Checking all the boxes on the interview checklist for employers

There are two kinds of people in this world—habitual box-checkers and those who never met a list they liked. The fact is that checklists help to bring some order to our day. They also can be quite effective when hiring job candidates.

An interview checklist for employers can be easy to use, but the trick is knowing what goes in the boxes, how many to have, and whether you need to be thinking outside of them. As you go through the interviewing process for your next hire, here are a few guidelines to keep in mind.

What goes on the interview checklist?

Of course, any interview checklist depends on the employer and type of position. The checklist for an architect will be different than for a truck driver. But there are must-haves on every interview checklist for employers. Besides the obvious small talk, like “tell me about yourself,” you should be sure to ask the candidate:

  • Why are you interested in this job?
  • What attracted you to this company?
  • What can you do for the company?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What makes you the best fit for the position?

The interview will naturally cover a wider range of subjects that are specific to the job. The idea is to get specific information to assess the candidate’s qualifications, but also to give the candidate a chance to expound.

How many questions should you have on the interview checklist?

There’s no magic number of questions for an interview checklist, but it’s a good idea to have some open-ended ones. Leave room to test their soft skills, like problem-solving. One good answer to a difficult question can tell you more than a dozen answers to simple ones. For example:

  • Can you describe a time when your work was criticized?
  • Tell me about an assignment that was too difficult for you, and how did you resolve the problems you faced?
  • Give me an example of a time you made a mistake. How did you handle it?

The number of questions on your checklist will also be determined by the amount of time you have with a candidate. While you want to leave time for open-ended questions, you also have to keep an eye on the clock.

Here’s a tip to stay on time and avoid long-winded answers: Build a timeline into your checklist and, when an answer is going long, ask for a reference that you could follow up with on the topic. Not only can this keep answers short, but it also doesn’t come off as dismissive.

When do you have to think outside the boxes?

Good interviewing is more about being flexible than checking boxes. An interview checklist will guide your questions, but your most important interviewing skills are listening and observing. For example, you can learn a lot about a candidate who is:

  • Late to the interview
  • Dressed inappropriately
  • Talking too much
  • Being vague or non-responsive
  • Combative or defensive

It’s not a good sign if a job candidate exhibits these behaviors. To give them a chance at making it to the next round, you may ask them to explain. For example, sometimes a talker is just nervous. That makes sense for most people in an interview.

On the other hand, it’s hard to explain why somebody would wear flip-flops to an interview—unless it was for a lifeguard position. The good news is, if you don’t like the explanation, you can check that job applicant off your list.

Check all the boxes and hire the best employees with Monster as your guide

With an interview checklist for employers, you can check all the boxes in finding the best job candidates, but how can you find the right people to interview in the first place? That’s where Monster Hiring Solutions comes in. With expert recruiting tips and the latest in hiring trends and strategies, Monster can help make your company’s hiring and recruitment process a breeze.