Interviews can be stressful for everyone involved. Candidates and interviewers alike understand that they are being evaluated, want to make a good first impression, and want to ensure they make the right decision. On top of that, you know that a stellar candidate experience is crucial to recruiting top talent now, and in the future. If you want to ensure smooth sailing for you and your candidates, create a repeatable process and follow it as much as possible. We’ve created a sample interview checklist for employers below, so you can take or leave what you’d like.
Interview Checklist for Employers
Pre-Interview or before the interview
- Create a (semi) structured interview process. This may include a phone screen, onsite interview, skill assessment, and informal lunch. Each step of the process should be nearly identical for each candidate, so you are evaluating them all on the same interview criteria.
- Develop behavioral interview questions that will assess skill and culture fit. These questions are designed to show hiring managers how a candidate has behaved in situations similar to what they’d face at your company. Again, asking each candidates the same questions allows you to assess them more fairly.
- Hold a kickoff meeting with the hiring manager and interviewers to review the skills and values you’ll use to evaluate all candidates. Assign interview questions so interviewers know what to ask, and so candidates aren’t repeatedly asked the same questions.
- Hold interviewer training, and cover interviewing at large, bias training, and illegal interview questions. Interviewing isn’t second-nature to everyone, so this is an important step toward creating a solid candidate experience.
- Send the candidate an interview confirmation email, including all the logistical information they might need. You want your candidates to come to your interview relaxed, not frantic because they had a difficult time finding your office.
The day of the interview
- Make sure someone is available to greet the candidate as soon as they arrive. Offer the candidate a beverage, and maybe a snack (if you have some in your office).
- Make sure interviewers arrive on time, and have reviewed the candidate’s resume just before the interview. Consider blocking off time on your interviewer’s calendars for the resume review, interview, and feedback so they can plan their day accordingly.
- At the end of the interview, let the candidate know when they can expect to hear back from you. Follow through with that promise, even if it’s just to tell them you need a little more time to make a decision.
After the interview
- Gather interviewer feedback through your interview evaluation form while it’s still fresh in their minds. It’s important that they provide detail around why they think a candidate would, or would not, be a good fit.
- Hold a download meeting to discuss feedback as a group, and to make a hiring decision. A single interviewer’s feedback may change in the context of the candidate’s conversations with other interviewers. After individual feedback is collected, this step may help provide a more well-rounded view of the candidate.
- Let candidates know of your decision as soon as possible. This will help you close your top-choice candidates, and ensure that rejected candidates will still think highly of your organization.
- Collect interview feedback from candidates, and implement important changes to continually improve your interview experience.
Following this hiring interview checklist will ensure that each candidate goes through the same process, and is evaluated on the same criteria. This, in turn, allows you to provide a more consistently positive candidate experience, and helps you make better decisions. Of course, you may need to deviate from time to time for important reasons, such as to accommodate an in-demand candidate who has received another job offer. If that’s the case, keep as much of your process intact as you can, eliminating only what’s absolutely necessary.
Learn more tips to improve your job interview process by downloading our eBook Top Interview Tips: The Employer’s Essential Handbook.