Employer Interviewing Part 2: Laying Out The Interview Process

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Choosing Interviewers

Now that you’ve made the initial preparations for your interview, it’s time to select interviewers. This group should possess relevant expertise and knowledge related to the role for which the candidate is being interviewed. Their insights and understanding of the job requirements will help you evaluate the candidate’s qualifications more effectively. 

Also, if you’re utilizing more than one person for the interview process, aim for a cohesive, balanced group that can effectively collaborate and provide constructive feedback. It’s best to restructure the interviews to maintain a fair and unbiased evaluation if there are existing conflicts or tensions. 

Who Needs To Be Involved, And During Which Stages?

It’s important to note that these roles can vary based on the organization’s structure and the specific requirements of the role being interviewed. The hiring manager, or your desired interview coordinator, ensures direction and effective communication while each person contributes their unique expertise and perspective to evaluate the candidate holistically. 

Internal Recruiting Team: This team determines current and future hiring needs, posts job openings online, sources candidates, and sometimes creates employee referral programs. They will be charged with uncovering candidates to include during the preliminary screening of the interview process. 

Internal Recruiter: Once the top candidates are identified, an internal recruiter will schedule a 15–30-minute discussion of the candidate’s resume and qualifications during the initial phone screen. They will gather more behavioral and essential information to gauge the candidate’s personality and capabilities. Recruiters may also schedule discussions with direct applicants or candidates that weren’t sourced by the recruiting team. 

Hiring Manager: As the hiring manager, you should be involved in each stage of the interview process, but you may not necessarily take part in every interview. In other words, you should coordinate with other interviewers within the organization. Nowadays, a virtual interview is usually a good starting point for hiring managers because it takes less time from your day. Also, less communication is required before the interview about parking, the office’s location, day-to-day job expectations, etc. During a one-on-one interview, you can learn more about the candidate’s background and other qualifications. 

Panel Team: We recommend choosing three to five people for a panel interview. Representatives who are seasoned workers, colleagues, or managers should be included. We’ve broken down the ideal panel interview team below:

Hiring Manager (The Point Person)
  • Facilitates the interview process and ensures it runs smoothly.
  • Sets the agenda, establishes ground rules, and guides panel discussions.
  • Ensures that each panelist has an opportunity to provide input and ask questions.
  • Summarizes key points and leads the panel in making final decisions.
Hueman Resources Representatives
  • Ensures compliance with legal and organizational policies throughout the process.
  • May guide diversity and inclusion aspects to minimize bias in the evaluation process.
  • Facilitates communication between the panel and the candidate regarding logistical matters, such as salary negotiation or benefits. 
Subject Matter Expert
  • Possesses deep knowledge and expertise related to the role being interviewed.
  • Evaluates the candidate’s skills, industry knowledge, and specific competencies required for the position.
  • Asks relevant questions to assess the candidate’s qualifications and responses within the subject matter. 
Team Members or Peers (Optional)
  • Represents the perspective of potential colleagues or team members.
  • Evaluates the candidate’s interpersonal skills, teamwork abilities, and cultural fit within the team dynamics.
  • Asks questions about team collaboration, communication skills, or conflict resolution.

Interviewer Briefs 

Creating interview briefs is an essential step in preparing for interviews. It will provide context to the interviewers about the role, the team dynamics, and any specific challenges or opportunities associated with the position. Offer guidance on what to focus on during the interview, such as technical skills, leadership abilities, cultural fit, or specific competencies. These briefs outline the key information about the candidates and provide guidance to the interviewers, such as: 

Creating an interview timeline.

Once you’ve decided who should participate in each step of the interview process, set clear expectations for how and when each party should prepare for the interview. This includes scheduling dates and times for all interviews, ensuring all parties know the deadlines for submitting work samples, questions, or other materials, and setting formal expectations for your organization. 

