Interviews, video, phone, site

Throughout the interview stage, qualifications should continue to guide the work of the search committee. As interviews begin, candidates are also gathering information about the university and determining their level of interest in accepting a job offer should one be presented. Committees are wise to remember this and to continue their recruitment of all candidates throughout and beyond the interview stage.

  • Compose interview questions based on qualifications about which the committee needs additional information, focusing on the highest priority qualifications identified in the criteria matrix for evaluation at this stage.
  • Evaluate candidate responses based on qualifications and criteria outlined at the outset of the search
  • Debrief each candidate interview promptly afterward to reduce opportunities for bias to build through the passage of time and the interviews of other applicants.
  • Do not ask questions, formally or informally, related to protected class status. Examples include: national origin, family status and age. For a full list consult Discrimination at Work
  • Continue to recruit the candidate by attending to their needs. Answer any questions they have and provide flexibility throughout the interview process to meet a variety of needs.
  • Communicate early and clearly with candidates about interview format and scheduling.

Phone and video interviews present an added challenge for meaningful connection. Intentional planning and interactions can enrich interactions and enhance the level of information shared.

  • Determine what information is needed at this stage in order to inform on-campus interview decisions. Focus questions on qualifications that will assist in the decision-making process about which candidates to bring to campus. Begin with hospitality—introductions, a little information about what it’s like to work in this unit, etc. followed by broad, open-ended question such as “tell us about your interest in this job.”
  • Begin with the same questions for all applicants. Any follow up questions should be to further clarify the original question or to seek more depth of information about the qualification to which the original question refers.
  • All candidates should be notified in advance if the interview will be recorded. Interview recordings are subject to the same records retention requirements as all other materials related to the search.
  • Ensure that candidates have access to all technology and accommodations needed for them to participate successfully in the interview.
  • If not recording, assign someone to serve as detailed note-taker so other members can maintain eye-contact with the candidate. It’s important for the note-taker to use the language of the candidate’s response rather than paraphrasing, as paraphrasing can change the meaning or impact of the answer.
  • Make allowances for technological realities of remote interviews. 
    • On phone interviews, explain the silence created by note taking
    • Always introduce all committee members present
    • Avoid decisions about an applicant’s preparedness or ability to connect because of technical difficulties; be mindful of the time delay created by technologies.
  • Whenever possible, interview all applicants in a common format; never require different formats of candidates. If you offer video interviews to all candidates but one elects to choose a phone interview, do not hold this decision against them and keep in mind the additional connection you may have experienced with candidates who chose video interviewing simply because of the format. To minimize implicit bias, candidates may be invited to keep their video off—thus candidates may read non-verbal cues from the committee, but the committee is not distracted by appearance, first-impressions, or background distractions.
  • Keep the number of interview questions reasonable for the duration of the interview. For a half hour interview, 3-5 or questions are reasonable including an opportunity for candidates to ask questions at the end.
  • Explain your timeline and next steps to each candidate at the end of the interview.
  • Debrief after each interview and be sure to schedule time for both breaks and debriefing.

<> On campus interviews are often jam-packed with access to the candidate for multiple stakeholders. Remember to allow time for the candidate both to gather the information they need and to take the breaks. Ensure that feedback is solicited in a meaningful and structured way and that once campus interviews have concluded, the necessary criteria-based information has been gathered.


  • Draft itineraries for interview visits and confirm with candidates, then distribute to candidates in advance. List who will attend events and where they will take place. A typical interview visit may include a search committee interview, individual or small-group short meetings with potential faculty collaborators or colleagues, interview with the hiring authority, a job talk and possibly a teaching demonstration attended by stakeholder faculty, staff and students and opportunities for candidates to seek the information they need. Other events can be added as necessary.
  • For any teaching or presentation sessions, ensure the candidate has all the equipment needed and an opportunity to test it with their media, any accommodations are identified and addressed and that a uniform scenario is created for all candidates.
  • For stakeholder sessions, provide forms that ask for their responses and evaluation based on the qualifications for the position which they will be able to evaluate through their experience of the stakeholder session. Do not simply ask for strengths and weaknesses. Ask that they include examples to support their assessment.
  • Schedule time during the candidate’s visit that allows them to explore their own interests and needs. Offer to assist them in connecting with individuals or groups they may hope to meet. Candidates may be interested in anything from meeting with a real estate agent to connecting with identity-based groups on or off campus.
  • Consider identifying other diversity hires to meet the candidate for meals or other informal sessions whereby the candidate can get a sense of what it is like from someone else who has been through the process.
  • Schedule time for candidates to take a break, regroup, have a snack and or a beverage and use the bathroom. Consider additional needs candidates may have, such as a lactation break for nursing parents. Always remind candidates that they may seek reasonable accommodations to their interview schedule based on religion, disability, language, or as a survivor of domestic violence.
  • Ensure that everyone who will participate in social events is well versed in what types of questions are inappropriate or could pose some legal concerns (see Inappropriate Interview Questions). For example, we should not ask about children, spouses, country of origin, religion, etc., but we may respond to any questions from the candidate on these topics. This guidance applies to the entire interview, social times included.