR consultant. 

“By having an external expert involved, we can also identify potential areas of improvement, so ‌our recruitment practices can evolve,” says Lucjan Suski, CEO of Surfer.

Janelle Owens, the HR director at Test Prep Insight, started a hiring committee after seeing the company was becoming homogenous. 

“Every team member seemed to reflect their own team manager (who hired them), which frankly, is not ideal,” says Owens. 

Now, all hiring decisions at the company are made by a panel of four employees:

  1. Owens as the HR Director 
  2. The CEO 
  3. The team manager
  4. A rank-and-file team member

The team manager gets a say in who’s hired into their team. Then the CEO weighs in with his opinion. To shake things up, Owens plays devil’s advocate to ensure every candidate gets a fair shake, and also provides a nontechnical opinion. 

The rank-and-file employee assesses the person for technical knowledge and personality fit with the team.

Tips for building a hiring committee

Think having a hiring committee is the right path for your small business? Here are a few tips for putting one together:

  1. Diversify your team: Include a mix of people from different departments and levels within your organization. And include various races, genders, and backgrounds.
  2. Set expectations: Before you interview candidates, make sure everyone on the committee understands their role in the process and prepare a diverse set of questions.
  3. Establish a timeline: Set deadlines for when each step of the process should be completed, such as when to review resumes, conduct interviews, and make decisions.
  4. Use technology: Use video conferencing platforms like Zoom or Skype to connect with your remote hiring committee members. Utilize project management tools like Asana or Trello, or an HR recruitment platform like Recruit CRM, to track candidates throughout the hiring process and your committee’s feedback.
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Topics: Human Resources

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