Hiring Manager Interview Checklist


At the start of any new year, you can barely move on the internet without bumping into an article on how to find a new job and how to perform at an interview. That’s all well and good since, of course, January is typically a time for fresh starts and recruiting. However, if you’re on the hiring side of the table, what about tips for when you are the interviewer or Hiring Manager? 

All too often, heads of department or managers find themselves interviewing for their team with little to no training on how to effectively interview a potential colleague. Even if you’re using a recruitment agency, you still have a responsibility to ensure the hiring process is fair and effective. That’s why we’ve created this definitive Hiring Manager Interview Checklist.  

The checklist

It’s a 15-point plan you can work through to make sure you create a positive recruitment experience for everyone involved. 

  1. Start with the end in mind – pinpoint when you want to have a new employee in post by and work backwards. This will determine your interview schedule time frames. Having a time frame and key dates keeps everyone on track. 
  1. Identify who should and who will be involved in the interview process and ensure that their availability corresponds with your time frames. Video interviewing has made this process much easier since it allows more diary flexibility. Also, remember to include sufficient time to debrief and make decisions after each interview. 
  1. Assuming you are using a recruitment consultancy, brief the recruitment company on your timings, so they know the milestones to work towards. 
  1. If necessary, decide and book your venue for the interviews and communicate this to relevant internal colleagues. If you need any equipment like a projector or flipcharts, make sure they are in the interview room or can be provided.  
  1. Discuss and agree with your colleagues on the structure and format of the interview and clarify everyone’s role in the interview process. If you are asking your candidate to prepare a presentation, decide on the brief and reason for the presentation. For example, is it to demonstrate their knowledge, present their expertise or what they can add to the organisation, or to determine their communication and management style? 
  1. Before the interviews, review the job description and decide on what questions to ask. Everyone should be asked the same or similar questions so they can be compared equally. Always include a series of rapport-building questions at the start of the interview. Decide who will ask which questions, who will kick off the interview and who will close it. The process should feel natural and conversational, but it’s useful to have designated roles in the interview to avoid any awkward moments! 
  1. Once you’ve decided on the format of the interview, brief your recruitment consultant on the interview format, including the required presentation if appropriate. 
  1. Check-in with your recruitment company and ask them to confirm that they understand the brief, the timelines and that they have communicated with and briefed the candidates accordingly. 
  1. Before you review your first CVs, decide on the shortlisting criteria – what are you looking for in your new recruit – is there a minimum level of experience or qualifications needed? Be careful of any unconscious bias at this stage; if needed, get some training! 
  1. Ideally, set aside a few consecutive days for interviews. Then on the day of the interviews, get prepared. Thoroughly review all the CVs for the candidates you will be interviewing. Make notes about any queries you may have or areas you want to ask more about—couple these with any notes made from conversations you have had with your recruitment consultant. 
  1. Decide which skills, experience and competencies are must-haves versus nice to haves and determine a scoring system related to these areas. Ensure your colleagues are aware of this to help remove any biases and to ensure an impartial approach to hiring. 
  1. After the interview or series of interviews, the internal hiring team should review the results of the scoring system and the interviewer’s feedback. Based on this, decide which candidates should progress to the next stage of recruitment and who has been unsuccessful. Typically, feedback would be given by the recruitment consultant you are working with. 
  1. If this is the final interview stage, work with your colleagues to decide what offer will be made to the successful candidate. Again, it is typical for the recruitment company to handle this. They can also advise about the package you are offering and whether it is fair and in line with market expectations. Have a look at our salary and benefits guide if you need some pointers. (link) 
  1. Finalise the offer with your recruiter and the candidate, who will hopefully accept quickly, allowing you to take up any references or background checks as necessary and agree on a starting date. 
  1. Finally, it’s easy to think the process ends here, but remember to debrief with your recruitment company about the full recruiting process. What worked well, what could have been better, how will you approach hiring next time, what was the candidate feedback and experience like?  

If you’re in the fortunate and exciting position of having interviewed several exceptional candidates and you’re having difficulty choosing, remember there are options open to you. Firstly you could offer flexible working or a job share – many candidates would grab this opportunity. Or, if you have another role in your business or anticipate one coming soon, especially if your organisation is growing, then make another offer. In a skills-short market where great candidates can be hard to come by, don’t let them slip away!  

For any further advice about recruiting and hiring manager interview tips, feel free to contact the Membership Bespoke team