Having a timeline will allow you to monitor progress throughout the interview more effectively and help identify points where additional participants may need to be included or guidance from hiring managers. With this information already mapped out in advance, employers and candidates can feel more confident throughout the interview process. 

Reviewing the job description. 

By sharing a job description beforehand, you can ensure that your team is well informed about the role they are interviewing for — responsibilities, duties, qualifications, skills, and other requirements of the specific job role within an organization. This can also help other team members, such as HR personnel or department heads, understand the context of the position they’re helping to fill.  

The main distinction between a job description and a candidate persona is that a job description is more generic and provides an external overview of the job requirements, while a candidate persona focuses on creating a detailed profile of the ideal candidate to attract and select the most suitable individuals for the role.  

Reviewing the candidate persona. 

This is a great time to introduce your interviewers to the candidate persona. Cross-compare which skills need to be performed in job-specific tasks using the knowledge you gained about the candidate persona. It goes beyond the general job description and delves into the ideal candidate’s characteristics, traits, and preferences. Key characteristics of a candidate persona include: 

  • Candidate Focus: Focuses on creating a detailed profile of the ideal individual to fill the job role, including their personality traits, motivations, goals, and aspirations. 
  • Targeted Approach: Narrow down and target specific candidates with the required qualifications, desired characteristics, and cultural fit. 
  • External Orientation: Guide the selection of candidates who align with the organization’s culture and values. 
  • Detailed Specifics: Nuanced information about the candidate, such as their preferred work environment, communication style, career goals, and personal attributes. 

Identifying interview questions. 

Based on the job requirements and interview objectives, develop a list of interview questions to help evaluate your candidates effectively. Consider a mix of behavioral, situational, and questions tailored to the specific role and your organization. (We’ll go more in-depth on these question types in the next section of this guide.) 

Preparing in advance gives everyone involved enough time to think through their questions and fully assess candidates on paper before making any decisions in person. This also improves accuracy in candidate evaluation since more people can contribute feedback without feeling pressured by time constraints during an in-person session. 

Include Pre-Employment Skill Assessments  

Skill assessments help hiring managers understand a candidate’s hard and soft skills and give them a way to verify the qualifications listed on their resumes. These assessments vary depending on the industry, job level, and organization’s preferences. Most skills evaluations in the past have taken the form of exams intended to determine if a person possesses the abilities required to carry out crucial job functions.  

How To Choose The Best Skill Assessment

Establish Your Objectives: Determine the specific objectives of the skill assessment. What do you want to measure or evaluate? Is it technical proficiency, problem-solving abilities, creativity, or other job-specific skills? Clarifying the assessment objectives will help you identify the most relevant assessment methods.

Determine Scalability: Consider the number of candidates you need to assess. Some assessments may be more scalable and efficient for evaluating a large number of candidates, while others may be more suitable for a smaller candidate pool.

Monitor & Adjust: Continuously monitor the effectiveness of the skill assessment over time. Collect feedback from hiring managers, interviewers, and candidates to identify any areas of improvement or potential biases in the assessment process. Adjust as necessary to enhance the assessment’s validity.

Evaluate Resource Requirements: Consider the resources needed to implement the skill assessment. Assess whether you have the tools, software, or expertise to administer and evaluate the assessment effectively. Take into account the cost and time investment required to implement the assessment.

Skill evaluations can make the job of a hiring manager much easier, especially when there is a massive volume of applicants. It also gives your top candidates the ability to demonstrate their knowledge. Your prospects will have the chance to shine in a way that may not be apparent from an interview or résumé during a quantitative pre-hire review. 

Skill Assessment Types Include: 

  • Hard Skills Assessment 
  • Work Sample Test 
  • Cognitive Ability Assessment 
  • Personality Assessment 

Hard Skills Assessments

Hard skills assessments evaluate a candidate’s specific technical or job-related skills. These assessments measure the knowledge, abilities, and proficiency required to perform specific tasks or functions related to a particular job or industry. Hard skills assessments are typically objective and measurable, allowing employers to assess a candidate’s level of competence in a specific skill area. 


