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How to Screen and Interview Prospective Staff

A step-by-step guide to selection activities and documentation requirements for staff recruitments at UC Merced

Step 1

Interview Committee Selection & Training

The Hiring Chair/Manageris responsible for selecting an interview committee members. See Interview Committee Guide.

  • The recommended number of committee members is at least 3 but no more than 5; an odd number is recommended.
  • Committee membership should be selected based on direct knowledge of the position and its essential functions.
  • Keep in mind that the larger the committee membership, the more difficult the process may be due to scheduling conflicts.
  • All members should be present at all meetings and all interviews.
  • All members must complete required trainings*

NOTE: *Hiring Manager and Committee Required Training must be complete prior to receiving access to view applicants.

Training Requirements for Hiring Managers and Committee Chairs:

Training Requirements for Committee Members: 

  • Complete at minimum modules 1. What is Implicit Bias and 6. Managing Implicit Bias in the Hiring Process of UC Managing Implicit Bias Series every 2 years, or prior to serving on a search committee. Note: The full series is recommended for this group. 


Step 2

Screening Criteria and Selection of Applicants for Interview

  1. Develop screening form with criteria from the job description that will help you or your Committee objectively review applicant resumes and cover letters. The goal is to determine a pool of Candidates that will be interviewed. 
  • Recruiter can work with Hiring Manager (or designee) to develop your screening form based on your job description.
  • Recruiter will review and approve your Screening Form. This is a requirement.
    • Screening criteria must be objective qualifications (like years of experience, college degree, certifications); and/or
    • Specific experience /job responsibilities that are equivalent to the Job Description’s Key Responsibilities (like managing a team, accountabilities for key deliverables or metrics like managing a budget or data management, etc.). Remember that objective behavioral competencies are best assessed during the actual interview.
  1. Recruiter will disposition your applicant pool within the timeline agreed during the Hiring Manager Intake Interview. Remember that your Recruiter is always checking your pool of applicants and will alert you if additional actions are required to drive traffic to the posting. Recruiter disposition options are:
  • Does not meet minimum qualifications
  • Meets minimum qualifications
  • Meets minimum and preferred qualifications
  • Exceeds minimum and preferred qualifications.
  1. Recruiter will open a Box file for you (your committee) to review all applicant files that meet the disposition level of qualified applicants that you elected to review. 
  2. You (your committee), reviews all applicant resumes/CVs in your Box file completing the screening form. Highlight those applicants you wish to move forward to the interview phase. Recruiter must document your selection in the HR Job File.

COMPLIANCE CHECK-POINT NOTE: There are two (2) required check points in this step.  The first one is the Screening Form/Format that will be used to review/identify candidates for interviews (sent prior to you receiving applicant files). The second one is the completed Final Screening Form which identifies those applicants that you will interview.

Step 3

Preparing for Interviews, Presentations and/or Assessments

1. Compile interview question guide.  Each specialized skill, knowledge, technical experience and behavioral competency discussed on the job posting is fair game. (See Competency Rubric,  Pre-approved Interview Questions, and Questions to Avoid During an Interview

Interview questions for MSP – Non-Supervisory and PSS must include diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI) related question(s).  We encourage the use of DEI related questions for all recruitments.

2.Create the scoring rubric for how candidates will be evaluated during the interview.

3.You may elect to use assessment exercises/tools, candidate presentations, writing samples, etc., that are designed to demonstrate critical, specialized skills or abilities. 

Recruitments for MSP – Manager or Supervisor required Contributions to Diversity Statement.  Recruiter is responsible for coordinating the request and submission of the candidates’ Diversity Statement. 

4.Plan for a positive Candidate Experience!

  • Scheduling 20-minute back-to-back interviews may feel efficient but it does not make for a positive candidate experience.
  • Set clear expectations – who will be there? how shall candidate prepare? where should I park, how far will I walk is there a map? how long will I be there?  
  • Give clear instructions – how long should the presentation be? will I need projector, laptop? what is the assessment measuring?
  • Whatever tools or protocols you use, consistency is not only expected, it is the law (equal treatment)

COMPLIANCE CHECK-POINT NOTE: There is one (1) required check point in this step.  ALL Interview Questions Guides, the Scoring Rubrics, and the Assessment or Exercise (presentation) Instructions must be reviewed and approved by Recruiter PRIOR to use. 

Step 4

Conduct and Evaluate the Interviews

  1. Choose an appropriate and comfortable interview environment where you will not be interrupted. Offer water.
  2. Welcome the candidate and provide him/her with introductions and an overview of the interview.
  3. Ask questions and then sit back and listen (ideally, you should talk no more than 20% of the time).
  4. Probe what the candidate says to engage deeper insight or examples.
  5. Use follow-up questions to elicit additional information about past performance or behavior indicated on the resume/application.
  6. Allow time to ask candidate if they have questions and respond as accurately and thoroughly as possible.
  7. Conclude the interview by thanking them and explaining the 'next steps' in the process. Ask permission to contact references.
  8. If second level interview is necessary for final candidates, contact them to schedule the interviews and explain the interview process.
  9. Each phase of Interviews/Assessments used will require documentation of results (qualitative and/or quantitative) of how every candidate is evaluated and who will move forward.  This documentation, leading to the next step and ultimately a selection decision, must be scanned/emailed to Recruiter for the HR Job File.

