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Interview and Selection

Interviewing is one of the most important parts of the hiring process. With preparation and planning, you’ll be able to conduct interviews that provide you with solid information to assist in making successful, long-term hires.

Unconscious Bias Resources

Unconscious biases are social stereotypes about certain groups of people that individuals form outside their own conscious awareness. Everyone holds unconscious beliefs about various social and identity groups, and these biases stem from one’s tendency to organize social worlds by categorizing.

  • Avoid unconscious bias in the interview setting. Understand how unconscious bias may affect important interviewing decisions for committee members and those who interview.
  • Below are some resources to help you become more aware of the different ways unconscious bias can affect the way you hire:

Required training: All hiring managers, search committee members and anyone participating in one or more of the functions of the selection process are required to complete the following two e-courses:

ROLES: Hiring Manager, Chair, Committee

Role of the Hiring Manager:

The hiring manager plays an essential role in the interviewing process. The hiring manager selects the interview committee members and appoints a chair of the committee who will work closely with the committee throughout the interview process. It is recommended that the hiring manager should not serve on the interview committee in order to ensure an unbiased screening process; however, hiring managers may choose to participate if desired. The hiring manager will also provide a charge to the committee, outlining specific requirements during the interview process. A typical charge will usually include the following points:

  • The key background and competencies necessary for the successful candidate.
  • Target dates for completing each stage of the interview process and the schedule of reporting.
  • The suggested number of candidates to be recommended as finalists.
  • The understanding that the committee does not select the hire, as selection of the successful candidate is ultimately the hiring manager’s decision.
  • Budget considerations regarding salary, travel for in-person interviews

Once the committee completes their work and recommends the candidates, the hiring manager completes the process by interviewing each final candidate, checking references, and making the hiring decision. The HR Contact is available to assist with this stage; provide guidance on interviewing, reference checking, salary setting and negotiation, and preparation of the offer letter.

The hiring department or interview committee chair may include an administrative support individual as a non-voting member of the committee to assist with any administrative responsibilities.

Role of the Chair of the Committee:

For consistency and efficiency, the committee chair should handle all inquiries regarding the interviews including any applicant or potential applicant’s written or verbal request for information about the search process or timelines. The committee chair is encouraged to work with the HR Contact for assistance if needed.

The primary responsibilities of the chair shall be to ensure that the best qualified candidates are considered and to:

  • Ensure development of interview questions, rating guides and other materials for the committee to use as part of their decision-making.
  • Guide the committee in developing and conducting the interviews.
  • Oversee the professional and timely operation of the committee.
  • Ensure active participation by all committee members.
  • Guarantee an opportunity for all qualified candidates to receive committee consideration.
  • Work with the HR Contact to ensure that effective recruitment mechanisms are utilized and that the committee is provided information relevant to recruitment of underrepresented groups.
  • Ensure that complete records of meetings and actions are maintained.
  • Maintain confidentiality of committee deliberations, communications with, and identity of candidates.
  • Ensure that financial expenditures generated by the committee are approved prior to their obligation.
  • Report to the supervisor, hiring authority or HR Contact the deliberations of the committee, divisions of opinion, and information compiled about the candidates. The chair should immediately report any difficulties which threaten the committee’s successful operation.
  • Make arrangements for a feedback meeting between the supervisor or hiring manager and the interview committee at the conclusion of the committee interviews.
  • Compile the committee final report summarizing the process for submission to the hiring manager and HR contact.

Charge of the Committee

The charge of an interview committee is to assist the hiring manager by interviewing qualified candidates and presenting the top finalists to the hiring manager. The finalists will move forward for more interviews with the hiring manager and others as appropriate.

The hiring manager may also ask the interview committee to assist with the development of the job description as well as the interview questions.

Role of the Committee

The committee is responsible for interviewing candidates, assessing their qualifications and determining which candidates should be moved forward to the hiring manager for further consideration. It is recommended that an HR contact serves as a member of each committee to assist the chair and provide consultation and advice on the overall process and best practice outcomes.

The committee must also be aware of the University’s commitment to diversity and ensure equality and inclusion within the interview process.

Interview Committee Size

It is recommended that committees are between 3 to 10 participants, depending upon the position under recruitment. Larger committees become difficult to organize and can be daunting to candidates.

Selecting Interview Panels and Search Committees

Interview panels usually work with the hiring manager to interview job candidates and make a selection.

