Peer Recruiting – When the team picks its new colleagues

30. November 2020
Peer Recruiting HRlab © Constanze Weber
What is Peer Recruiting?

In most companies, hiring new employees is still a matter that management and HR departments carry out themselves. The opinion of the new employee’s colleagues usually only plays a subordinate role in the recruiting process. In times when employees and teams in companies in all industries are increasingly working independently, the type of recruiting is also changing. A trend that is gaining ground in more and more companies is so-called “peer recruiting”.

The term “peer” is used to designate people of the same rank or standing in companies. Accordingly, peer recruiting is understood to mean the selection of applicants by “equal” colleagues. In practice, peer recruiting means that the interviews with applicants and the final selection of a candidate are carried out by their future colleagues. In some cases, the job profiles are already created by the employees themselves as part of peer recruiting.

Why should you introduce peer recruiting in your company?

The classic top-down approach in the recruitment process for employees hardly fits into a modern corporate culture these days. In the age of open, agile and self-organizing teams, a hiring process prescribed by management and the HR department is no longer up-to-date. Rather, employees should be actively involved in the hiring process. After all, in the vast majority of cases, you yourself know best what your team’s requirements are and what kind of people complement your team well. The latter point in particular can be judged much better by colleagues than management or the HR department. Peer recruiting is therefore an intelligent way of finding the candidate with the best combination of professional and personal skills.

What are the requirements and challenges for peer recruiting?

As simple as peer recruiting sounds, it cannot be introduced into a company overnight. In order to make this form of recruiting successful, a number of requirements must be met and challenges must be overcome. The most important requirement is that the employees are enabled to carry out the hiring process themselves. Since employees rarely have an HR background, they first need to be trained in the skills required to make good choices of personnel. The HR department must therefore be available to employees as a coach over a longer period of time in order to create the conditions for successful peer recruiting.

What are the benefits of peer recruiting?

Compared to classic recruiting, peer recruiting has a number of advantages for the employees, as well as for the applicants and the company as a whole. The most important positive point of this form of recruiting is that the employees themselves usually know best which new colleague is a good fit for their team, both professionally and personally. Another advantage is authenticity. In most cases, an applicant gets a more vivid picture of the job and the company through conversing with their future colleagues. In addition, applicants are often more open to their peers than to management or the HR department. Another advantage is that the team that selects the applicant also takes responsibility for the hiring. This gives the team a much greater incentive to integrate the new colleague well than a top-down selection of applicants by management. For the management and the HR department, peer recruiting has the advantage that they are given more time and relieved of organization and can use their resources for other productive purposes. And last but not least, peer recruiting has a good external impact. Companies that use this modern form of employee selection are automatically perceived as progressive by applicants.

What skills do HR professionals need when peer recruiting is carried out in the company?

The most important skill for HR staff in the context of peer recruiting is empathy. HR professionals need to have a lot of empathy to find out how employees are feeling about the hiring process and where problems arise for them. In addition, HR professionals must have good coaching skills. Advising your own colleagues on taking on recruiting usually requires a lot of individuality.

Conclusion

Peer recruiting can be an excellent method of finding the best professional and personal candidates for jobs in your company. The advantages of this type of employment for your own colleagues, the new employees and the company as a whole are great. In order to successfully implement peer recruiting in your company, the management and the HR department must create the conditions together. However, good new employees are the reward for the effort.