Human Resources

Recruitment Phase

Interview

In an interview, we learn about a job candidate and the candidate learns about us.

  • The first step in narrowing your pool is reviewing resumes. Don’t review resumes alone; have your recruiter or someone else from the search committee help you.
  • Phone screens are an essential and efficient method of deciding who you would like to bring to campus.
  • It’s a good idea to conduct on-campus interviews in two rounds. Ideally, you’ll interview six to eight candidates in your first round, inviting two back for the final round.
  • Coworkers should take part in interviews. The more perspectives, the better.

Resume Review

Resume review is the first step in the process when you and at least one other person sort resumes based on your Top 10 characteristics. It’s all too easy to “fall in love with a resume” because of one or two attributes that may not even be in your Top 10, e.g. attending a liberal arts college, working at a competitor, or having a background similar to yours. It is important to be cognizant of your own biases at this stage so that you can defeat bias that is counterproductive to selecting the best resumes.

Phone Screens

Speaking on the phone with candidates before you invite them to campus is essential. You may conduct phone screens individually as candidates apply or conduct them all at once over a one or two day period. A phone screen is a 20-minute conversation in which you

  • hear the candidate speak aloud about why they want this position at Reed;
  • verify that the starting salary is acceptable to the candidate;
  • verify that the candidate is available to start when you want;
  • verify that you understand all the roles on their resume and why the candidate left each position;
  • tell the candidate a little about the job and increase their interest in the role;
  • allow the candidate to ask a few questions;
  • explain the next steps in the selection process.

Here is a sample phone screen outline. You are encouraged to type or write notes while you’re speaking with each candidate. You’ll typically conduct 10 to 15 phone screens per recruitment. Ideally, you’ll have the first-round interviews planned in advance, so if your phone screen is going well, you can invite the candidate on the spot.

First-Round Interviews

First-round interviews are your first chance to meet a candidate in person or online via Skype. It is at this step that you begin to collect evidence of the candidate’s Top 10 skills. Typically, you and one other member of the search committee will conduct these 45-minute, in-person interviews, and typically you’ll meet with six to eight candidates over a one or two day period.

Select three or four of your Top 10 characteristics and design interview questions to determine if the candidate possesses those skills. You are encouraged to ask behavior-based interview questions, which are predicated on the notion that a person’s past behavior is the best predictor of their future behavior. Behavior-based questions, such as “Tell me about a time when you solved a problem that no one asked you to solve,” stand in contrast to hypothetical questions, which often provide less evidence that a person possesses a skill.

Here is more information about the behavior-based interview technique, a list of sample questions, as well as interview questions for supervisors that can be used at either the first or second round interview.

Second-Round Interviews

After first rounds, you’ll select your top two (or sometimes three) candidates to invite for a second, or final, round interview. The second-round interview is much more comprehensive and its purpose is to collect detailed evidence of each of the Top 10 characteristics. This interview is critical to the candidate, too, as it provides a deeper understanding of the position, the people, and the challenges. Staff and faculty who work closely with this position should participate in second round interviews, not just members of the search committee.

A second-round interview day includes the opportunity to interact with the candidate in different settings such as one-on-one interviews, group interviews, a walking tour of campus, and lunch or coffee with coworkers. Here is a sample interview schedule.

The hiring manager’s challenge during this step is organizing your interviewers so that interviewers are well-prepared and questions are coordinated. There should be some planned overlap, as more than one interviewer should cover each of the Top 10. You will invite your interviewers to coordinate their questions by collaborating on a Google doc.

Here are some other tips:

  • Put your candidate at ease during the interview. All of us perform best under less stress, and we want to see the candidate at their best. Phone the candidates ahead of time to talk about what they should expect during the final interview day. Email a schedule ahead of time, even if it’s not final.
  • Don’t be surprised if you are also feeling anxious about interviewing. This is a high-stakes decision that you're making.
  • Allow time at the end of each interview for the candidate to ask questions. A candidate’s questions are illustrative of their understanding of the position.
  • No more than five in a group interview. Interviewers need to be directly engaged in the conversation, otherwise they are spectators. If you need to, add additional interviews to the schedule.
  • Meet with your candidates for an exit interview at the end of the day to see what they learned, to hear their questions, and to explain next steps.
  • Ask only job related questions. It is inappropriate to ask questions that would elicit information about race, color, sex, religion, national origin/ethnicity, birthplace, age, disability, marital/family status or pregnancy. Should you obtain this information, it is against the law to use it in your decision.

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