Engage Your Clients in the Hiring Process

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on May 26, 2011

Hiring a new employee is scary, especially since firing that person can be a major hassle if things don’t work out. If, like most entrepreneurs, you don’t have a human resources manager to help you recruit and interview candidates, why not solicit a few outside opinions by engaging your best customers or clients in the hiring process?

It makes sense, especially if the employee is going to be interacting with the client or customer. Start by narrowing your search to a handful of prospects. Then ask your most trusted client or best customer to spend about a half hour with each of them. Try to set up the meeting in a public, neutral location, such as a coffee shop or cafe. If the candidate isn’t local, schedule a meeting via Skype.

Engaging a valued client in the hiring process has positive benefits. First, it shows you respect and honor their opinion. It also provides you with an independent opinion of your favorite candidates. There is a risk, however, that your client or customer might give your favorite candidate a thumbs-down rating. In that case you can thank them for their input, but explain why you disagree. This shouldn’t be such a problem if you have explained to them up front that though you are asking for their input, the final decision rests with you.

Jane Applegate
President and Executive Producer
The Applegate Group
Sharon, Vt.

Reader Comments

Rick Meyer

May 27, 2011 3:55 PM

This is the most rediculous thing i have ever heard. What if the customer decides to hire them? What input should anyone have in my hiring practices? Even a valuable customer could nix the recruit and then hire them for themselves. I think it is a recipe for disaster and would not recommend this to anyone. This sounds like a liberal idea that does not take into consideration the ramifications of the actions.

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