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  • Katie Paolino

How to Add a Shadowing Interview for Better Hires.






Over the last few years we have made our interview process longer and longer and longer. No matter how desperate we’re feeling at moment, we try hard to make SURE someone is going to be a good fit.



One of the best things we’ve added to the process is our shadowing interview.


Several years ago, one of our accounting clerks left us and in her exit interview, she actually let us know about someone in authority over her that had been belittling her and really not acting like what I thought was aligned with our company culture.


So after asking more questions of the team, it turned out that this person had a habit of talking down to her coworkers and in fact another team member had left previously because of the treatment.


We of course had to let that person go, and it was a really uncomfortable situation.


But the truth is, people act differently with their coworkers than they do with their boss.


We added a shadowing portion of our interview process where applicants sit with their potential team for a few hours and just watch them work.


It gives them a chance to see the office, the software, the lighting, the noise level, how the team interacts, whether they’re happy with their job.

And it gives us a chance to get input from the team. People will so quickly let their guard down when interacting with their peers. And get out of “interview mode” where they just say what they think you want to hear.


We’ve had people talk bad about their past employer and we’ve had people looking at their phones the entire time.


We’ve had people be engaged and ask great questions!


We’ve also had applicants decide after shadowing that it wasn’t a good fit for them.


All of which are great for us to learn up front.


Our office is very quiet. Not by design, we’ve offered to play music and liven up the place, but our team just genuinely enjoys the quiet. And that’s not for everyone. SO its good for them to experience that on the front end and have an easy out!


[UPDATE: we're now playing music in the office! We'll see how long it lasts!]


An added benefit- and this one may be most important of all- you get the team’s buy in.


If someone on your team says Yes, they will be a great fit here! We need them on the team. They are going to be invested in that decision. They are going to work extra hard to welcome the new person, train them, and help ensure their success.



Your simple tip of the week is to try a shadowing interview in your interview process and get your team’s feedback before making any hiring decisions!

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