How to Hire for a Democratic Company

Q: How should I set up our company’s application and interview methods to ensure I employ the most value driven, hard working and qualified individuals?

A: AIESEC, a Netherlands-based company, is the world’s largest student business organization. AIESEC has locations in 107 countries and has been in existence for 61 years, making selection for a leadership position within AIESEC International a rigorous process.

Each candidate for AIESEC Interntional’s core leadership team must create a video, complete an application, present to an audience of stakeholders from over 100 countries, and participate in an interview with alumni and experts. The applicant must clearly understand and articulate his or her purpose, values, and ability to contribute to the organization’s advancement in order to be chosen for the team.

The selection process prepares the successful candidate for leadership within the organization: When AIESEC initiates its semi-annual planning process, the staff members create cross-organizational forums with people from different departments to discuss how AIESEC might perform better as an organization and become more sustainable. The forums are flexible and vary in time, which gives the chance for everyone to contribute, share impressions, and learn from each other. Decision-making power rotates throughout the staff members in order to share authority in an egalitarian manner.

“Our team has 22 young individuals from 16 different countries or territories with an impressive record of past results," says President Juan Cajiao. "Such diversity of talent, as well as the our global scope of operations, requires a management style that enables an environment in which each individual is included and stimulated to identify growth opportunities and lead positive change processes. The principles of democracy are a great way to make sure we reach our maximum potential as individuals and as a team.”

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