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Peer recruiting - how a stopgap solution becomes a success story


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Almost simultaneously with the temporary maternity-related reduction of our small two-person HR team came the first measures to contain the Corona virus. Read here how our new way of recruiting is just born out of this need.

In order to relieve myself, the part-time, temporary sole HR manager with three homeschooled children, I decided to adjust the recruiting process. I quickly invited the supervisors involved in the 6 (!) current recruitments to a meeting and presented them with my proposal regarding the adjustments. Newly, they should not only take over the first screening of the application dossiers, but also conduct the first interviews, completely without HR. All colleagues agreed to my proposal quickly and without reservation (you are the best! Big thank you at this point!).

What happened next was unprecedented: The supervisors screened and organized their interviews as agreed - but not alone. They involved their team. The presumed future team of our applicants. Questions were diligently prepared and coordinated, small assessments were prepared and interviews with team members were arranged. Can this go well?

Yes it works. "At the beginning it was an adjustment," confirms our Head of Infrastructure, Manuel Wenger, introducing the company himself and, as he puts it, "being solely responsible for breaking the ice." Thanks also to valuable tips from HR, the interviews soon became routine. Manuel also sees a big advantage in the coordination of appointments. Especially with many recruitments at the same time, the HR calendar is quickly busy and interview dates have to be moved far into the future, which increases the risk of candidate rejections. In the past, Manuel has often involved candidates' future teammates in the recruitment process, not least because they are familiar with the respective specialist area and can judge at first glance whether the candidate would be a good fit from a professional point of view.

When asked if they prefer this type of interview, all of the "new recruiters" interviewed said yes. The idea is "awesome" says Miguel Perello, who is currently helping to recruit two developers for our streaming unit. Having the opportunity to help pick his future teammate is not only the best way to show appreciation and great trust in current employees, he says, but also a great chance to look at applicants from all sides. While their supervisor Simon Hasler, Head of Streaming, focuses on resumes, his colleague Simon Pertschy asks applicants more about development experience, and Miguel wants to learn more about applicants' personal skills. Simon P. also sees it as an opportunity for the applicant to see right from the start who he will later work with on a daily basis.

I wanted to know from them whether the decision will turn out differently than if the supervisor recruits alone. Miguel and Simon P. assume that the jointly made decision for or against a candidate will turn out exactly the same. Their supervisor Simon H., on the other hand, doubts this. During the recruitment process, he has become even more aware of what is important to his fellow recruits, where they feel skepticism and have open questions. This, he suspects, may very well have subconsciously influenced him and helped guide decisions. Despite increased coordination efforts for meeting invitations and the fact that he keeps two of his employees from their daily work, Simon H. feels that this type of recruiting makes a lot of sense. The decision-making process is more broadly based, and the interviews - everyone agrees on this - are more relaxed. They leave room for more observations, since you are not constantly the questioner, but can simply listen and observe. This is also very well received by the applicants.

For our Marketing Manager, Daniela Ackermann, it is perfectly normal that it is not the Head of Marketing together with HR, but she alone who takes the first steps in recruiting. After all, she herself was recruited by her colleague some time ago. The Head of Marketing is very much involved in the first interview with the applicants, but the preparation, initial selection and conducting of the interview are entirely up to Daniela. The whole team is then involved in the subsequent decisions.

There is unanimity among all with regard to the future: we will continue and cultivate this type of recruitment in Netstream, even after Corona and HR resource scarcity.

Unfortunately, I was unable to convince either Miguel or Daniela to join me in the HR department. Manuel, on the other hand, likes to come to HR, but only to drink coffee with me and talk shop about recruiting. Only Simon P. no longer finds the idea of completing an internship in HR so absurd...(Strike!).

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