A new TV programme on BBC Two, called Who’s The Boss?, is about to show you how and why, says Kevin Green

One of the strategies that made Apple so successful was Steve Jobs’ belief in asking people from across the organisation to help choose new recruits. It’s an approach known as ‘collaborative hiring’.

In the UK, Pret A Manager has adopted a similar approach, with candidates spending a day in the store, and team members voting on whether to offer them a job.

And the opportunities for hiring are there as vacancies continue to rise. But for employers it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find the talent they need to stay competitive. REC data shows that more than eight in 10 companies intend to hire more permanent staff in the next three months. And according to CEB Global, recruiting organisations have increased their budgets for candidate assessment and selection by an average of 15 per cent over the last two years. Business leaders know that without the right people they will miss opportunities and struggle to take advantage of the UK’s favourable economic climate.

With recruitment becoming more of a challenge, employers are looking for innovative ways to improve their hiring process, and there’s significant room for improvement. REC research shows that a third of UK adults don’t feel positive about their last experience of being a candidate.

I think that collaborative hiring could be the innovation recruiters are looking for. The merits and challenges of this approach are explored in a new TV programme on BBC Two - Who’s The Boss? which I have been lucky enough to act as an expert advisor for. Craft beer company BrewDog, national fruit and vegetable supplier Reynolds, and Beech’s, a fine chocolate manufacturer, are all trying to find talented middle managers. They create a series of tasks for the candidates to go through, and then hand over responsibility to their staff for appointing the right person.

By moving away from relying solely on the traditional interview and towards more job-related testing, employers are able to assess who is the best person for the job. By asking their existing team to feedback on each candidate, hirers gain more insight and so are much more likely to make the right decision.

Collaborative hiring also benefits the candidates: As an interviewee, you want to get a sense of the culture and values of the organisation. Engaging with the people that already work there during the selection process is a fantastic way to work out whether you would make a good match. Businesses also get the benefit of empowering their existing team and encouraging collective responsibility. A good fit with the team can make a new starter up to 30 per cent more productive, according to CEB Global. Part of this is because employees who have played a role in hiring a new starter are more likely to help that person be successful.

Collaborative hiring also helps towards combating unconscious bias during the recruiting stage. Managers will often instinctively hire people who are similar to themselves – but in doing so organisations run the risk of missing out on diverse talent. Giving more people input in the hiring decision means it is a more robust and objective process.

By creating more engaging hiring strategies, organisations put themselves in a better position to attract the people they desperately need, and collaborative hiring looks set to become a more familiar strategy as employers seek the capability to help them grow.

This is great news for candidates, employers, and for the UK economy as a whole.

‘Who's the Boss?’ is a three-part series for BBC Two, starting on Tuesday 23rd Feb at 21:00.


The REC’s Good Recruitment Campaign is helping businesses to be successful when attracting, selecting and hiring people. For more information, visitwww.rec.uk.com/Goodrecruitment