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How to Use Interview Panels and Search Committees

Learn how to work with interview panels and search committees during the hiring process

  • Interview panels usually work with the hiring authority to interview job candidates and make a selection
  • Search committees work independently from the hiring authority to screen, interview, and recommend job candidates for a final selection

1. Form a diverse search and hiring 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

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

Early in the process, identify a chairperson 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

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

  1. Before the meeting, plan the overall process with the chairperson and your Human Resources recruiter
  2. In the meeting, present the panel or committee with the process, providing information on their duties, requirements, timing, and other details
  3. 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

4. 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

5. Involve the interviewers in the selection process

  • Ask interviewers to collaborate in developing:
    • Selection criteria
    • Interview questions
    • A format, such as a rating sheet, for interviewers to use in recording their responses
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 completing the interviews, ask the interviewers to assess each candidate individually
  • Take each interviewer's input into account when making your final decision

6. After hiring a candidate, acknowledge the contribution of the interviewers

Send a thank you letter to each panel or committee member.
For more information, reach out to your Talent Acquisition contact in Human Resources
Notice: The information on this page summarizes provisions of university policies and/or collective bargaining agreements. Refer to the Personnel Policies for Staff Members (PPSM) and local implementing procedures or applicable collective bargaining agreement for full text of referenced information.