  • Technical Assessments: These assessments evaluate a candidate’s knowledge and skills specific to the job’s technical requirements. They can include coding challenges, programming tests, system design exercises, or practical simulations. Popular options for technical skill screening include TestGorillaCodilityCodeSignal, and eSkill
  • Design or Creativity Assessments: These assessments assess a candidate’s skills in graphic design, user experience (UX) design, or other creative fields. They may involve creating visual designs, wireframes, and prototypes using design software or providing a portfolio. 
  • Industry-Specific Tests: Certain industries or professions may have specialized hard skills assessments. For example, in healthcare, assessments may focus on medical knowledge, patient care, or diagnostic skills. Assessments may evaluate network administration, cybersecurity, or system administration skills in the IT industry. 
  • Language Proficiency TestsLanguage Proficiency Tests assess a candidate’s proficiency in a specific language, such as English, Spanish, or French. They evaluate grammar, vocabulary, reading comprehension, writing ability, and speaking skills. 

Work Sample Tests 

Work sample tests, also known as job simulations or performance-based assessments, simulate or replicate tasks and activities that candidates encounter on the job. These tests aim to evaluate a candidate’s ability to perform specific job-related tasks and assess their skills, knowledge, and decision-making abilities in a realistic setting. Work sample tests are particularly effective in assessing a candidate’s practical skills and job readiness. For example, a dexterity test may be used for a commercial / manufacturing role, where candidates are asked to perform at a certain speed: 


  • Job Simulations: These assessments simulate real work scenarios to assess a candidate’s ability to perform specific tasks or handle job-related challenges. They can take the form of case studies, role playing, or simulations using specialized software. 
  • Role Plays: Candidates are given a specific role or scenario and are asked to act out a particular interaction or situation. This can assess customer service, negotiation, conflict resolution, or leadership skills. 
  • Presentations or Demonstrations: Candidates are asked to prepare and deliver a presentation or demonstrate a specific skill relevant to the job. This could include tasks like delivering a sales pitch, conducting a training session, or showcasing technical expertise. 
  • Work Samples or Portfolios: Candidates are asked to submit samples of their previous work, such as writing samples, design projects, coding projects, or marketing campaigns. Employers can evaluate the quality of the work and assess the candidate’s skills directly. 

Cognitive Ability Assessments 

Cognitive ability tests measure a candidate’s cognitive aptitude or mental abilities. These tests assess a candidate’s capacity to learn, solve problems, think critically, reason logically, and process information quickly and accurately. Cognitive ability tests are widely used in hiring as they provide valuable insights into a candidate’s intellectual potential and ability to perform well in complex job roles.  


  • Predictive Index (PI) Cognitive Assessment: The timed PI Cognitive AssessmentTM is a cognitive ability test for employment. This assessment measures a person’s general mental ability and capacity for critical thinking. According to The Predictive Index, in just twelve minutes, you’ll have more information about someone’s likelihood of success and job performance than you would after a one-hour interview or standard aptitude test. 
  • Neuroworx Problem-Solving Test: These assessments evaluate a candidate’s ability to analyze and solve problems. They may involve presenting candidates with hypothetical or real-life problems and assessing their problem-solving approach, analytical thinking, and decision-making skills. 
  • Inductive Reasoning: These tests measure a candidate’s ability to identify underlying principles or rules from specific examples. Candidates are presented with patterns, shapes, or symbols and asked to determine the underlying rule or select the next item in the series. 
  • Numerical Reasoning Test: These tests measure a candidate’s ability to work with numbers and perform mathematical operations. Candidates are given numerical data, charts, or graphs and are required to solve problems, calculate figures, and make data-based decisions. 

