Why You Have to Work Hard When the Company Hires by Consensus

Imagine you just finished a job interview.

Walking out the door, you sigh a breath of relief. You nailed this one! The interviewer liked you… they actually liked you! You can tell.

But as the weight of the interview falls off your shoulders — the stress of preparing, the sleepless night before — you realize you can’t rest yet. This interview is one of many. You’ll have to do it all over again in a few days’ time.

Because this company hires by consensus.

What is Hiring by Consensus?

Hiring by consensus or decision making by consensus is when a team of interviewers must agree (or reach consensus) before a hiring decision is made. Instead of assigning the decision to one person, everyone works together to select the best candidate.

Before the popularization of this method, organizations typically left the final decision to the hiring manager. While this simplified the hiring process, it put a lot of pressure on one person and increased the chances of a hiring error.

Hiring by consensus eliminates these common problems by including multiple stakeholders (and different perspectives) in the decision, reducing the level of responsibility assigned to any one person and increasing the group’s ability to spot red flags in candidates.

Because of this, hiring by consensus is great for companies. It increases the quality of the candidate hired and helps ensure all team members are content with the decision.

But this has some unfortunate effects on the job seeker — you. Namely, the more stakeholders there are, the more steps the interview process becomes and the harder you have to work to impress everybody.

Why Hiring by Consensus Makes You Work Harder

Traditional hiring models usually involve around two to three stakeholders: human resources, the hiring manager, and maybe an upper-level manager. With consensus hiring, however, you may meet up to ten employees throughout the interviewing process, each one with their own interests, agendas, and criteria.

For example, the hiring manager’s ideal candidate is someone who will exceed the expectations of the role and rise to the occasion once they’re onboarded.

Meanwhile, your future peers want a teammate who is friendly and easy to work with.  

And juniors, if you meet any in the interviewing process, want a good ally to work under.

To impress each of these people, you must determine what each one is looking for and then present yourself according to their criteria. Consensus hiring requires you to be more perceptive of and responsive to the individual preferences of different people you interview with. Which is no easy task.

And, worst of all, you may get rejected if just one or two stakeholders have reservations about you in the end.

Because of this, hiring by consensus requires you to work harder, investing more effort into each interview and winning over more people as you proceed down the pipeline.

Feeling intimidated? Don’t stress out yet. There are ways to maximize your chances of succeeding, even when they’re hiring by consensus. The same interview advice you’ve heard 1,000 times already will serve you well.

How to make a good impression when they’re hiring by consensus

A lot of the same advice applies whether the company is hiring by consensus or not.

For success in any job interview, make sure to:

  • Dress well
  • Be on time
  • Act confident
  • Speak clearly
  • Use proper body language
  • Smile and be enthusiastic

As in all interviews, research the company in advance so no matter who calls on you to speak about it, you can answer their questions with impressive ease.

You’ll just have one extra step when they’re hiring by consensus: to approach each interview with the interviewer’s needs in mind.  

Consider the interests of each person you interview with. What do they want from a candidate based on their relationship to the open role and function in the company? Lead with the qualities you think they’re looking for.  

And don’t worry too much. At the end of the day, whether they are hiring by consensus or not, this is just another interview. Prepare as usual and you’ll do great!

This article was written by Danielle Murphy.
Danielle Murphy is a content writer and copywriter with a passion for helping businesses meet their marketing goals with writing. When she’s not working (or writing for fun), she’s hiking or hobby farming around her home in New Hampshire. 

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