You can move through the interview process much more efficiently if you plan ahead. Follow the steps below to ensure a smooth ride toward hiring your next employee.
Establish a Committee Accordion Open
Committees should have a minimum of three people, which includes one female and/or a member of a minority group to give your committee a more diverse perspective.
The committee members should:
- Possess knowledge to evaluate the candidates and understand the importance and value of a culturally diverse campus.
- Select one person to serve as the chair/contact person for your committee. This will be the point person who coordinates the hiring process for the committee.
- Ensure all materials are collected and organized for submission to Human Resources.
*Reminder: You must enter the committee members’ names, job titles, and departments on the HireSmart! Checklist.
Create a Matrix Accordion Closed
The matrix is to determine which applicants meet the minimum qualifications and who has the most relevant job experience, helping to identify the candidates who should be interviewed. It should be used by the committee to screen the applicants’ application materials and rank them according to the requirements of the job. The committee chair or their designee should screen applications for minimum qualifications. It is recommended that another person review the applications for those who did not meet the minimum qualifications to double-check. If there is a dispute about whether an applicant meets the minimum qualifications, it is best to err on the side of caution and include them in the matrix. It is not required for all committee members to screen for minimum qualifications.
Matrix categories should:
- Correspond to the job posting/description that was posted, including the job duties and the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to successfully perform the job.
- Be easily determined/measured from application materials. Some items, such as the amount of experience working with culturally diverse populations, can be difficult to determine from application materials. This should be addressed in the interview via interview questions where it can be more easily determined.
- Have defined minimum and preferred qualifications. When minimum or preferred qualifications are general and subject to multiple interpretations, such as “demonstrated ability to prioritize tasks”, submit materials that include evidence of a dialogue by search committee members for the kinds of experience, training or other job-related attributes that are relevant to each of the general applications.
- Weighting criteria. Are some aspects of the job more critical than others and is that clear in the job descriptions? During the scoring, consider making those criteria worth more by assigning more available points. Be certain that the weighting technique is defendable.
- Do the committee members understand the matrix system? Have committee members discuss the matrix scoring in advance. This will help them understand what earns a candidate a “3” instead of a “5” and will lead to more consistency in the process.
- Discuss what is necessary to be successful in the position and the matrix scoring that aligns with that with the committee in advance to eliminate confusion and prevent any inconsistencies in the process.
- Consider a separate matrix for minimum qualifications in order to better document decisions. This especially helps in equivalencies; for example, a candidate doesn’t have a Bachelor’s degree, but does have an Associate’s degree and other experience.
Evaluating Minimum Qualifications:
- If there is a question of whether an applicant meets the minimum qualifications, it is always best to err on the side of caution and let the applicant meet the minimum qualifications. In this type of a case, the applicant most likely would not score high on the matrix.
- The first box on any matrix should be an assessment of whether or not the applicant meets the minimum qualifications for the position. This should be a “yes” or “no” answer and not have any numerical point value assigned.
- Do minimum qualifications match job posting? Applicants can only be scored on the minimum qualifications that have been listed for the job position.
- When evaluating minimums, consider all relevant experience the candidate may have.
- If the applicant does not meet the minimum qualifications, the application does not have to be scored on the matrix.
*Reminder: You must submit the matrices with the HireSmart! Checklist.
Develop an Interview Plan Accordion Closed
To ensure the interview goes smoothly and comfortably for the committee members and applicants, the best practice is to have an outlined agenda and thoughtful, established interview questions that are relevant to the job you are filling. Use your committee to develop the agenda and review the questions. Gaining the unique perspective of each committee member can help you develop a well-rounded interview experience. It also can help you have a prepared and engaged committee to assist you in presenting a consistent and professional image to your candidates.
Preparing an Interview Agenda
Create an agenda for the interviews. The interview method and agenda must be consistent for all candidates interviewed. Interviews may be conducted on campus, at an alternative location or via telephone; however:
- If you are conducting only one interview, the interview must be in person and cannot be on the telephone.
- If you are doing two sets of interviews (a first interview and a second interview), consider having your first set of interviews via telephone. This allows your committee to hear the candidate’s phone presence, and allows you to interview more individuals if you would like to. Phone interviews can be 20-30 minutes in length. Make sure that you follow your phone interviews with in-person interviews with your top candidate(s).
Skype is a great tool to use for interviews as well. If you have a candidate who cannot come for an in-person interview, consider conducting a Skype interview instead.
Preparing Interview Questions
Sample interview questions have been provided on our website for your convenience.
The interview questions must:
- Be appropriately grounded in job-related criteria based on position announcement.
- Address commitment to diversity, assess the candidates’ abilities to hold a safety/security sensitive position (if applicable), must not contain language that may be reasonably interpreted as discriminatory and should not ask candidate to reveal non-job-related information such as age, marital status, family status, etc. Click here for more information on questions including sample questions.
- Include asking candidate for permission to contact listed references and others who may be familiar with the candidate’s work.
- You may ask a candidate clarifying questions regarding missing data, gaps or overlaps in employment history, reasons for leaving previous jobs. Be sure to look for contradictions, in responsibilities, employment dates, skills, etc.
- Allow for the candidate to ask the committee questions.
What not to ask:
There are six main interview question topics that trigger lawsuits – also known as The Big Six. The Big Six deal with disability, age, gender, national origin, race and religion. Use the job requirements from your job description to frame your interview questions, which should yield the answers that you need to make an informed hiring decision.
- Disability – Contact the Equity and Access Office for guidance.
- Age – You may not ask a candidate how old they are or even a question about when they went to college.
- Gender Bias/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity – Stay away from questions such as “Are you married?”, “Do you have kids?” or “Are you planning a family?”
- National Origin – Prior to hiring an individual, do not ask questions about their right to work in the United States or for proof of work authorization.
- Race – Do not comment on someone’s name, skin, eye color, hair color, dress or jewelry. It might seem innocent enough to try to make small talk before or after an interview – but talking about the weather or the job is best!
- Religion – Do not ask questions about an applicant’s religious faith, denomination, or affiliation.
Remember, you may only probe about behavior, knowledge and the ability to perform the job.
*Reminder: You must list all applicants on the HireSmart! Checklist and indicate the interview dates, if hired or not, if met minimum qualifications or not, and indicate whether the applicant withdrew pre-offer or post-offer.