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How to Screen and Interview Prospective Staff

A step-by-step guide to selection and closure of a staff recruitment at UC Merced

Step 1

Interview Committee Selection & Training

The Hiring Chair/Manager is responsible for selecting an interview committee.  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.

NOTE: Training is available and highly recommended for all Hiring Chairs/Managers prior to review of applicants in PAWS.

Step 2

Screening Criteria and Disposition of Applicants

  1. Develop screening criteria that can be measured via an application based on position requirements.  Clearly define required and preferred qualifications
  • HR Recruiter will work with Hiring Manager (or designee) to identify selection criteria during the initial intake meeting.
  1. Upon position closing date (or review by date) all applicants must be dispositioned in PAWS.
  • Based on agreement set during intake either the HR Recruiter will complete this for the Hiring Manager or the Hiring Manager will complete.
  • If hiring manager completes disposition:  Hiring Manager must notify assigned HR Recruiter of completion.  HR Recruiter, within 1-5 business days (depending on size of applicant pool) will ‘certify’ the disposition.
  • If HR Recruiter completes disposition:  HR Recruiter will complete disposition one day following the close date or ‘review by date’ and ‘certify’ the disposition and notify Hiring Manager.
  • Efficiency Tip: Since many of our positions attract a large quantity of applicants, the disposition should be completed as you screen candidates.
  1. Upon ‘certification’ of disposition, Hiring Manager can move forward with contacting applicants for interview.

NOTE: This is a compliance check point.  If certification of disposition is not completed, Hiring Manager and Department IHC will be held accountable.  After multiple occurrences, disposition privileges will be revoked and HR Recruiter will disposition for all recruitments.

Step 3

Preparing for the Interview

  1. Compile interview questions.  Each specialized skill and ability listed on the announcement is typically measured.  (See Pre-approved Interview Questions and Questions to Avoid During an Interview)
  2. Determine Interview format.  For example, does the position require that you have informal meet and greet sessions with a larger constituency other than the hiring committee?
  3. Develop assessment tools (optional) to measure critical/specialized skills and abilities and forward to Talent Acquisition for review and approval.  When submitting assessments for review the following should be included:
  • an instruction sheet for the candidates that also indicates what each exercise is measuring, (e.g. writing skills, budgeting skills, critical thinking skills, etc.);
  • a key for each exercise;
  • information on how each exercise will be scored or weighted, e.g. pass/fail (define what constitutes a passing score),
  • how much time will be allowed for the candidate to complete the assessment.
  1. Determine what tool will be used to measure candidates’ qualifications during the interview process, e.g. rating sheet, narrative, etc, and advise Talent Acquisition.  If rating sheet is used, forward to Talent Acquisition for review and approval prior to the interviews.  Every criteria listed on the rating sheet should directly link to one or more interview questions.  (See Sample Rating Sheet or Interview Questions & Ratings.)
  2. Be sure to use the same interview format for every candidate and ensure the interview appointments are of equal duration.

Step 4

Conduct the Interview

  1. Choose an appropriate and comfortable interview environment where you will not be interrupted.
  2. Welcome the candidate and provide him/her with an overview of the interview.
  3. Ask your questions and then sit back and listen (ideally, you should talk no more than 20% of the time).
  4. Comment on what the candidate says to show interest and encourage further discussion.
  5. Use follow-up questions to elicit additional information about past performance or behavior indicated on the resume/application.
  6. Ask the 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 a second level interview is necessary for final candidates, contact them to schedule the interviews and explain the interview process.

Step 5

Reference Checks

  1. A minimum of three (3) professional references must be verified before an offer is extended.
  2. HR provides Skill Survey as a resource to conduct reference check or the Hiring Manager can use the traditional phone call if desired.
  • 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 similar to a traditional reference call.  A customized report is then provided to the Hiring Manager.
  • To initiate Skill Survey Reference check:

1.  Department must send email to requesting references for the candidate.  Must provide name(s) of candidate and position # from PAWS.

2.  Recruiter will initiate process within Skill Survey and provide the final report to the Hiring Manager.

  1. If the traditional reference call is selected, ask the candidate for a list of references. These may include current or previous supervisors, co-workers or others that are familiar with the candidate's work history. If the work history is minimal, personal references or references from school or volunteer associations may be used. It is highly recommended to contact their current supervisor.  Hiring Chair may consult with HR regarding possible internal resources such as review of performance evaluations.
  2. Write down your questions before you call, highlighting the information you want verified or expanded upon. If you are checking references of more than one applicant, make sure you ask the same questions for each applicant. You may use the Reference Check Form to record responses.
  3. Set up a telephone appointment with the references provided by the candidate.

Step 6

Offer Letter Approval/Offer of Employment

  1. Following selection interviews and reference checks, draft the offer letter and complete the disposition in PAWS for approval by HR.  The offer letter must be approved by Talent Acquisition in order for payroll to process the new hire.  Offer letter review may take up to 5 business days.

NOTE: If you are hiring a UC retiree, a near relative of a current employee in your department, a current employee with an increase of over 25% or a foreign candidate, other policies may apply and you MUST have exception approval.  Please consult with your recruiter immediately.

Foreign Employees Document and 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 the candidate prior to approval from Human Resources and the International Affairs Office.  For further instructions and guidelines please contact Rubi Turner.

  1. Offer letter and supporting documentation should be submitted to Talent Acquisition for review.  The following is required for submission in order for HR to approve offer letter:
  • Completed interview questions/notes/rating sheets
  • Completed references
  • Completed disposition in the applicant tracking system (PAWS)
  • Background check questionnaire (If not on JD)
  • Draft Offer Letter or Contract
  • Any Policy Exception forms, if applicable.
  1. Upon approval of the offer letter by HR, hiring manager/department extends offer to candidate.

Step 7

Notification of Non-selected Candidates

  1. Upon acceptance of offer made, notify the non-selected candidates of their status.
  • If the candidate was interviewed: The hiring manager is responsible to notify the candidate by phone. 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: Talent Acquisition will notify the non-selected applicants by email upon the finalized disposition in PAWS.  Contact Talent Acquisition if you have questions about Dispositioning.

Step 8

Documentation Maintenance

At the finalization of a hiring committee, the chair should collect all notes taken during interviews by all committee members and submit to Talent Acquisition.

Original copies of signed offer letter and job description should be sent to HR for the personnel file.

Step 9

Payroll Processing

  • Submit new hire action form to payroll.
  • Schedule an appointment with payroll to meet with the employee on their first day.
  • Complete background check if necessary.

Step 10

Next Steps...

How to Plan for a New Team Member

Need an expert?
Contact Talent Acquisition or call 209-228-8247.

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

These instructions apply only to hiring staff employees. Please be sure you check references, complete disposition, attain offer letter approval and consult with Talent Acquisition before making a job offer.