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Should You Involve Your Team in the Contractor Selection Process?

By: Leslie Stevens-Huffman

Did you know that co-worker relationships play the greatest role in determining on-the-job happiness – even more than financial compensation? In fact, 91 percent of engineers say they want to meet their prospective peers during the interview process, while only 73 percent say it’s important to meet the CEO.

Peer interviews actually benefit both parties. In addition to ensuring a great cultural fit, peer interaction establishes chemistry and an immediate bond that hastens the assimilation of new contractors and encourages knowledge sharing. Plus, fellow engineers can be instrumental in swaying a hot prospect, as long as their involvement doesn’t encumber the selection process.

 

Best Practices

Here are some best practices for interviewing engineering contractors.

  • Make sure peer interviews are conducted in a timely and consistent manner.
  • Select the interviewers in advance, and have HR provide training, so team members know the legal ins and outs – what they can and can’t ask.
  • Reduce prep time by providing the interviewers with a list of approved, open-ended questions that explore job-related preferences and traits for engineering contractors.
  • Since people tend to hire in their own image, only ask top performers to serve on the selection panel.  Avoid engineers who may have an agenda, or novices who could be intimidated interviewing a highly experienced professional.
  • Forward the candidate’s resume in advance and ask the leader to assign questions to the various members, so the session doesn’t exceed the time limit or veer off course.
  • Save time by conducting peer interviews right after your meeting and only referring acceptable candidates.
  • Instead of eliciting the same information, focus on the candidate’s technical experience and education during your interview and ask the engineers to delve into the contractor’s teamwork, work style, emotional intelligence and cultural preferences.
  • Meeting with a big group can be intimidating for anyone. Informal conversations involving no more than three engineers over coffee tend to be the most relaxed and productive.
  • It’s much easier to gauge chemistry and cultural fit in a setting that resembles a team meeting rather than an inquisition. Plus, a contractor will feel more comfortable asking about the project scope, the requirements and the expectations in a small group setting.
  • Don’t let a great contractor get away. Be sure the team sells him on the challenge of the project as well as the professional benefits before the interview concludes.
  • Have someone take the candidate on a tour while the team huddles and forwards their recommendation. That way you can contact the agency, secure the contractor’s commitment on the spot and even get a jump on the on-boarding process by assigning him a coach or guide.

By involving your team in the selection process, you can feel good about your decision, get buy in from co-workers and increase the chances that your new worker will be a productive, welcome enhancement to the team.

 

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