How to Create an Interview Checklist for Employers

Interviewers create an interview checklist.

Whether you’re a business owner or hiring manager, an interview checklist will help you plan what you want to discover about candidates and how you’re going to do it. It also keeps you on task before, during, and after the interview, creating a more seamless and enjoyable process.

Use these suggestions to create a checklist that will help you assess job applicants thoroughly and accurately. You can use all these suggestions in your checklist or mix and match as you see fit.

Before the Interview

These pre-interview tasks will ensure that you’re able to assess the candidate.

  1. Check in with recruiters and the team. Get up to speed on the tasks, team structure, and job requirements of the position. Agree on the details listed in the job description, such as the skills, experience, and necessary and preferred qualifications.
  2. Know the salary range, benefits, and perks of the position and whether there is room for negotiation. Keep in mind that the candidate may already know the salary range since in some states you’re required to list it in the job description.
  3. Create an interview evaluation form and rating system. This component of your interview checklist will keep the process consistent no matter who is interviewing the candidate. It will also help you compare candidates more objectively.
  4. Prepare your team. This comes in handy if you’re planning to conduct peer interviews. Make sure all interviewers know the details of the role and the hiring process.
  5. List out the questions you’ll ask. Focus on a mix of behavioral, situational, background, and follow-up interview questions so you can assess whether the candidate is qualified. Consider bulleting them out on your checklist so they’re easy to skim during the interview.
  6. Check questions with HR. It’s always a good idea to run your questions by HR to make sure there are no issues with discrimination or legality. It’s important for all of your questions to comply with hiring laws.
  7. Review the candidate’s resume. When you have an idea of the candidate’s background and skills, you can ask more specific questions about how the candidate might be a good fit. This will ensure you make the most of your time together.
  8. Create your pre-employment test. If you will be testing a candidate’s skills with an assignment, plan it out in advance.
  9. Brush up on your company and department. This will help you promote your employer brand and answer candidates’ questions.
  10. Decide on the structure and format of your interview. Will you be hosting a phone interview? Will it be in person? Know how you’ll interview the candidate and decide whether there will be multiple rounds.
  11. Schedule the interview with the candidate. Now that you have all the details ironed out, set up the interview and share the logistics with the candidate. Let them know the details so they know what to expect and can come to the interview prepared.
  12. Think about how you can make it a great experience for candidates. It’s essential to have a great candidate experience because candidates may share their experience with friends or on social media. Whether it’s taking more time to get comfortable or having a few extra icebreaker questions just in case, you want each candidate to walk away having a positive outlook about you and the job, team, and company.

During the Interview

Get the information you need and provide candidates with a great interview experience with these interview checklist items.

  1. Ensure you are in a distraction-free environment, such as a quiet office. The candidate should have your undivided attention. This will help them feel more relaxed and able to be themselves.
  2. Introduce yourself and explain what you do for the company and how your role fits into the bigger picture.
  3. Reiterate what you’re looking for by giving a brief overview of the important parts of the job description. Also share a bit about what it’s like to work with the company and team.
  4. Ask a few icebreaker questions, such as, “What made you apply for this position?” or “What interested you about our company?” so candidates can have a few moments to get into the conversation and feel more comfortable.
  5. Next, ask the interview questions you’ve prepared. This should be the bulk of the interview and how you determine whether the candidate has the right hard and soft skills to be successful.
  6. Ask if the candidate has any questions for you. Allow them to ask what they’re curious about regarding the team, role, and company.
  7. Inform the candidate about the next steps. If you need a week to evaluate candidates and get back to them, let them know. When will they hear from you? What will come after that? Be transparent about each step the candidate can expect to take in your interview process.

After the Interview

Your post-interview agenda should help you make your decision quickly. Here’s what to consider.

  1. Record your experience. Immediately after the interview, jot down your thoughts and fill out the evaluation form you’ve created while the interview is top-of-mind.
  2. Decide if you are going to schedule another interview based on the candidate’s performance and whether there are multiple rounds.
  3. Provide feedback to HR. Let your human resources team know how the interview went and your thoughts.
  4. Assign and evaluate pre-employment tests if you are doing so.
  5. Evaluate the results. Since you’ve been diligent about creating a seamless interview checklist and process, this part should be easy. Compare candidates and decide whom you want to move forward with.
  6. Consult with your team. Any hiring decision should also be discussed with your team. It’s a great opportunity to get feedback about how the candidate will or will not be a good fit.
  7. Call the candidate’s references. Be sure to call references for only the candidates you are extremely interested in. You don’t want to give a false impression of interest or waste anyone’s time — yours included.
  8. Make an offer. Now it’s time to relay the good news to the candidate and congratulate them. Don’t be surprised if they ask for time to consider their decision.
  9. Inform the other candidates. Once the job offer is accepted, you can let the other candidates know you’ve decided not to move ahead with their candidacy. Be gracious and thank them for all the time they’ve committed to interviewing with your organization.

Create an Interview Checklist to Find Your Next Great Hire

Now that you know how to conduct a job interview using an interview checklist to streamline your process, it’s time to find your next star employee. Start with a free job posting on Monster.