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Driving Great Results

Oct. 1, 2021
Interviewing And Candidate Selection Checklist Recall the last time you conducted an interview. How prepared were you? What behavioral questions did you ask? What did you write down, and how […]

Interviewing And Candidate Selection Checklist

Recall the last time you conducted an interview.

  • How prepared were you?
  • What behavioral questions did you ask?
  • What did you write down, and how did you score each response?

Reflect on how you have selected a candidate in the past.

  • Did you use objective scoring, or did you go with your gut feeling?
  • Did you know what you wanted in a candidate prior to the final selection?
  • How will you use this checklist tool to change your approach to interviewing and selecting candidates?

Consider a time when  you thought you had hired the perfect candidate, only to have the person fail to meet your expectations.

  • Did the person know what was expected of them?
  • What have you don differently since this experience?

Tool #2: Interviewing And Candidate Selection Checklist

The process of interviewing and hiring people is as important as anything else in  your business, and must be given the attention it deserves.

As an authentic leader, you know it is too important not to, especially when considering the costs of training and retaining your best employees.

This interviewing and candidate selection checklist brings some structure and objectivity to your interviewing and candidate selection process to ensure that the tight people are hired to match the needs of  your business.

How Does It Work?

The checklist is divided into 3 sections:

1. Pre-Interview
2. During Interview
3. Post-Interview and Candidate Selection

1. Pre-Interview
These are the preparation activities necessary to initially screen candidates and decide which candidates may go through the formal interview process. This phase includes writing the job description, defining your hiring criteria, setting the salary, screening resumes, and having candidates complete behavioral assessments.

2. During Interview
These are the key points to help you stay on task and ask behavioral-based questions. This section includes a greeting, types of questions and responses, and interview wrap-up.

Structure your questions and seek behavioral examples from the candidate in the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) format:


Situation: Description of the situation or event.
Task: What needed to be done?
Action: Specific actions taken to resolve the situation.
Result: What happened as a result of the actions?

Dig deep, where needed, to get a detailed response. 

Score the response on 3 factors:
1. the SIMILARITY of the candidate’s example to the position they are interviewing for, 
2. the IMPACT they had on the outcome of their example, and 
3. the RECENCY of the example (recent past versus years ago).

3. Post-Interview and Candidate Selection
Follow up with all candidates, and keep the target candidates excited about their potential new role. This phase includes rating candidates, and informing all applicants about next steps.

Your checklist may include these points. Customize your list as you need.

DATE: ______________________________________________________

Position: _____________________________________________________  

Candidate: ___________________________________________________


_____ 1. Use a paired comparison analysis to determine the most important candidate attributes.

_____ 2. Select at least one other interviewer to participate.

_____ 3. Have the candidate complete a personality assessment before the interview.

_____ 4. Ensure that the candidate is well-informed about the interview, and what they should expect.

_____ 5. Review the candidate’s resume in detail and compile questions to ask well before the interview.

During Interview
_____ 6. Firm handshake or other appropriate greeting; engaging welcome. Set up the interview: 10% intro, 80% interview, 10% closing.

_____ 7. Ask questions that have the candidate describe their past behavior. Avoid hypothetical questions with "what would you do", and instead drive for concrete historical examples.

_____ 8. Look for responses in a STAR format. Score based on the example similarity, impact, and recency to job.

_____ 9. Make sure to balance positive (strengths, accomplishments, successes) and negative questions (Weaknesses, mistakes, difficulties). Provide positive reinforcement for good examples.

_____ 10. Provide an opportunity for the candidate to ask questions before wrapping up and discussing next steps. Thank the candidate.

Post-Interview And Candidate Selection
_____ 11. Score candidate responses; more points for similarity, impact, and recency when the examples provided are relevant to the job.

_____ 12. Don’t as other interviewers what they think about the candidate before scoring; do not influence the outcome.

_____ 13. Use a predefined hiring decision analysis to score candidate overall. Select the top-rated candidate, provided the go/no-go criteria are met.

_____ 14. Inform the successful candidate; start negotiations. Always have a backup plan should a negotiated agreement not be possible.

_____ 15. Inform the successful candidates. Where appropriate, provide them with feedback about their interviews.

About the Author: Luke Sheppard is the principal of Sheppard & Company, a consultancy he founded to help entrepreneurs and managers drive results through simplicity. He is the author of the book Driving Great Results: Master the Tools You Need to Run a Great Business. Prior to starting his own business, Luke spent 20 years with John Deere, in engineering, operations, general management, and executive leadership roles in the US and Canada. Luke holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin, a master’s degree in Systems Engineering from Iowa State University, and an Executive MBA from the University of Iowa. Luke lives with his wife and 2 children in Ottawa, Ontario, where they enjoy running, cycling, and spending time together in the great outdoors. For more information, visit Connect with Luke on LinkedIn (ljsheppar) and Facebook (@ljsheppar). 

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