Search committees work independently from the hiring manager to screen, interview, and recommend job candidates for a final selection

Form a diverse interview panel or search committee

  • Consider individuals that are experts or have direct or indirect experience in the field you are recruiting for
  • Consider individuals inside and outside the department
  • Diversity and equal representation amongst your committees can provide the following benefits:
    • Fewer overlapping biases (especially in-group and affinity biases
    • Reduced likelihood of groupthink
    • Increased ability to recognize each other's biases
    • Signals to prospective candidates that your organization truly values diversity and equity
    • Can provide awareness of, and access to, diverse networks from which to draw talent

Invite individuals to become members of the interview panel or search committee

  • Early in the process, identify an individual to serve as chair for the interview panel or search committee
  • Give interviewers an idea of how much time they'll need to commit to the process
  • Ask for each member’s commitment to completing the entire process. Explain that if they miss an interview, it's likely their evaluation will not be considered in making the final decision, so they must commit to the entire process

Meet with the panel or committee members to explain process, timing, and objectives

  • Before the meeting, plan the overall process with the chair in partnership with your departmental HR Contact and Campus Human Resources Talent Acquisition Advisor
  • In the meeting, present the panel or committee with the process, providing information on their duties, requirements, timing, and other details
  • Explain the interviewer's duties, if applicable:
    • Screening resumes
    • Participating in each round of interviews
    • Providing input to the final selection
    • Clearly define your expectations for the committee, including:
      • The selection criteria you'll be using
      • The qualities you're looking for in a candidate
      • Your expectations for the screening and interview process, e.g., when you want to receive recommendations
      • The form in which you expect to receive recommendations, e.g., a ranked or unranked list, ratings, or narrative comments

Provide each interviewer with appropriate resources

  • Give each interviewer copies of all materials you create that relate to the hiring process, including the job description and position criteria
  • Before each interview, provide interviewers with copies of the candidate's resume and other application materials

Involve the interviewers in the selection process

  • Ask interviewers to collaborate in developing:
    • Selection criteria
    • Interview questions

Note: During each interview, follow the same format, and have a set established interview questions.  Remember anything that a candidate included on his/her resume that is job related may be asked to be expanded upon that may not be in the set questions.

After the process is finalized, send a thank you note to each panel or committee member.

Interview Questions Library

Download the Interview Template and select competency-based interview questions from an extensive library. This template is updated periodically.

Conducting the Interview

At time of interview, the Interview Committee makes up the Interview Panel. At the beginning of the interview, each panel member should introduce themselves to the candidate. The chair should describe the format of the interview to help make the candidate comfortable. The interview should be a conversation with each committee member asking previously developed questions. Behavior-based questions are recommended allowing the candidate to do most of the talking and describe his/her behavior in a particular situation. An example of a behavior-based question is: “please tell us a time when you made a mistake at work”. Past performance is a predictor to future performance and allows one to assess how they will handle similar situations in the future.

Questions that cannot be asked

There are a number of questions that cannot be asked during an interview. These questions generally relate to a candidate’s race, color, religion, age, sexual orientation, disability, gender and national origin.

Virtual Interviews

Virtual or web-based interviews have become more common-place in order to save travel expenses and time. Hiring managers may choose to ask the committee to interview candidates virtually for these reasons. When conducting virtual interviews, committees must follow the same guidelines and processes that are required for onsite interviews. It is permissible to interview some candidates on-site and some virtually if necessary. The rationale for this may be that one or more candidates cannot travel to the location and/or the hiring manager may not have funding to pay for travel and lodging expenses. Tips to keep in mind when conducting virtual interviews are:

  • Virtual interviews are ideal for senior-level professional or managerial positions, especially for candidates that are outside of the region or outside of California.
  • Notify the candidates in advance that you would like to interview them online; make sure that is acceptable to them.
  • Prior to the interviews, formulate questions that will be asked of the candidates so everything runs smoothly.
  • Inform the candidates of the approximate length of the interview.
  • Allow time for the candidates to ask questions.
  • Follow all appropriate policies, procedures and affirmative action/EEO guidelines during your interviews.

Recommending Finalists to the Hiring Manager

The final recommendation(s) are made only after all qualified candidates have been interviewed. The recommendation is based on the initial direction provided by the hiring manager. Recommendations must be kept confidential. As stated previously, it is the hiring manager or HR Contact’s role to check references after obtaining approval from the final candidates to do so.

Once the recommendations have been made, the committee has fulfilled their obligations.


Protecting candidate confidentiality is one of the committee's most important responsibilities throughout the search process. Other University employees outside of the committee are also expected to honor these confidentiality guidelines.  The following confidentiality guidelines should be followed.

  • Do not disclose the names of the applicants/candidates.
  • All discussions among committee members are confidential.
  • Do not discuss the interview process, results or deliberations outside of the committee.
  • Keep candidate information in a confidential file that can be locked.
  • Committee members are not to contact anyone they may know to get an informal reference about a candidate.
  • Confidentiality breaches should be disclosed to the committee chair or HR Contact immediately.

Records Retention

Interview notes, rating guides and any materials from the interviews should be given to the HR contact or designated recruitment record keeper for storage with the recruitment materials for a total of three years.

For more information about UC San Diego's full interview, selection process and best practices, in addition to the Managing Implicit Bias in the Hiring Process required training please also review the following eCourses available via the UC Learning Center:  

For more information, reach out to your Talent Acquisition contact in Human Resources