COMPLIANCE CHECK-POINT NOTE: There is one (1) required check point in this step for each interview/decision phase. ALL RESULTS (completed Scoring Rubric, Assessment, or Exercise results must be scanned/emailed to Recruiter.

Step 5

Reference Checks

  1. A minimum of three (3) professional references must be verified before an offer is extended. At least one must be a prior manager or supervisor.
    • If a Finalist is an internal staff member, Recruiter will arrange for past performance reviews for Hiring Manager read-only review.
  2. HR provides Skill Survey as a resource to conduct reference checks and provide a survey summary of about 30 behavioral dimensions for the Hiring Manager.
    • Skill Survey is an online system that allows the automation of the reference check process.  References are sent a questionnaire based on the position and provide feedback more comprehensive than the traditional reference call.  A customized report is then provided to the Hiring Manager.
    • To initiate Skill Survey Reference check, request that Recruiter initiate the process. Copy of Report goes automatically to the HR Job File.
    • If you elect to use a manual reference check process, consult with your Recruiter for compliance procedures prior to making calls.  

COMPLIANCE CHECK-POINT NOTE: There is one (1) required check point in this step. ALL Reference results (SkillSurvey or Manual call report) must be scanned/emailed to Recruiter.

Step 6

Offer Letter Approval/Offer of Employment

  1. Following completion of reference checks, draft (or request Recruiter) the offer letter and email to Recruiter for final review and approval. Recruiter must have the following documents (HR Job File), in order to review and approve the offer letter.
    • Completed references
    • All Check-point items (Screen Form, Interview Questions Guide, Assessment Instructions, and Scoring Rubrics). All documents that show how a selection decision was made.

    • Draft Offer Letter and/or Contract

    • Any Policy Exception forms, if applicable

    • Final Job Description to be signed

  2. All Interview Questions The offer letter must be approved by your Recruiter, for payroll to process the new hire.  Offer letter review may take up to 5 business days and Payroll Processing may take up to two weeks. Plan enough time for all pre-hire activities and include any supporting documentation. Once Recruiter digitally signs Offer Letter, Hiring Manager may extend offer to candidate.

    • Hiring Manager (or designee), sends offer letter and/or contract and job description to finalist to sign.

    • Send Recruiter a copy of the fully executed offer letter/contract and signed job description to complete the HR Job File.

NOTE: If you are hiring a UC retiree, a near relative of a current employee in your department, or a foreign national VISA holder, other policies may apply and you MUST have exception approval. Please consult with your Recruiter immediately.

Visa Guidelines: The hire of a foreign national requires several additional steps including the visa applications process and verification. Approval of a foreign national hire will depend on the requirements of the position and qualifications of the applicant. The hiring justification must confirm that this is the most qualified person in the pool. The department must pay any costs or fees incurred as part of the application process. No offer (verbal or written) shall be made to candidate prior to approval from HR and International Affairs Office. For further instructions and guidelines please contact your Recruiter.


Step 7

Notification of Non-selected Candidates

  1. Upon acceptance of offer made, Hiring Manager will contact candidates interviewed but not selected. Recruiter will communicate with remaining applicants.
    • If the candidate was interviewed: The hiring manager is responsible to notify the candidate by phone (or email). Inform non-selected candidates (those you have interviewed) of their status by telephone or e-mail and follow up by sending an After Interview Letter.

    • If the candidate was not selected for interview: Recruiter will notify the non-selected applicants by email upon the finalized disposition in TAM.  

Step 8

Documentation Maintenance

  • The Chair (Hiring Manager), is responsible for sending all documents electronically to Recruiter for the HR Job File and outlined throughout this document.
  • HR Job File retention requirement is 3 years. 

Step 9

Department Payroll Processing

  • Submit new hire action form to Payroll Services.
  • Schedule an appointment with payroll to meet with the employee on their first day.
  • Register for LiveScan 

Step 10

Next Steps...

How to Plan for a New Team Member


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University policies, procedures and applicable collective bargaining agreements shall supersede information in this document or elsewhere on this site.

Documents and Decision Forms covered may be used as documentation in official proceedings regarding employee complaints and grievances, in Unfair Labor Practice cases, EEOC/DFEH complaints, and other legal actions. Therefore, Recruiter is responsible for capturing all forms and documents related to all decision steps in HR Job File.

These instructions apply only to hiring staff employees. Please be sure you confer with Recruiter for all references, background, or other offer activities. Discuss with your Recruiter before making any written or verbal job offer for process completion.