Peer interviews are interviews conducted by a candidate’s potential co-workers, rather than by a hiring manager or supervisor. In some situations, a peer review can help ensure that a new hire will fit into the culture of the company and the working team. It also allows co-workers to connect with candidates, helping a new hire’s relationship with the team start off strong.
When Are Peer Interviews Appropriate?
Small companies and companies with close-knit teams stand to benefit particularly from peer interviews. The peer interview process allows everyone on the team to learn about and assess potential new hires. It also fosters teamwork and solidarity among current employees.
Benefits of a peer interview include:
- Introducing the candidate to the “real” company. Employees have the direct experience to answer candidates’ questions about the day-to-day work they’ll perform.
- Candidates are more comfortable with peers than supervisors, making it more likely they’ll “let their guard down” and give better information about their fit.
- Employees become invested in a candidate’s success. They also feel involved in the selection process, improving their morale.
How Should We Use Peer Interviews in Our Hiring Process?
Like resume screening, reference checks, and supervisor interviews, peer interviewing is another tool in the hiring process — and it should be used accordingly. Consider using peer interviews when:
- Candidates will be working with a small team, whether it is one team within a larger company, or a “team” consisting of everyone in the organization. Peer interviews provide insight into how the candidate will really fit in with the team.
- Peer interviewers have been trained. Like other interviewers, peer interviewers should understand which questions are beneficial and which are off-limits for legal reasons, like “Do you have children?”
- A quantitative scoring system has been developed. Peers should be given a worksheet on which they can rate various candidate traits on a numerical scale. These worksheets give a “snapshot” view of the peers’ opinions and evaluation of the candidate.