Interviews and the Role of the Chair

  • An interview can be described as a ‘conversation with a purpose’.  At Brookes a traditional interview will nearly always form a core part of the recruitment and selection process.

    The Chair of the interview panel  is normally the recruiting manager/line manager. However, this may vary, depending on the specific circumstances of the vacancy. As lead representative of the University on the interview panel, the role of the Chair is to ensure that:

    • fair and equitable practice is positively promoted throughout all selection action and sound decisions are made in the selection of candidates.
    • selection action is non-discriminatory
    • selection action is conducted with integrity and any inappropriate behaviour is challenged.
    • all selection action is undertaken in accordance with University policy.
    • the University is promoted as an employer of choice, and even unsuccessful candidates are left with a favourable impression.
    • strict confidentiality is maintained at all times during the selection process

    The role of the Chair

    The responsibilities of the Chair include the following:

    Preparation before the interview (note some pre-interview preparation may be undertaken by the Recruiting Manager if they are not also the Chair)

    • Assessing the need
    • Reviewing/writing the Job Description and Person Specification to ensure fit for purpose
    • Writing the advert
    • Selecting an appropriate interview panel
    • Setting the recruitment timetable/timeline
    • Organising any skills tests
    • Undertaking shortlisting with at least one other panel member ensuring the shortlisting is carried out correctly
    • Returning shortlisting to HR with all necessary information, eg, interview schedule, details of any skills test etc.
    • To arrange a pre-interview panel meeting (prior to the interview day) to  discuss and finalise interview questions with panel members, including allocating questions to individual panel members
    • Housekeeping:
      • Check interview room and ensure layout is appropriate and any AV equipment is working if being used.
      • Check who is meeting and greeting candidates; overseeing any skills tests and giving feedback to the panel.
      • Arrange for a colleague to take photocopies of candidates passport /eligibility to work if practicable.
      • Ensure candidates are able to have a break between any skills test, and /or interviews and that the candidates knows where the facilities are and are offered a drink, etc.  
      • Arrange for candidates to be shown where they would be situated in the department/team if successful, etc.
      • Ensure water and glasses are available for candidates and panel members
    • Panel to meet 30 minutes prior to first interview to:
      • Check that all the panel members have read and understood the information they have been given.
      • Ensure water and glasses are available for candidates and panel members
      • Agree note-taking responsibilities either shared or a designated note-taker (it is imperative that notes are taken during the interview and submitted with all the paperwork to HR at the end of the process).

    Opening the Interview

    • Greet the candidate, thank them for coming and introduce them to the members of the panel.
    • Explain the overall process to the candidate, including explaining that s/he can expect members of the panel to take notes as they speak.
    • Ask an opening question designed to relax the candidate and help them overcome their nerves.

    During the Interview

    • Make links between the questions as required, managing the ‘flow’ of the interview.
    • Monitor the process and intervene if a member of the panel asks an inappropriate and/or potentially discriminatory question.
    • Help the panel to keep to time including ensuring that the candidate has sufficient time at the end to ask questions.

    At the end of the Interview

    • Give candidates the opportunity to ask questions and be prepared to answer their questions around both the role and the department as well their contract and working at the University as a whole.
    • Promote the benefits of working at Brookes.
    • Ask the candidate their earliest start date should they be successful
    • Bring the interview to a close by thanking the candidate for their time and explain the decision-making process and how and when the candidate will be informed of the outcome.

    See also Decision Making and Making and Offer of Employment - for additional Chair responsibilities

    The Role of panel Members

    The main role of panel members is to measure the performance of candidates against objective interview criteria based on role requirements and input to the appointment decision in conjunction with the other panel members.

    Panel members will:

    • commit the time needed to study the applications and fully participate in the recruitment and selection  process, including attending pre-interview meeting(s)
    • in discussion with the Chair, help compose questions for the candidates based around the Person Specification, and will agree a set of questions they will be responsible for asking each candidate.
    • ensure fair and equitable practice in their actions, and all panel members are encouraged to be aware of their own biases and to challenge any biases and assumptions made by fellow panel members.
    • to listen and to keep good, factual notes
    • to contribute constructively to the decision-making stage
    • if necessary, to join post-selection meetings.