Who, EXACTLY, is in charge around here?...

My previous post about the right number of interviews received a lot comments - some from people saying I should add an extra interview to allow for interviews for subordinates to help select their incoming managers.

My knee-jerk reaction was "This is bonkers". But I am an understanding and listening soul. These people may take me on a 'learning journey' (Have you heard enough from people talking about their 'journeys'? Me too). I even searched out for some blogs on the subject. Perhaps I need a more balanced view about how the world works?...

They make the case on three grounds as far as I can understand:

  1. The subordinate understands more about the detail of what's going on than the manager, so is more able to ask relevant questions to a potential incoming manager.
  2. It's good for morale. It makes people feel important and valued.
  3. Charitable and not-for-profit organisations use it as their cultural needs are more inclusive than normal commercial outfits. And in this sector it's becoming increasingly the norm.

I thought about this for some while. I reflected.......

.........I'm even more convinced "This is bonkers" than I was before:

Firstly to respond to the three points above:

  1. Any manager should understand what their direct results are up to, at least in general terms. If they're not able to ask relevant important job related questions, then they shouldn't be in the job in the first place.
  2. It's bad for morale. It might seem a good idea in the first place, but where does the buck stop? The basis for a 'good' morale is for everybody to understand their place in the organisation, what's required of them, that responsibility for tasks sits with individuals, and that once success is achieved, it will be recognised and rewarded in the right places.
  3. I'm not close to charitable organisations, but those I have come across still need to build a team, organise their resources, make the most of their opportunities, and understand their success and failures. If it's true this organisations do need to do things differently, will somebody please tell me why they should live in a different bubble than the rest of us, 'cos nobody has explained that anywhere close enough for me to be able to understand enough to even be able to argue the point.

I cannot see one redeeming benefit of involving subordinates in the recruitment process. It would seem that some organisations looking for their most senior execs put candidates through a 6 or 7 interview process including a meeting with a spread of subordinates. In the unlikely event I was selected from such a process, my very first decision would be put a stop to this and save a fortune by making the HR department redundant en masse.

Despite lot's of flowery words from a lot of people who say that subordinates should interview their future managers, I don't get it on any level. I have found no evidence that it works (those who think about the world like this don't seem to be too objective), and no evidence that anybody has even looked for hard facts to prove their case.

There may be a danger here that you think that I think that people who support this approach are swivel-eyed loons. I would like to clarify my position: You ARE swivel-eyed loons.



(Image courtesy of http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/)

Views: 314

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on October 28, 2013 at 12:42pm

Thanks, Martin. I'd like to see any evidence that having more than a couple o interview rounds (each lasting no more than 3 hours) with around 4-6 interviewers total is needed for effective hiring.




Comment by Martin Ellis on October 28, 2013 at 12:48pm

Hi Keith, I looked for it and couldn't find it. I reckon two and a half is plenty: http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/how-many-interviews-i...

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on October 28, 2013 at 12:58pm

Yep. Martin, you and I (and I bet a lot of other folks, too) think so, but WHO KNOWS? You 'd think very basic questions like:

1_ How many interviews should you have?

2_How many interviewers should there be?

3_ How long should interviews take?

would have been thoroughly researched and answered DECADES ago, if only to the level of "We don't know what's best, but we do know this ISN'T" -level.





Comment by Jan on November 1, 2013 at 11:39am

Martin, I ask  a simple question. What makes a subordinate any better at interviewing? Have they been trained? Do they know what pertinent questions to ask? What would they be allowed to say about the company? Interviewing candidates shouldn't be taken lightly and should be left to those that know how do it.

Comment by Martin Ellis on November 1, 2013 at 11:52am

Wish I'd thought of asking that Jan. (I probably will when you're not looking)

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on November 1, 2013 at 2:02pm

@ Jan: If interviewing were left to those who could do it well, hardly anybody would be interviewed!



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