Interview and selection

Screening candidates and requesting work samples

The goal of screening is to determine the best qualified applicants to interview. All interviewees need to meet all posted requirements. When you receive a notification that the position has been taken off the web, you login to the Classification and Applicant Tracking System (CATS) to conduct an initial screening for applicants who meet all the posted requirements. In CATS you review each candidate's application, resume and cover letter.

  • Use the temporary statuses (Reviewed - Yes, Reviewed - No, Reviewed - Maybe) to indicate a preliminary sorting of the applicants.
  • Anyone who needs to review resumes for a position and doesn't already have access to a requisition can be given a Guest User username and password in CATS to review the resumes online.  Guest User access is set up by the person who initially submits the requisition, and Guest Users do not need a CATS account.  Guest Users have read-only access and can only view the applications and documents on the requisition for which they are given the password.
  • If the applicants do not meet all the posted requirements, change their status to "Not Qualified."  This changes their application status to inactive and they will no longer show up on the initial view of applicants.  To see inactive applicants, click on inactive and use the refresh button at the bottom of the screen.

Once the initial screening is complete, determine if thee is a sufficient applicant pool to interview or repost the position on the web. If there are qualified candidates who are eligible for preferential recall, you must interview them before meeting with other candidates in the pool..

Once Interviews are scheduled, change the status of those applicants to "Selected for Interview" in CATS.  For applicants who met all the posted requirements but are not interviewed, give reasons for non-selection.  Please see the Hiring Manager's Toolkit  for more information and a list of reasons for non-selection.  At the end of the selection process when you close out the requisition, e-mails will be sent to non-interviewees.  E-mails are not sent to interviewed candidates, so you will need to notify them separately.  If an applicant withdraws, does not show up for an interview, or declines an offer, and their status is changed to reflect this action, they will receive a notification as soon as the new status is saved.

Work samples can be requested when you are scheduling applicants for interviews. A work sample is a product (such as an example of writing/editing) that applicants are requested to bring to the job interview. These samples are reviewed by the hiring supervisor as examples of work that can be produced by the applicant, and the review becomes part of the overall selection process. See Requesting Work Samples for more details.

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Phone interviews

Phone screens can be a useful tool to obtain additional information for candidates or to narrow down a large pool of well-qualified applicants to those you want to interview in person.  Create a set of questions before you start and ask all candidates the same set of questions so you can compare responses.  It's a good idea to ask specific questions about technical skills and experiences, why they are interested in this position and working for UCOP, and what salary they would be willing to accept.  You want to determine whether the candidate is interested, qualified, available and willing to interview further.  See the Hiring Manager's Toolkit for information on telephone interviews and a database of interview questions..

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Interview committee

The interview committee should include a diverse set of members from both inside and outside your unit who are familiar with the position and whose knowledge and interest contribute positively to the outcome of the interviews.  Consider meeting with the interview committee before the interviews to decide the number of candidates recommend, discuss the proposed list of questions and decide the logistics of the interview process (who will give an overview of the organization and where the position fits, who will ask which questions, etc.).  As closely as possible, you should use the same format for all interviews.

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Schedule interviews

  • Schedule an appropriate and comfortable interview environment where you will not be interrupted.
  • Confirm the time and place of the interview with the interview committee and send a copy to each candidate's resume..
  • Notify each candidate of the date, time and location of their interview.  Confirmations should include parking instructions, the process for entering the building, the names and titles of the interviewers and how much time they should plan to spend at the interview..
  • Send candidate a copy of the job description, benefit overview, and organizational chart to review prior to the interview (together with a confirmation e-mail if you wish).

Normally more than one interview is scheduled in one day as a courtesy to the committee's time. Suggested interview length is one hour with  a half hour break between candidates to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the candidate and take a break.

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Interview questions

Prepare questions exploring past job performance behaviors and covering all essential functions of the role. Ask all candidates the same set of questions for a fair comparison. Open-ended questions about their skills and experience can be particularly useful (i.e. "Tell me about a situation when you analyzed grant applications, how you went about it, and what was the result.")  Use follow up questions as needed to elicit clear explanations of past performance or behavior for duties discuss the questions. Questions should be concise rather than long, multi-part questions that will lose the interviewee.  See the Hiring Manager's Toolkit for a database of interview questions, dos and don't's, and a guide to interviewing.

It is important to make sure all questions meet legal requirements, are job-related, are consistent for all candidates and encourage the interviewee to talk about their background.

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Interview process

The purpose of an interview is to obtain information on the applicants' experience and skills, and to clarify the position's duties. Welcome the candidate, introduce the committee members, and provide him/her with an overview of the organization and the interview process you will conduct. Clarify information on the application/resume and ask them to summarize their background. Then ask the questions on their skills, knowledge and experience. Ideally, the candidate should talk at least 80% of the time. A good tip is to pause after they give their response to allow them to add information if they wish. Ask the candidates if they have any questions, and ask their permission to contact references. Close the interview by thanking them and giving them a general idea of the timeframe for a decision. See Hiring Manager's Toolkitt for more tips.

Following each interview, provide time for each member of the Committee to rate the candidate on the requirements. There are tools in the Hiring Manager's Toolkit to help you organize your feedback.  Then discuss the interviewee's strengths and weaknesses relative to the requirements for the position as a committee.  if there is not time for a discussion after each interview, arrange to meet after the last interview to discuss each candidate, rank them, and decide who to recommend as the selected candidate(s). 

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Talking to non-selected interviewees

After the selected candidate has accepted the position, notify the non-selected interviewees by phone that a decision has been made and they were not selected. Keep your comments related to the requirements for the position. If asked, explain that the selected candidate had a broader range of experience in one of the required skills, or that their skill level in one of the required skills was more advanced.

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