Application Review and Interviewing

Once you have a robust and diverse applicant pool, it is important to find the right candidate for your positions based on their knowledge, skills, and abilities for the role. The following sections include questions and recommendations to consider as you prepare to review applications and interview candidates for your jobs and internships.

Application Review

  • Before beginning application review, create a scoring rubric based on the knowledge, skills, and abilities listed in the job description. Do not include categories on your rubric for which information is not available in an applicant’s materials.
  • View a sample rubric here.
  • Some criteria are easier to discern in an interview rather than a written application – plan accordingly.
  • Encourage all reviewers to think through their biases and how that may affect their scoring. We all have bias, both positive and negative, which influences our perception of the world.
  • Including multiple reviewers can help alleviate individual bias in decision making.
  • When possible, remove identifying information from applications (like names, schools, college majors, etc.) to avoid any potential bias about these aspects of an applicant’s identity.

Interviewing

  • Before beginning interviews, create a scoring rubric based on the knowledge, skills, and abilities listed in the position description.
  • View a sample rubric here.
  • Ask standard, fair questions to all candidates that avoid bias and discrimination in your interviews. Focus on the knowledge, skills, and abilities for the role and ask questions to help assess a candidate’s aptitude in these areas.
  • Utilize behavioral questions (“tell me about a time when…”) instead of hypothetical scenarios when possible. Reviewers often have a “right” answer in mind for hypotheticals and ignore plausible alternatives.
  • Consider using live-action scenarios in interviews to assess a specific skill. This can help level the playing field for candidates who do, or do not, “interview well.”
  • If you are conducting virtual interviews, be flexible on a candidate’s ability to display their video (or have access to technology in the first place). Not all of us have access to a quiet, private space with a good internet connection.
  • If asked during Q&A, be honest with candidates about your organizational makeup, culture, and work towards diversity, equity, and inclusion. Allow candidates to decide for themselves if your organization and the role are a good option for them given accurate information about what their experience may be like.

Scoring Applications and Interviews

  • Clearly define what your rubric scores mean for all reviewers. What is the difference between a 1, 2, or 3 in a given category? How will you know?
  • Base your scoring on evidence in a candidate’s application. Do not make assumptions about their experience given what is, or isn’t, provided by the candidate.
  • Do not hire based on “cultural fit” as it unfairly advantages candidates similar to the current culture. Hire for candidates that are a culture-add, or value-add to your organization. Cultural fit hiring is biased and should be avoided in assessing candidates for a role.

Final Selection

  • Avoid prematurely labeling any candidate in the review process as “most promising” as this will bias your assessment of them, and others, moving forward.
  • Debrief as a search committee, compare notes, and identify strengths and weaknesses for all candidates. Do this for ALL candidates, not just who you believe will be hired.
  • The candidate with the highest score from your rubrics is not necessarily the candidate you should choose. Application and interview scoring is one measurement in your decision-making process. There may be aspects of a candidates strengths that were not captured by your scoring rubrics but should still be considered in who you hire.
  • Inform all applicants, even those who were not interviewed, about their application status once a hire has been made.