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Interview Preparation Checklists for 3 Key Hiring Stakeholders

The onsite interview is perhaps the most important part of the recruitment process. This is when you really dive into each candidate’s skills and qualifications, and determine whether they’d be a strong addition to your team. However, your interviewers are not the only ones performing an evaluation—your candidates are evaluating your team and your organization as well. Giving each candidate the same, great interview experience will help you keep top-tier talent engaged, while fairly assessing each candidate on an even playing field. With these interview preparation checklists, you’ll be well on your way to doing just that.

Prerequisites

Ideally, the recruiter and hiring manager held a kickoff meeting before sourcing or engaging a single candidate. It’s important to determine the ideal candidate profile, and to develop a structured interview process to evaluate candidates for both skill-fit and culture-fit. You should also have a compensation strategy in place so you are prepared to discuss salary expectations with the candidate early, and avoid wasting anyone’s time.

Interview preparation checklist for recruiters

Typically, someone from the Talent Acquisition or Human Resources teams will orchestrate everything that needs to happen behind-the-scenes to create a strong onsite interview. This may include any, or all, of the following:

  • Work with the hiring manager to select interviewers. It may be beneficial to share interviewer calibration data so your hiring manager can see which interviewer’s feedback most often aligns with hiring decisions.
  • Schedule interviewer training for new interviewers, and cover interviewing at large, illegal interview questions, and unconscious bias training.
  • Schedule the interview, and reserve a space in your office for it, whether it’s a conference room or an office. Make a reservation for a lunch interview, if not onsite.
  • Send the candidate an interview confirmation email and a calendar invitation to give them all the details they could possibly need for their onsite.
  • Send hiring managers and interviewers a calendar invitation for their interview. Block off 15 minutes before the interview to prepare, and 15 minutes after the interview to provide feedback.
  • Work with the hiring manager to develop interview questions.
  • Schedule an interview kickoff meeting with hiring managers and interviewers to align on candidate criteria, assign interview questions, and refresh on interview best practices.
  • (Lever customers) Set up interview kits with questions for each interviewer to ask, and feedback forms.
  • Schedule a post-interview team feedback meeting, and set aside time to contact all candidates afterward. Prepare follow-up emails and an offer letter so they’re ready to go once decisions have been made.
  • Let others in your office know when candidates are interviewing, so they can warmly greet your candidates.
  • Prepare your interview space for each candidate by making sure it’s available, tidying up, and setting out water (or the candidate’s favorite beverage).
  • Be prepared to greet the candidate when they come in, along with the hiring manager.

Interview preparation checklist for hiring managers

While the recruiter is the true expert at crafting a strong interview experience, they still need to collaborate very closely with the hiring manager to make the magic happen. For this reason, there is a lot of overlap in the recruiter and hiring manager interview preparation checklists.

  • Work with the recruiter to select interviewers.
  • (New hiring managers) Attend interview training.
  • Work with recruiter to develop interview questions.
  • Attend the interview kickoff meeting with recruiter and interviewers.
  • Block off time on your calendar before your interview to review the candidate’s resume, the job description, and your assigned interview questions. Block off time afterward to submit interview feedback while it’s fresh in your mind.
  • Block off time on your calendar for the post-interview team feedback meeting, so you can decide which candidate(s) to move forward in the recruitment process.
  • Be prepared to greet your candidate at the scheduled time, along with the recruiter.

Interview preparation checklist for interviewers

Interviewers play a crucial role in providing a strong interview experience, and share many of the same responsibilities found on the hiring manager interview preparation checklist.

  • (New interviewers) Attend interview training.
  • Attend the interview kickoff meeting with recruiter and hiring manager.
  • Block off time on your calendar before your interview to review the candidate’s resume, the job description, and your assigned interview questions. Block off time afterward to submit interview feedback while it’s fresh in your mind.
  • Block off time on your calendar for the post-interview team feedback meeting, so you can provide insight into which candidate(s) to move forward in the recruitment process.
  • Be prepared to meet with candidates at the scheduled time.

Final thoughts

These interview preparation checklists are meant to ensure that each candidate receives the same, yet exemplary, experience. Add or remove steps to fit your organization’s interview process, and follow it each time you decide to bring a candidate in for an onsite interview. Periodically revisit this checklist to incorporate candidate feedback, and optimize your interview process for the best hiring outcomes.

Learn more interview best practices in our eBook:Top Interview Tips: The Employer’s Essential Handbook.

 

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