Steps on How to Implement a Hiring Panel

| Ameya Deshmukh
Bias & Diversity

Hiring panels are becoming increasingly popular as organizations learn more about how much a bad hire can hurt an organization. A panel interview is a job interview where an applicant answers questions from a group of people who then make a hiring decision together.

When formed correctly, each panel member brings a different set of experiences, thoughts, beliefs, and biases to the process. Each member’s strengths compensate for others’ weaknesses, and members are not afraid to respectfully challenge each others’ judgments about the final decision.

From assembling your panel, managing responsibilities, and putting your panel to the test, this cheat sheet will help you successfully use hiring panels for better hiring decisions.

When formed correctly, a #hiringpanel ensures that a variety of experiences, beliefs, and biases lead to your final #hiring decisions. This cheat sheet from @MyaSystems will help you get started. Click To Tweet

Selecting Panel Members

Represent all levels.

Your panel should not be the entirety of your C-suite team. Instead, your panel should include representation from all levels of the organization. The panel should be a mix of the hiring department and employees at all levels in the company, so there’s a mix of questions based on work style, culture, and

market intelligence.

Bonus Points: A team member who will work directly with the new hire will have a vested interest in making a good decision and insight into what success will look like in the day to day of their position.

Represent experiences.

A team of accountants hiring another accountant will surely know what to look for to some degree, but outside perspectives from differing experiences will lead to well-informed hiring decisions. Panel members with a variety of industries on their resume will bring unique perspectives that will improve the scope of questions candidates face.

Represent a mix of races & genders.

People tend to connect with those with similar backgrounds. However, a hiring panel of all white men who went to college together is not likely to challenge each other to think outside of their shared experiences. Build your panel with a mix of races and genders to achieve well-rounded

questions and decisions.

Responsibilities of Panelists

Led by the hiring manager, panel members will review candidates’ materials and arrive at a consensus about which candidates will advance to a final level of interviewing. Questions won’t be off the cuff, but the interview should flow naturally. Before the final interview, they will compose their questions, so the team is on the same page, knowing who will ask what and when. Specific roles include:

Panel leader

Likely the Hiring Manager or HR Director, this person is the principal spokesperson for the panel. They have orchestrated the interview process until the panel is needed and keeps the panel on track from the collection of candidate materials to the final decision. They also have a say in the decision-making process.

Panelists

The rest of the panels play an equal role in asking questions and making a final decision. Their key responsibilities are to review candidate materials, participate in interviews, and make a final decision.

Specifically, all panelists are responsible for:

  • Reviewing the job description
  • Checking candidate materials including resumes, cover letters, and portfolios
  • Developing relevant questions to ask each candidate
  • Participate in every interview
  • Reviewing, comparing, and discussing notes with fellow panelists
  • Checking candidate references
  • Discussing the strengths and weaknesses of candidates and coming to a final group decision

After the decision is made, the Hiring Manager will inform applicants if they were not selected, make offers, and begin the onboarding process.

Scheduling Panel Interviews

A diverse panel can be prone to bias and inconsistencies if your interviews are spread out over a month or more. It’s best for hiring managers to block out one or two days with back-to-back interviews. Scheduling multiple interviews that work for several panels and the candidates can be difficult, so it’s easiest to devote full or half workdays to the interview process. Each candidate will have the same time slot length, the same interview room, and even the same room layout so you can be sure the interviewee is judged on their answers alone.

With devoted blocks of interviews, candidate impressions stay fresh in panel members’ minds, and the most recent candidates don’t get favored because they are most memorable to panel members. It also makes for a pleasant candidate experience, since the interview process and decision can be complete quickly.

Meet Mya

Creating a hiring panel process for your organization is an excellent step toward mitigating your unconscious hiring bias. As this cheat sheet shows, there are many steps required to ensure it’s done right. Perhaps the areas with the most room for error lie in the initial candidate engagement and bulk interview scheduling. Managing a hiring panel takes a lot of work on the Hiring Manager’s part, but with the addition of unbiased tech, like Conversational AI, will take initial candidate engagement, screening, and even interview scheduling off your plate — so you can be certain that your panel interviews run smoothly.

If you’re ready to find out more about conversational AI, rise above your competitors, and impress your candidates, say Hello to Mya today!

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