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 online.

  • A Hiring Manager can use the temporary statuses (Reviewed - Yes, Reviewed - No, Reviewed - Maybe) to indicate a preliminary sorting of the applicants, and/or guide Screening/Selection Committee members to see the Reviewed - Yes applicants.
  • Guest Users - 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. This Guest User access is set up by the person who initially submits the requisition, and Guest Users do not need a CATS account. Guests Users can view only the applications and documents on the requisition for which they are given the password, and they have read-only access so they cannot change the status of any of the applicants.
  • If the applicants do not meet all the posted requirements you change their Status to "Not Qualified." Then their application becomes Inactive, and does not show up on the initial view of applicants. To see inactive applicants you click on Inactive and "refresh" the screen.

From this initial screening you determine if there is a sufficient applicant pool to interview or if you need to repost the position on the web. If there are qualified candidates who are eligible for preferential layoff or recall, you need to interview them before other candidates in the pool.

Once you decide whom to invite for interview, you change the status of those applicants to Selected for Interview in CATS. For applicants who met all the posted requirements but are not interviewed, you give reasons for non-selection. Please see Reasons for Non-Selection for more information. At the end of the selection process when you "fill" a position, e-mails will be sent to non-interviewees. E-mails will not be sent to interviewees 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. See Applicant Notifications (doc) for details on when applicants receive notifications.

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

You may need do a phone screen to obtain additional information from the candidates, or to reduce a large pool of well-qualified applicants to those you want to interview in person. You create a set of questions before you start and ask all candidates the same set of questions so you can compare responses. A good idea is to ask specific questions about technical skills and experience, 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 Telephone Interview Guide (pdf) for suggestions.

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Interview committee

The Committee should include members whose knowledge and interest contribute positively to the outcome, a diverse set of members, and peers from outside your unit who know the position. You may want to meet with the interview committee shortly before the interviews to decide the number of candidates to recommend, discuss the proposed list of questions, and/or decide the logistics of the interview process, i.e., who will give an overview of the organization and where the position fits, and who will ask the questions. As closely as possible you should use the same interview format for all interviews.

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Schedule interviews

Once you've determined who you want to interview, invite the interview committee and schedule the candidates.

  • Schedule an appropriate and comfortable interview environment where you will not be interrupted.
  • Tell the interviewers the time and place of the interviews, and send them the candidate's resume.
  • Tell candidates the date and time, location and where to park, the process for entering the building, the names and titles of the interviewers, and how much time they should plan to spend.
  • Ask candidates to bring three references to the interview if they have not provided names on the application form.
  • Send candidates a copy of the job description, benefits 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 at least 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, and ask all candidates the same set of questions for a fair comparison. Ask the Interview Committee to review them. You want to ask open-ended questions about their skills and experience such as "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 indicated on the resume. The Employment staff is available to review and discuss the questions. Questions should be short, not long, multi-part questions that will lose the interviewee. See Behavior-based Interview Questions (pdf). We have attached sample Interview Questions by level to get you started:

We've also prepared Questions to Avoid During an Interview (pdf) to make sure the questions meet legal requirements. The important points to keep in mind about the questions are that they need to be job-related, consistent for all candidates, and should 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 added 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 the general Interview Guidelines (pdf) for more tips.

Following each interview, provide time for each member of the Committee to rate the candidate on the requirements. You can use the Interview Evaluation Matrix (doc) if needed. The Committee then discusses the interviewee's strengths and weaknesses relative to the requirements for the position. Or, if there is not time for a discussion after each interview, the committee should arrange to meet after the last interview to discuss all the candidates, rank them, and decide whom to recommend as the selected candidate(s).

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Talking to non-selected interviewees

After the selected candidate has accepted the position, the hiring organization notifies 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 (on of the required skills) was more advanced than your current skill level.

Let applicants know that you enjoyed interviewing them and hope they will apply to other UCOP positions. Keep in mind that external interviewees can be ambassadors for UCOP/UC. The non-selection conversation and the individual's overall experience as an applicant/interviewee can influence their opinion and their future interest.

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