Personality Assessments 

Certain personality traits, such as conscientiousness, agreeableness, and emotional stability, have been linked to job performance and success in various professions. By assessing these traits, employers can understand how well a candidate’s personality aligns with the role’s requirements and your company culture. 

Personality assessments can also identify candidates with similar values, work styles, and attitudes as your existing team members, fostering a harmonious and collaborative work environment. In addition, they can help you determine if their personality traits complement existing team dynamics or if they’re bringing in unique qualities that can enhance your team’s effectiveness.  


  • CliftonStrengths Online Talent Assessment by Gallup: This online test measures the intensity of your talents in each of the 34 CliftonStrengths themes. These 34 themes represent what people do best. They categorize all that’s right with humankind — distilled down to 34 different themes. 
  • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI): MBTI is one of the most well-known personality assessments based on Carl Jung’s theories. It categorizes individuals into one of 16 personality types, considering preferences such as extraversion vs. introversion, sensing vs. intuition, thinking vs. feeling, and judging vs. perceiving.  
  • DISC Assessment: The DISC assessment categorizes individuals into four behavioral styles: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness. DISC assessments, such as the Everything DiSC and DISC Classic, are commonly used for team building, communication training, and leadership development.   
  • Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI): The HPI focuses on core personality characteristics, such as ambition, sociability, prudence, and inquisitiveness. The HPI provides insights into an individual’s strengths, weaknesses, and potential derailers in the workplace.  

How To Interview For Cultural Alignment 

By hiring for cultural compatibility, portfolio companies can successfully find individuals who are great at their job, collaborate well with their coworkers, and share the same values as their employers.  

Up to 50% of an employee’s overall job satisfaction is attributed to a company’s culture. Candidates want more than bean bags and pizza parties when choosing where to work; they crave authenticity.  

However, confusing cultural alignment with a culture “fit” is a common misconception. Employment practices that prioritize culture “fit” overlook the potential of different perspectives to raise the performance of an entire group.  

Research from Columbia Business School indicates that diverse teams tend to make better decisions, generate higher financial returns, and alter how individuals feel and think.  

Here are four key steps hiring managers should keep in mind during the interview process when it comes to finding a person who adds to your organization’s culture:  

  1. Give candidates a complete view of your organization. Provide candidates with the opportunity to become familiar with the atmosphere of your organization and motivate them to engage their possible coworkers in conversation. By doing these activities, you can observe how they could positively impact the company culture (as well as enjoy a different kind of interview than the usual seated one). 
  1. Allow candidates to steer the discussion. Their questions and observations may provide powerful insights into their suitability for the role. When a candidate is engaged and asks questions about an organization, it shows their interest in the company. A rule of thumb is only to talk 20% of the time and listen during the other 80%.  
  1. Don’t mistake personal affinity for a professional fit. Aim to recruit complementary people who align with your organization’s core values. Stay focused on what a candidate brings to the position and the organization. If they meet those criteria, hiring managers can start thinking about their personality.  
  1. Get creative. Before the interview, craft a few questions to ask the candidate. However, be open to modifying your questions based on what they tell you and generate follow-up queries related to their answers.

Creative Interview Questions Examples

Here are some great examples from LinkedIn, a few of which we use at Hueman:  

  • “What is the one thing you like most about your current manager, and what is one thing you would change?” As the hiring manager, recognize the atmosphere best suited to the role and how to communicate effectively. 
  • “Give me an example of someone that you coached and developed and were able to promote. What did you work on with them to make it happen?” This question demonstrates their enthusiasm for guiding others and their method of maintaining and cultivating a team.  
  • “How would you describe yourself in one word?” The most desirable applicants are self-aware. It’s not about the language they use to describe themselves but how they define their identity.  
  • “How long are you willing to fail at this job before you succeed?” The ideal job applicant should demonstrate dedication to the task and a commitment to staying as long as possible to succeed.

How to Mitigate Biases During the Interview Process 

Creating an inclusive and diverse workplace begins with fair and unbiased job interviews. While biases can seep into the interview process, addressing them is essential.  

