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Interviewing & Selection

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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.

Interview Teams

Forming a diverse and informed interview team is imperative in getting a well-rounded assessment of candidates. Consider these tips while forming your interview team:

  • Think about the diversity of tenure, level, age, gender, ethnicity, experiences, etc., of the interview team so that multiple thoughts and perspectives are considered in assessing candidates during the interviewing stage. Diverse interview teams help in fairly assessing candidates and showcase our diverse, inclusive environment at Stanford.
  • Ensure all interview team 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 assigning questions to each member of the interview team. 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. All candidates should be asked the same questions.
  • Hold a post-interview meeting; get feedback as soon as possible from your interview team (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 interview team. For example, if you are hiring for a highly cross-functional role, consider asking  stakeholders from other departments who will collaborate with this role  to be a part of the interview team.
  • Utilize the interview team 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 interview team provides a helpful and consistent evaluation of all applicants that mitigates bias as much as possible.
Candidate Review

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 under “Interviewing Resources”—view the guide for leading an interview process that supports fairness and diversity.


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.

Competencies & interview questions

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. Competency-based interviews help to provide more objectivity to the interview process by probing for specific job-related examples and greater clarity into the skills and abilities candidates may bring to the position. 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.

Visit the interview question library to search for questions to use with candidates. Competency-based interviews help to provide more objectivity to the interview process by probing for specific job-related examples and greater clarity into the skills and abilities candidates may bring to the position. The interview question library is a compilation of competency-based questions sourced and reviewed over time, including questions from external resources as well as recruiters and managers at Stanford. New questions can be submitted and the library is a "living" resource, which means the questions will be updated on a continuing basis.

Visit the interview question library

Access to the library: Please note the following details about access to the interview question library.

  • All non-academic managers with at least one direct report and HR professionals with roles in the Human Resources Services job family should have access to the interview question library. 
  • Library access will not be provisioned to schools and units in wave one implementation of the ITA program (Graduate School of Business, School of Engineering, Vice Provost and Dean of Research, Vice Provost for Student Affairs). Access will be provisioned to wave one schools and units by sometime in fall 2023.
  • If a non-academic people manager, an HR professional, or an individual staff contributor from any school or unit (including wave one ITA schools and units) would like access and they were not already provisioned access, they will be able to submit an access request for themselves as well as on behalf of other staff members via a form. If you were not provisioned access to the IQL and would like to request access, please complete this form
  • If a team member from an ITA wave one school/unit is actively working with an ITA recruiter on a requisition, they are asked to refrain from using the IQL until the tool has been updated to include the candidate interview evaluation component. 

Job aids: For assistance navigating the interview question library, please reference the following job aids.

Should you encounter issues with the interview question library or want to provide feedback, please complete this form.

System updates: The interview question library system is periodically updated to enhance the user experience. 

Summary of system updates to date:

September 28, 2023

The system was updated on September 28 with multiple enhancements, including the ability to:

  • Share an interview question template. 
  • Copy an interview question template.
  • Reorder and number interview questions within a template. 
  • Promote ad hoc questions to be suggested to the interview question library. 
  • Maintain a library of your own ad hoc questions. 
  • Export interview question templates in various file types (PDF, CSV, and XLS). 

Additional interviewing resources

Review these tools and guidelines to help you throughout the process:


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 Vicente Marcelo, Talent Acquisition Project Coordinator, at
  • 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.
Benefits Flier

For benefits-eligible positions, use the benefits highlights flier 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.