Interviews can be nerve-wracking, and when nerves are involved, things don’t always go as planned. This is why implementing an interview checklist can keep both your interviewers and your candidates on track during the process. In the same way that pilots use pre-flight checklists to ensure they haven’t forgotten anything important, we’ve put together a checklist to help you make the most of your time with candidates.

Hiring teams, prepare for take-off…

Pre-Interview
For the Talent Acquisition Team & Hiring Manager


1.) Write a worthy job description. Working hand in hand with the hiring manager, we recommend thinking about what you want the individual in the role to achieve within the first twelve months and then basing the job description around that. It’s important to find a balance between having a candidate understand your company while keeping it concise enough that it’s focused on deliverables and tangible results. So, what should you include when writing a job description? Here’s a quick rundown...

  • Title - outline the job title, where it will be based, and sell it!

  • Who You Are - about your organization and why someone would choose your company over another (purpose, values, etc.)

  • The Role - the main purpose of the role and how it fits within the team and the wider business

  • Their Responsibilities - provide more detail about what they will be doing and use strong verbs to generate excitement and promise

  • About Them - explain what you’re looking for in your ideal candidate from both a technical and interpersonal perspective

Check out LinkedIn’s job description templates for some inspiration!

2.) Create a structured process. This would include what each stage entails for the candidate - from the initial phone screen to the number of in-person or virtual interviews required, what skills are going to be tested for within those interviews, and any skills assessments. Each step of the process should be identical for each candidate to ensure an equitable, unbiased hiring decision is made.

3.) Assemble the hiring team. Deciding which team members will be interviewing candidates and at which stage is key to success throughout the hiring process. Hold a kickoff meeting with this team to review the skills you’ll be using to evaluate all candidates and then assign interview questions for each stage. This way candidates aren’t repeatedly asked the same questions over and over again.

4.) Prepare interview questions. Think through skills-based questions to show how a candidate has behaved in situations similar to those they will face at your company and share them with your hiring team. Once again, make sure each candidate is treated equally by using the same questions within each interview. Not sure where to start here? Check out our E-book on 200+ value-based interview questions that will get you the right candidate.

5.) Create email templates. Ideally, you should be creating email templates and sending them to candidates throughout the hiring process. For starters, we recommend the following:

  • Once a candidate’s application has been received

  • Scheduling an interview

  • Post-interview feedback or outcome (this is a candidates biggest area of frustration in the interview process, so clear, thoughtful feedback will help you stand out)

Providing candidates with timely and regular communication provides a positive experience (and fewer bad reviews on your interview process).

Day of Interview
For Your Interviewers

1.) Prepare for and conduct the interview. The most important part to uncovering whether the candidate is capable of doing the job is the interview itself! Make sure you review the candidate’s resume prior to the interview and know what questions you’re going to ask. If an interviewer shows up to an interview unprepared, the candidate will know and will not get as good of an experience as they are getting with the other roles they’re interviewing for (remember you are competing for talent)! Check out Pillar’s app, which brings the most essential elements of interviewing right into your Zoom or Microsoft Teams window with in-interview feedback and question guidance.

2.) Show up on time. You expect candidates to be on time, so you should also respect their time by being punctual.

3.) Answer candidate questions. Make sure that you’re prepared to answer any likely questions that the candidate may have for you pertaining to the role and your company. After all, you are the face of your company for the candidate, so it’s your job to sell them on the role. If a question comes up that you’re unsure how to answer, follow up with the appropriate parties after the interview.

4.) Provide immediate, skills-focused feedback. We recommend using a scoring system, like Pillar’s, that grades candidates’ responses to each question rather than sending 3-4 bullet points of vague feedback over Slack or email. Keep in mind that you should score candidates during the interview or immediately after while your memory is fresh and before unconscious bias starts to creep in. Ensure that you provide feedback based on the required skills outlined in the job description rather than a general feeling about the candidate. We all tend to have biases around the candidate we had the best small talk with or who we’re most similar to, but it’s their skills that are going to decide how successful they will be in the role.


Post-Interview
For the Talent Acquisition Team & Hiring Manager


1.) Review candidate scorecards. Once the interviewing period is complete, comparing candidates against the skill requirements set during the job description stage will ensure that your decision is based on data, not subjective opinion. In fact, Pillar automatically creates post-interview highlights of skills-based questions so you can easily compare candidates back to back, distinguishing the best person for the job.

2.) Check references. Once you’ve narrowed your list down, reference checks can confirm your perception of the candidate. If there were any doubts about a certain skill throughout the interview process, the reference check is a great way to gather more information from different perspectives.

3.) Inform candidates of your decision. Here comes the fun part - making an offer! However, remember that you also need to give thoughtful feedback to those who weren’t successful throughout the process. You should have a feedback process in place and be able to answer any questions of those who didn’t make the cut and how they might be able to improve their future chances. You still want rejected candidates to think highly of your organization.

Following this checklist will ensure that each candidate goes through a similar process and is evaluated on the same criteria, which is key to reducing unconscious bias. This allows you to provide a positive candidate experience and leads to more confident and informed hiring decisions.

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