“I’m always looking for the opposite of what I am, for the most part,” said Lisa Borders, president of the Women’s National Basketball Association. “I think so many of us, because of unconscious bias, hire people who look just like us, who have the same skills that we do, to complement us. That’s not a compliment at all. That’s a duplicate. So, I am often looking for the person who can complement the skills I already have.”  

There are many kinds of hiring biases, but they all stem from mental shortcuts we take that enable us to misinterpret prospects based on our individual experiences, which results in more unreliable judgments.  

The Harvard Business School’s Francesca Gino defines hiring bias as the tendency for “us to make decisions in favor of one person or group to the detriment of others.” This interferes with the diversity of the environment that businesses need to thrive in. 

How to Avoid Bias with Standardized Interviews 

Eliminating biases involves conducting interviews objectively. One method to achieve this is to standardize the procedure. The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) advises employing structured interviews, in which candidates are asked the same set of predetermined questions that concentrate on elements that directly affect job performance

By eliminating subjective factors like ability or attractiveness, this framework reduces bias. Instead, you focus on how a candidate would approach a particular issue or carry out specific job-related duties. 

Here are some tips for creating a standardized interview: 

  1. Create a Question Structure: Establish a consistent structure for each question to ensure uniformity. This may include an introduction to the question, a description of the situation or task, a request for the candidate’s response, and any follow-up probes for clarification or elaboration. 
  1. Train Interviewers: Provide comprehensive training to ensure they understand the standardized interview process, evaluation criteria, and scoring system. Train them on bias awareness and mitigation techniques to promote fairness and consistency. 
  1. Standardize Interview Environment: Ensure that the interview environment is consistent for all candidates. This includes using the same location, format (in-person or virtual), and allotted time for each interview. This helps create a level playing field for all candidates. 
  1. Document Interview Feedback: Require interviewers to document their feedback and ratings immediately after each interview while the details are fresh in their minds. This promotes accuracy and consistency in evaluation. 
  1. Review and Refine: Regularly review and refine the standardized interview process based on interviewers’ feedback and the questions’ effectiveness and evaluation criteria. Continuously improve the process to enhance its validity and fairness. 

How to Avoid Bias with Candidate Scoring 

Establish a candidate scoring method or candidate evaluation that aligns with the job requirements and desired competencies. Interviewers may also have varying standards and interpretations of candidate performance, leading to inconsistent assessments and potential bias in the interview process.   

Rather than relying solely on subjective impressions, interviewers use predetermined criteria and scoring rubrics to assess each candidate consistently and fairly. This approach shifts the focus from gut feelings or personal biases to concrete evidence of a candidate’s skills, experiences, and alignment with the job requirements and candidate persona.     

Once your team has a candidate persona that perfectly depicts the candidate your organization needs and wants for a specific role, make sure they stick with it! Remind them to maintain their standards and avoid making exceptions. Trust that the right candidates will eventually present themselves.  

A candidate score sheet is usually comprised of the following:  

  • A reliable grading system (To keep metrics simple, consider scoring on a 1-5 scale)   
  • Specific inquiries to assess a candidate’s abilities, characteristics, credentials, and experience.   
  • Clearly stated requirements that are unique to the position.   
  • Criteria for determining whether a recruit shares the company values.   
  • A section for comments. 
  • A “score total.” 

Before any interviews for a position start, present score sheets to the interviewing team to ensure that everyone is impartial throughout the process and is aware of the desired characteristics.  

For example, you may have seven categories (sales skills, organizational skills, leadership qualities, etc.) that each interviewer uses to evaluate candidates on a scale from 1-5. This approach will objectively measure each candidate regarding their relevant experience for the job.  

Example of a Candidate Scorecard

Continue to Employer Interviewing Part 3: The Interview Process →

If you are interested in learning how Hueman can help your organization attract and retain talent, contact us today!