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Peer Interviews

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Interviewing can be both stressful for the candidate and the employer. At the candidate end, there is often stress over several factors, from qualification to cultural fit. A worthy candidate goes in hoping to find a place to do their best work while getting along with their teammates. For the employer, there is preparation to determine the perfect match, both in skill and attitude, and how to go about finding the right fit for the organization.

We often hear people say, “Well, she just wasn’t the right fit,” or, “We are so lucky to have found a perfect fit.” But what exactly is “fit”? Finding the right fit means finding a candidate with attitudes aligned to your values. So, how can employers choose the most suitable candidate and how can team members prepare most effectively to build a team of people whose attitudes align with their values?


Peer interviewing is the third and final step, following screening and leadership interviews, in an effective hiring process and its primary focus is determining cultural fit between the candidate and the organization. This step is the best way to get the right fit, ensuring your organization doesn’t waste time or money on a candidate who just isn’t a good cultural fit.

A cross-selection of employees from the specific department determine cultural fit by asking a series of behavioral-based questions, giving a feel for a candidate’s attitudes and personality. The behavior questions compliment performance-based questions asked by leadership and support the overall view of a potential candidate’s possibility of success within the organization. Notably, leaders only refer qualified candidates to the peer interview stage.

The peer interview team asks the right questions and looks for the right answers. The peer team is looking for response evidence that indicates good fit, attitudes/behaviors aligned to the organization’s value statements. They ask behavior-based questions that elicit examples of past behavior in situations, which also includes information about performance. In many organizations, the peer interview team uses the job description to develop the behavior-based questions.

A Peer Interview Matrix contains the behavior-based questions and the peer team records scores and notes on the matrix. The peer team includes recommendation to hire decision on the matrix following the interview. In most organizations, this information is sent to HR as the final step in the full interview process. The leader also reviews the peer team’s feedback and signs off on the final decision to hire.

Ultimately, taking part in the hiring process makes employees a vital part in the company’s growth, empowering employees to support the goals of the organization. In assigning peers for this process, leaders show confidence in the skills and experience of these team members. Another positive outcome is the sense of ownership employees have in the organization and investment in the success of the new team member


Select a Peer Interview Team

Leaders select team members who reflect the organization’s values at the highest levels. These team members are often also selected because they will directly support or collaborate with the new hire.

Train Selected Peers

Once selected, convey to the team a clear understanding of the job, the process, and the team’s role in the selection process.

Peer team are trained on:

  • Best practices (ex. Always begin introduction with AIDET® to relieve candidate anxiety)
  • Use of the interview matrix
  • Questions to avoid
  • Confidentiality
  • How to look for response evidence that reflects values.
Behavioral Questions  

Prepare behavior-based peer interview questions to include on the peer interview matrix.

Conduct Peer Interview

Conduct peer interview, recording evidence of alignment to values, position requirements, and scores on matrix.

Peers Provide Feedback

Peer interview feedback and recommendations are sent to HR and leader for final decision to hire.

Get a team together

If your organization doesn’t have a peer interview team, determine how you can start assembling the right team for your next hiring process. If you have a team in place, consider adding new tools to make the process  a smooth success.

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