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Interview Checklist

Employer Resource Guide

Interview Checklist

Tips / Basics


When conducting an interview, remember that you are the “spokesperson” for your organization. The manner in which you interview a candidate becomes their knowledge base for how your organization functions. Remember the Golden Rule - to treat candidates the way you would like to be treated if you were on the other side of your desk, being interviewed. Use the following checklist to enhance your interviewing technique, and secure top talent:

  1. Arrive on time for the interview. Being punctual shows that you and your organization value others’ time.
  2. When meeting the candidate, extend a friendly handshake and greeting, introduce yourself, then ask the candidate to have a seat.
  3. Only have one person interviewing at a time. An interview should be a conversation, not an inquisition. Simultaneous interviewers place unnecessary pressure on the candidate.
  4. Make priority calls, emails, and text messages before the interview starts. Candidates deserve your complete attention, during their allotted time. If you are expecting a call during the interview that you absolutely must take, make the candidate aware of this at the start of the interview.
  5. Review the candidates resume before the interview. Candidates will appreciate that you have taken the time to learn about them, just as you expect that a candidate will have researched your company beforehand.
  6. Make sure you have a comprehensive understanding of the position that the candidate is interviewing for. Know the job description, talk to people who best understand the position, and develop a list of the major responsibilities, and skills needed for the position.
  7. Be organized. Decide on the criteria you will use in your decision making. Make notes of the questions that you want to ask, and follow the same interview format and similar questions for every candidate. You can make a valid comparison of the candidates you’ve interviewed.
  8. Conduct the interview in private. Candidates should be at ease in knowing that their interview is confidential. Your co-workers should not be able to see or hear what is going on in the interview.
  9. Create a positive interviewing climate for both you and the interviewee by arranging seating in a comfortable informal manner.
  10. Remember to be friendly. Build rapport with the candidate right from the start of the interview. Create “small talk” or “ice breakers” to put the interviewee at ease.
  11. Outline the structure of the interview for the candidate, and explain the goals of the interview process.
  12. Explain your role in the organization, and generate the candidate’s interest by factually promoting the position, the organization and how the candidate would benefit.
  13. Ask the right questions. – Use open ended questions such as what, how, and why that probe for detailed responses. Ask candidates to tell you abut real experiences rather than hypothetical ones. For a list of traditional, challenging, behavioral, and illegal questions please refer to our Interview Questions page.
  14. Be a good listener. Exhibit signs of interest such as nodding your head, and maintaining eye contact. Periodically paraphrase the candidate’s answers to reinforce that you are listening. A simple rule to follow is that the interviewer should be listening for 70% of the interview, and talking for 30% of it.
  15. Keep all your questions job related, and avoid discussing personal matters.
  16. Be Positive. Don’t say anything negative about the person who previously held the position, or about the organization.
  17. Close the interview. Answer the candidate’s questions and give a realistic timetable for when you expect to make a hiring decision, or at least what the next step in the process is.
  18. Conduct a post-interview evaluation by reviewing recorded facts and making notes on impressions, and judgments immediately following the interview, while it is still fresh in your mind.
  19. Be Timely. It is in everyone’s best interest to move the interview process along smoothly and rapidly. Commit to deciding within a few days of the interview whether you will advance the candidate to the next step in the process.
  20. Be courteous. Follow up with all candidates, including those that you decide not to move forward with, as a means of providing closure to the interview process.


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