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Queen's University

Conducting the Interview

Download Sample Candidate Assessment Form (49 KB)...

Before the Interview

Hiring Tip
As a representative of the University, strive to provide all candidates with a favourable impression.

Once the applications have been reviewed and evaluated using the previously established list of job-related selection criteria, the selected candidates should be contacted and invited to an interview and, if appropriate, for practical testing. In addition to providing the location of the interview and the date and time, candidates should be advised of the name of the interviewer(s) and any information or material they will be required to bring to the interview. During this phase as well as the later interviewing phase of the process, it is important, as a representative of the University, to strive to create a favourable impression.

Hiring Tip
Prior to interviewing, review applications, resumés and other related material, noting areas requiring clarification.

Once interviews have been arranged with the selected candidates, review the job advertisement, the Position Summary and interviewees’ resumés (Make note of any areas of concern in the resumés). A review of the information in this Guide is also recommended.

Before commencing the interview, review the following questions:

  • Am I thoroughly familiar with the criteria being sought in the applicant?
  • Are these criteria both job-related and realistic?
  • Can I clearly communicate the duties and responsibilities of this position to applicants?
  • Am I prepared to provide additional relevant information about the job and the University to applicants?

The interview is normally comprised of three main parts: the opening or rapport-building phase; the body of the interview and exchange-of-information phase; and the closure of the interview.

Opening the Interview

Hiring Tip
Take time at the opening of the interview to ensure that the candidate is comfortable.

If there is more than one interviewer, the chair of the selection committee should open the interview, introduce all members, and explain each member’s role. During the opening of the interview, take time to ensure that the candidate is made to feel at ease. Comfortable seating arrangements and amenities such as providing a glass of water will encourage the applicant's ease and promote an environment conducive to a fluent exchange of information. Good eye contact and offering verbal reinforcement when appropriate will also help establish a good rapport with the candidate.

Next, go over the interview format with the candidate. This way, the candidate will know what to expect.

  • Mention topics that will be covered and the approximate duration of the interview.
  • Explain that the candidate will have the opportunity to ask questions at the end of the interview.
  • Advise the candidate that some notes will be taken during the interview in order to ensure an effective evaluation (These notes are particularly important when many candidates are being interviewed and when final hiring decisions are challenged).

Exchanging Information

Hiring Tip
Ask open-ended questions that will encourage candidate communication.

The information exchange stage constitutes the bulk of the interview. During this time, the interviewer(s) will have the opportunity to ask the list of pre-determined questions to assess whether the candidate’s qualifications match the job requirements. One suggested format for listing the interview questions is included in the Sample Candidate Assessment Form above.

Remember to ask the same pre-determined questions of all candidates. This will encourage an equal opportunity for each of the candidates.

After all questions have been presented and answered, provide the candidate with information not covered during the question period (work environment, overtime or travel required, normal working hours, etc.).

Candidates should then have the opportunity to ask questions. Keep in mind that a candidate’s questions may reflect their level of interest in the position. However, there may be other reasons for the candidate's lack of questions. For instance, it may be that the interviewee is nervous, or that their questions may have already been addressed.

Closing the Interview

Thank the candidate for attending. State approximately when the decision will be made, and stress to the candidate that he or she will be advised of the decision as soon as possible. If arrangements were previously made to administered practical testing, the applicant may have been scheduled to complete the test at this point in the process, if not earlier in the competition.

Evaluating the Candidates

Hiring Tip
Use the pre-determined selection criteria to assess and determine the short list of candidates. Assess each candidate immediately after each interview.

Assess the candidates immediately after the interviews. This is particularly important when there have been a number of interviews. The previously established selection criteria should be the basis for assessing the candidate’s suitability for the position. Many interviewers prefer a format similar to that illustrated in the Sample Candidate Assessment Form. In this format, the interview questions, based on each of the job criteria, are included as part of the Candidate Assessment Form which provides a section for written comments, judgments and assessments.

Hiring Tip
Avoid making hasty judgments and jumping to conclusions.

Second interviews may be required for selected candidates in order to clarify some of the candidates' qualifications.

Queen's Human Resources
Fleming Hall, Stewart-Pollock Wing
Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6.
T: 613.533.2070 | F: 613.533.6196