Interviewing - Successful Selection

by Jane Tredgett

Taking notes

It is important to keep accurate legible notes to refer back to. This helps you to

  • Make better decisions
  • Explain to others how you came to your conclusions
  • Show that you did not discriminate, if challenged at a later date.

When making notes, try to ensure they are legible, as it may be some time before you get to fully review them.

If you have a co-interviewer, it may be easier if one asks the questions and the other is appointed as note taker.

If you are interviewing on your own, prepare really well so that you only need to take very concise notes during the actual interview. If you are writing all the time, you won’t be able to concentrate on what the person is saying and may miss vital body language clues.

Note down your first impressions of a candidate. This can be particularly useful if the vacancy is for a customer-facing position.

Try to capture example scenarios that the candidate provides to demonstrate the required qualities so that you can reflect more fully on the answers later.

Beware of making any observations that are of a personal or judgemental nature in case the interviewee or other candidates see them.

If a candidate accuses you of discrimination, the notes may be a vital piece of evidence. It is, therefore, important that they are non-discriminatory and very factual. They should give clear indications as to why a selected candidate was chosen over an unsuccessful candidate.

Rating scales

Sometimes it can be helpful to use a rating scale for each required quality, for example:

  1. Shows no evidence of the skill/experience
  2. Shows some evidence of the skill/experience
  3. Shows full evidence of the skill/experience.

In addition, it’s useful to include a column to note down examples given by the candidate.

The advantages of a system like this are

  • It simplifies note-taking
  • There’s greater consistency
  • It’s quicker to implement
  • It makes the decision-making process more effective.