Interviewing & Selection
A seamless and efficient interview and selection process takes planning, but it’s imperative in providing an exceptional candidate experience that is as free from biases as possible.
Forming a diverse and informed search committee is imperative in getting a well-rounded assessment of candidates. Consider these tips while forming your search committee:
- Think about the diversity of tenure, level, age, gender, ethnicity, experiences, etc., of the hiring panel, so all thoughts and perspectives are considered in assessing candidates during the interviewing stage. Diverse hiring committees help in fairly assessing candidates and showcases our diversity and inclusive environment at Stanford.
- Ensure all search committee members have read the job description, understand the job's competencies, and are given candidates' resumes in advance to prepare their interview adequately.
- Hold a pre-interview meeting: Be prepared by having everyone ask a different set of questions. Questions should be shared with and approved by the local HR Team before the interview. Ask a mix of technical questions and behavioral questions to gauge that the candidate can successfully perform the job and ensure that the candidate will succeed in Stanford's environment.
- Hold a post-interview meeting; get feedback as soon as possible from your interview panel (ideally within 24 hours). Meet simultaneously to talk about their evaluations and determine the final candidate (and runner up if applicable).
- Include important stakeholders in the hiring committee. For example, if it's a Student Services position, ask a student to be a part of the hiring committee.
- Utilize the search committee during the offer stage by asking them to congratulate the offeree and offer to answer any questions the offeree has.
See the subsequent section on interviewing to ensure the search committee provides a helpful, consistent, and bias-free evaluation of all applicants.
Hiring Managers or HR personnel can export resume books and candidate application lists in Taleo to review application materials.
Regardless of the hiring process stage (i.e., resume review; interviewing), it's important to assess candidates' competencies related to the job duties. We suggest using a numerical rating chart with competencies to ensure candidates' assessment is free from biases. A sample candidate evaluation form is available below, under interviewing resources.
During the interview, you will evaluate information about the candidate's knowledge, skills, abilities, past work experience, and motivational factors to determine the best-qualified candidate.
Define the core competencies by determining the hard and soft skills the candidate needs to have to be successful in the position. As a start, review Stanford’s core competencies and consider which to incorporate, in addition to competencies for your department and the position itself. Once you have determined the competencies, there are many online resources to help create your behavioral interview questions to effectively evaluate candidates against these competencies. If you would like sample interview questions for Stanford’s 9 core competencies, please ask your HR Manager who can access these on the HRM Toolkit
Effectively prepare for the interview by reviewing competencies and behavioral interview questions specific to your open requisition. Review these tools and guidelines to help you throughout the process:
- Legal considerations: What you can and cannot ask during an interview.
- Sample email confirmation and agenda for a candidate and include our Benefits Flyer (for benefits-eligible positions)
- Interview best practices
Reference Checking & Personnel Files
Complete reference checks on the final candidate: Obtain consent from the candidate to conduct the references and ask only employment-related questions. Stanford requires two completed reference checks, however, request three in the event one is hard to reach. One reference should be from a current or former supervisor, but two is strongly preferred; all references should speak to the candidate's previous work performance. Below are a few tools and tips to help with reference checking:
- Reference Check Guidelines: best practices and tips for conducting successful reference checks
- Reference Check Template: customize (add, delete, or edit) reference check questions as needed to ensure the relevance to the competencies for the position
- Checkster: Automated Reference Checking. University Human Resources (UHR) is now sponsoring a Stanford-wide contract with Checkster, an automated reference checking system for staff-level hiring, and welcomes any school or unit interested in improving process efficiency around reference checking to participate at no cost to your school or unit. To learn more about the process and benefits of Checkster, please watch a short 4-minute training video. For additional information and to get started using Checkster, contact Stephanie Nhem, Talent Acquisition Program Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Personnel Files: If the final candidate is a current or former Stanford employee, contact the local HR Team to review their personnel file in addition to checking references.
For benefits-eligible positions, use the Benefits Highlights flyer to send as an email attachment to your candidate, sharing that you want to ensure they are informed about key components of the total compensation package offered to Stanford staff members. In addition, there is a Rental Guide from Faculty Staff Housing that identifies housing programs.