Should you let subordinates do some interviewing?

by Evil HR Lady on January 21, 2010

How weird is that? You go to a job interview and find out one of the people behind the desk is a direct report to the position for which you are interviewing. Good idea or bad idea? Find out my thoughts over at US News and leave your comments there. Or here. I’m not picky.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

clobbered January 21, 2010 at 9:29 pm

I would LOVE to be interviewed by someone that would end up working for me. I spend much more time with the people in my team than with senior management, and I would much rather know that I was considered a good fit for the team by the team itself, rather by some big cheese with a vague idea of what managing the team actually involves.

My employer does not allow this; more's the pity.

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Anonymous January 22, 2010 at 12:54 pm

It happens all the time in academe – faculty (sometimes even adjuncts!)are always invited to meet and ask questions of candidates for department head positions. Why is that so weird to contemplate in the corporate world?

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Jonathan January 22, 2010 at 2:35 pm

There's absolutely nothing wrong with this (except for a few caveats you mention). I've been involved in this both as the subordinate and as the hiring manager, and it has always worked out well.

One other thing that should be noted, having subordinates conduct interviews is a great way to give them experience conducting interviews. If you've got a great employee who's on the rise, why wouldn't you want to give him/her all the experience you can?

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ShannonAshley January 22, 2010 at 5:06 pm

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Anonymous January 22, 2010 at 6:33 pm

I always let my peers and subordinates interview candidates. Mainly because they will be working with the new hire, so I believe it is important to get their feedback on the potential ones. IMHO people who don't let others into the process would often be very full of themselves and have little self-awareness.

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Anonymous January 22, 2010 at 7:40 pm

I think it's great – and the hiring manager can always specify to the subordinates that this is a "get to know you" type of interview, rather than them being the decision-makers. I think it shows respect for the team, helps everyone get to know each other better, and is more likely to make for a better start for the new boss.

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Anonymous January 23, 2010 at 2:22 am

I was in this position a couple years ago, and me and a colleague voted an emphatic "hell to the no" on the person they eventually hired. He was eventually fired. Sometimes the "subs" have radar like that. :)

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Jane January 23, 2010 at 11:50 pm

Juniors who've proved themselves valuable are worth more to the organization than an unproven candidate at a higher level. The subordinates may have been doing that very job, may need to do some training of the applicant if s/he gets the job, and will likely be supporting him/her. If this applicant can't see why the company might want and respect their input, the company's better off without this candidate.

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Marsha Keeffer January 25, 2010 at 2:55 am

We've been doing this in Silicon Valley for years. Why? Because if the candidate doesn't treat that 'direct report' well, that's pretty much what you can expect of them after they're hired.

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Anonymous January 25, 2010 at 7:50 pm

I guess I can at least see where the sentiment comes from when he says he wouldn't want subordinates (even if I don't agree with it to do interviewing but peers? That doesn't make any sense. I don't see how that could be at all awkward. You're going to be working with them at the same level. Unless they're all snooty and superior during the interview it shouldn't get weird after you're hired.

– RP

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Kerouac January 25, 2010 at 8:35 pm

I understand the positive aspects mentioned previously, but too often this technique is used to let the hiring manager off the hook.

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