Prepare for the interview
This guide is intended for the search committee and search chair. The search committee should create a consistent set of interview questions. Creating these questions in advance ensures equal evaluation and fair treatment for candidates. Each candidate is given the same opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge, skills and abilities.
- Schedule interviews and events in a way that ensure consistent treatment of all candidates, including internal candidates (if external candidates participate in phone interviews, internal candidates should as well).
- Develop a group of core questions based on the position-related criteria by which the candidates are to be evaluated. Design the questions to determine an applicant’s ability to do the job.
- Use core questions with all candidates to allow comparative judgment and ensure that crucial position-related information is obtained.
- Consider using competency based interview questions specific to VCU’s core competencies
- Focus questions on results (performance in current or former position, accomplishments, productivity in current or former position)
- Behavior-based questions should be standardized and job-related.
- Interview script should ensure that the candidate articulates specific work experience and professional accomplishments.
- Assign questions to committee members to ask of candidates.
- Review the candidate’s application prior to each interview.
- Be professional, courteous, and attentive at all times.
- Ask questions that reference VCU’s mission and values, such as: VCU is committed to our values of accountability, achievement, collaboration, innovation, service excellence, diversity, and integrity. What is your understanding of what is expected of you as an employee of VCU? What is expected of you as a manager?
This guide is intended for the search chair and search committee. Use the questions to weave throughout your interview.
- Please give us your definition of diversity. What does it mean for an institution of higher learning?
- In your current position, do you have any experience with diversity related initiatives? Please tell us about your participation in these programs.
- What do you think are the biggest challenges faced by students and staff from under-represented groups? Can you make a suggestion as to how a member of our team could help in reducing these challenges in office initiatives? Could you give us an example or two of actions you have taken in your current position to foster an inclusive work environment.
- Diversity is one of VCU’s core competencies, is part of our strategic plan, and is woven throughout everything we do. How will your view of diversity enhance VCU’s goals and how will you work with others across campus on this goal?
- Have you observed any practices that might unintentionally serve to limit inclusiveness in the workplace? As Title, how would you address the behavior of students, staff or faculty in your area who exhibit unacceptable diversity behavior?
- Can you share a situation in which you made a difference for a student, staff or faculty in overcoming a gender-based challenge? a sexual orientation challenge? a race/ethnicity challenge? a disability challenge?
- We have tried to push the diversity pendulum. While we have made progress, we still have work to do. What suggestions do you have for how we might improve our retention of diverse staff? And over what timeline?
- What do you see as your role as Title in setting the climate for diversity and inclusion at VCU?
Source: Purdue University
This guide is intended for the search chair and search committee. When creating or asking interview questions, it is important to evaluate whether the candidate embodies VCU’s mission, vision and culture. The following guide can help.
General culture fit
- To elicit a candidate’s values and work behaviors, ask questions about work habits, ideal role, problem solving skills and how they handle challenges.
- For each question, analyze the response based on how well it aligns with VCU’s mission, vision and culture.
- List VCU’s core competencies, then craft an associated question designed to illuminate how a candidate might react or behave in a specific environment or circumstance common to your department.
- For example, one of VCU's core competencies is diversity. A question could be, “Tell me how you ensure a climate of trust, honesty and integrity where all people are valued and differences are recognized as an asset?” Evaluate the response based on how well the candidate demonstrates they can embody that value.
- Every team has its own culture based on the natural function of the role and the personalities within it.
- Identify key traits of the team and craft a question for each. For example, if you are looking for someone resilient, ask a situational question about what the candidate would do in a given situation with limited resources.
This guide is intended for the search chair and search support. This tool will be helpful as you organize and lead the candidate through the interview process.
A. Organize the process
- Create a process flow map. Steps may include:
- Initial phone / video screen
- Phone/ video screen
- First round of interviews
- Second round of interviews
- Team presentation
- Involve the search committee in this flow map
- Implement standardized feedback mechanisms
- Schedule post interview debriefs
- Communicate next steps to candidates as they get eliminated or progress
- Follow up with interviewers when large discrepancies in the candidate evaluation occurs
- Stress the importance of feedback deadlines and on time arrival for interviewers
C. Pre Interview checklist
- Re-read the job description and candidate’s resume
- Print out questions to ask candidate
- Double check room availability and technical support
- Make sure every interviewer has:
- The job description
- A copy of the candidate’s resume.
- Correct interview time and location.
- Information about who the candidate will report to and work with most frequently
- Instructions on interview direction or topic (if decided upon in advance)
- Basic department/ unit info.
- Information on next steps..
- Follow-up by soliciting feedback and/or attending post-interview debrief.
D. Make sure your interviewers provide a consistent VCU narrative and are well informed about both the candidate and position. Use the following information to ensure all interviewers are prepared with key facts about the organization and position
- VCU mission statement
- Key dates and metrics (ie year founded, total number of employees, etc)
- Benefits: vacation, health insurance, perks
- Mission and function of department or team.
- Title and responsibilities (including the job description).
- Reporting structure.
- Identify cross-functional team members
- Future initiatives of department or team
- Career growth opportunities.
- Potential start date of position.
- Salary range (if appropriate).
E. Notify Candidates
- VCU’s applicant tracking system has standard non-selection emails.
- Send emails as soon as it decided the candidate will not be moving forward.
- Mention if you would like the candidate to apply for another role at the company in the future.
- Call non-selected candidates who made it to the final round of a senior-level position, spent a significant amount of time interviewing or traveled to the interview.
Utilize the developing a consistent interview guide to help ensure consistency during interviews of finalists.