Employment Process Manual, Conducting the Interview
Voting members of a search committee must attend and participate in all interviews conducted by the committee. The employment interview should take place in a comfortable, relaxed environment to facilitate the flow of information. There should be no interruptions during the interview. Objective, job related interview notes may be recorded and should be retained in the event that the hiring decision is challenged at a later date.
A format for conducting the interview is an important tool if an interviewer is to achieve the desired objectives. Most interviews can be divided into five sections.
- Establish trust and open communication.
- Stay away from comments or questions of a personal nature (e.g. questions about children, spouse, church).
- Although it may seem friendly and natural to ask if the applicant has children, this approach could be misinterpreted and could result in a charge of discrimination.
Outline the interview format for the applicant.
- Provide an oral outline of what will take place during the interview to reduce the applicant's anxiety and to help maintain control.
- An outline also helps ensure that the interview follows the same format and includes the same questions for each applicant.
- For example, you might tell the applicant that each member of the search committee will ask a question and appropriate follow up questions.
- During the next stage of the interview, you will provide a brief explanation of the job and will provide some background information about the college and the department.
- Following that, the applicant will have the opportunity to ask questions.
- Begin with questions that the applicant should be able to answer positively and easily (such as providing a summary of the strengths the applicant will bring to the job).
- Ask all applicants the same structured set of questions.
- Be prepared to follow up the applicant's responses with additional questions designed to clarify individual answers.
- Ask questions that require comment.
- Explore the applicant's qualifications, work experience, education/training, skills, relationships with supervisors and peers, and reasons for leaving previous jobs.
Discuss the job, the department and the college.
- Describe the job in greater detail by giving the applicant a realistic job profile.
- Let the applicant know what he/she can expect if selected.
- Describe the organization's structure, what it does and what the opportunities are for advancement (without promises).
- When appropriate (possibly prior to or during the second interview), briefly discuss pay and employment benefits or let the applicant know whom to contact for that information.
- Allow the applicant a chance to ask questions.
Close the interview.
- Give a brief summary of what has taken place and what will happen next with regard to follow up, another interview or an estimated time when a decision will be made.
- Do not make a commitment regarding job placement or the recommendation you will make regarding their hire.
- Detail the next steps to be taken, and express appreciation for the applicant's interest and time.