The following topics are intended to clarify the legal points in the interview process and to improve the overall quality of interviews. If you have questions arising from the use of this guide that need further clarification, please call the Human Resources Department concerning applicable policies and procedures, 402-472-3101.

Preparing for the Interview

In most cases, by the time job applicants reach the selection interview, they have already passed a careful evaluation of their education and experience and are considered to possess at least the minimum qualifications necessary to be successful in the position.

Purpose of the Interview

The purpose of conducting interviews is to collect information on the applicant's job-related knowledge, skills and abilities, which should be helpful in selecting the individual most likely to succeed on the job. The applicant should be evaluated based upon the duties of the position, suitability to your department's needs and job performance expectations.

Validity of the Interview

Keep in mind that the validity of the interview is based on the extent to which it predicts how successful the applicant will be on the job.

Interview Strategy

A selection interview that follows a standard outline will produce more reliable and valid information than an unstructured interview, and is less likely run into problems with laws and regulations governing the selection process.A good strategy is to structure the interview as much as possible while tailoring it to each particular search process.

Know the requirements of the job. List the specific tasks to be performed on the job, as well as methods, techniques, technology and tools/equipment used to accomplish these tasks. Make note of unusual working conditions and other specific demands of the job, in order to adapt the interview to elicit relevant information.

Develop your questions well in advance and relate those questions to the requirements of the job.

Ahead of time, review the application/resume and any other material that would be useful in understanding the applicant's background so you do not have to refer to this information constantly during the interview.

All hiring officials and staff directly involved in screening and interviewing must attend Search Process Training within the past three years to be certified.

Scheduling the Interview

Interviews can be scheduled via telephone, web conferencing, or in-person. For "short list" candidates that require travel to be interviewed, telephone or web conference interviews may be conducted prior to an interview on campus. It is recommended that all "short list" candidates be interviewed in the same manner. 

Conducting the Interview

Now that you have prepared yourself by reviewing specific requirements of the job and thoroughly familiarized yourself with your applicant's background, you are ready to begin the actual interview.

Establish rapport

The climate created in the interview is important and an applicant's apprehensiveness can hinder the flow of useful information, for this reason try to set a tone for a friendly exchange of comments and allow communication to develop freely in order to build mutual confidence.

Explain purpose and set agenda

Let the applicant know the order of things to occur in the interview. This puts you in control of the interview by providing a "road map".

Describe the job and organization

An interview is a two-way process. There are details the applicant needs to know about the position, your department, salary information, training opportunities, etc., that will aid the applicant later to make an informed decision on the acceptability of the position.

Ask effective and legal questions

Open-ended "why", "how", "what", "describe" or "tell me about" will yield more answers than closed-ended questions.Ask applicants examples from past (work) history that will reveal areas of knowledge, skills and abilities required for them to be successful on the job. Your purpose is to obtain a balanced picture of the applicant's qualifications and job motivation without prompting applicants to produce responses that they think you want to hear. We have created an assortment of general, behavioral, situational and competency-based interview questions, which you can choose from, based upon your interview strategy.

Gather and evaluate predictive information

Here is where the skills of listening, probing, reflecting and evaluating come into play (a common error of ineffective interviewers is that they concentrate exclusively on the questions they intend to ask).Your job is to listen, probe and evaluate job information that can predict future performance.

Allow the applicant to add information and ask questions

Provide the applicant an opportunity to summarize his/her strengths and ask questions about the position.

Conclude the interview

Thank the applicant, outline what will happen next and give the applicant an appropriate date by which you will make your decision.


Candidate Assessment

The goal here is to make a careful hiring decision and avoid hiring mistakes that cost time, money and create frustration.There are several ways to assess candidates, here are some suggested key areas you may want to consider for each candidate:

  • Competence: Does the candidate have the core skills to perform well?
  • Experience: Does the candidate have the needed experience to succeed on the job?
  • NU Values: Does the candidate exhibit the key behaviors for the job family/zone of the job?
  • Interpersonal Skills: Can the candidate get along well with other team members?
  • Adaptability: How has the candidate dealt with change?
  • Focus: Does the candidate have purpose, direction and goals that mesh with your Department's?
  • Initiative: Will the candidate take action?
  • Attitude: Does the candidate project an optimistic, positive and professional self-image?
  • Commitment: Does the candidate have the desire, willingness and motivation to accomplish tasks?
  • Integrity: Will the candidate be honest and trustworthy?

Final Candidate Selection

The hiring authority will determine which candidate(s) will move forward in the selection process. Reference checks may be completed on the top candidate(s) to narrow down to the final candidate. A reference check must be completed on the final candidate.