Conducting the Interview

In this section you will find information on:

  • Interview Scheduling and the Environment
  • Elements of a Good Selection Interview
  • Skills Testing and Certification

Interview Scheduling and the Environment

  • Ideally, schedule the interviews within a week or two of the posting close date
  • Plan for a maximum of six interviews per day; allowing one hour per interview with 10-15 minutes between interviews to debrief and record assessment information 
  • Secure a confidential, professional interview location and ensure there are no interruptions
  • Configure the furniture in the interview room in a way that will enhance dialogue and interaction (e.g. a round table)

Elements of a Good Selection Interview

Opening the Interview – Establishing Rapport

The first step in welcoming the candidate is by engaging in light conversation.  This conversation would include an introduction to the interview panel members, providing a brief description of the interview process, along with the time allotted for each interview.  Informing the candidate on the structure of the interview will provide them with context of what will be expected of them regarding their communication skills and time management. Information is best communicated and obtained when the applicant is informed and relaxed, therefore, a few moments of small-talk to help ease their nerves will help create a comfortable environment for everyone.

It is common the interviewer and candidate are nervous; however, thorough preparation will make a difference for both parties. Also, be careful not to fill silences by talking too much since the aim of the interview is to draw information from the candidate.

During the Interview - Sticking to the Plan

The bulk of the interview will consist of the planned interview questions. Ask probing or follow-up questions when clarification or more information is required from the initial response. Actively listen, observe, avoid leading questions and allow sufficient time for candidates to formulate responses.

Maintain control of the interview and encourage candidates who speak too little to go into further detail and if a candidate talks too much, interject to remain on schedule.

Closing the Interview

Ask the candidate(s) if they have any questions. Keep in mind that the interview is a two-way evaluation process; candidates are entitled to information that will assist them in assessing whether the position and/or department is right for them.

In closing, be sure to outline the timelines for the final selection decision, ask when they would be available to start work, and what their salary expectations are (e.g. where they see themselves fit on the salary scale).  

A list of references should be requested at the end of the interview. Be sure to review the list to ensure that appropriate types of references are included (e.g. no personal references) and to also have the candidate sign the Consent for Collection and Verification of Information.

All interviews require careful preparation if they are to be successful. Each candidate should leave with a sense of being treated respectfully and having had the opportunity to give of their best.

Skills Testing and Certifications

For positions where a specific level of proficiency, technical skill or knowledge is a critical job requirement, candidate testing is encouraged as a means of providing another method of evaluating candidate skills. Testing should be conducted after the interview and all candidates should complete the same exercise.

Departments can request a candidate(s) to provide documentation of certifications or credentials that are required for the position. Examples include a current driving abstract, education credential, financial credit check or a criminal records check.