How to Conduct Panel Interviews and Work with a Search Committee

The selection of search committee members, when a committee is used, is an integral part of the overall selection process. Committee members must have an excellent working knowledge of the position, either from a supervisory perspective, a peer perspective, or a customer perspective.

All members of the Committee should receive candidate profiles prior to any discussion of or interviews with candidates. In addition, all Committee members should receive copies of the job description, requisition, and any advertising used (if a Recruitment and Selection notebook is used, this will facilitate the process).

The Committee should elect a chairperson to oversee the entire process. The chairperson may be the hiring manager or in the case where the committee will make a recommendation to the hiring manager, someone with extensive knowledge of the position and the culture of the organization.

The Committee should have a clear charge and outline of its role: for example, if the hiring manager is part of the Committee, the Committee’s role might be advisory to validate the hiring manager’s opinion of each candidate; if, on the other hand, the Committee is evaluating candidates for the purpose of putting forth "top" candidates to the hiring manager for final interview with the hiring manager, the Committee may decide to take a different approach to the process.

Committee members should be encouraged to contribute ideas to the development of the interview questions and format.

Prior to the interview, the Committee should determine who will ask which questions and how follow-up questions will be handled. In addition, the Committee should decide in advance how candidate questions will be fielded; for example, by the Chair or by anyone who has something to contribute.

Candidate evaluations should be done independently and then discussed as a whole in the Committee. By first completing evaluations individually, a more meaningful review can then be conducted by the full committee.

If the Committee will be participating in the reference check process, clear directions should be given to the Committee by the Chair or the hiring manager as to how the reference checks are to be conducted.

The Chair or hiring manager should establish guidelines for candidate communication with any member of the Committee prior to or after the interview process.

Your Employment Consultant is available to help you design the Committee structure and process.

Campus Human Resources, Employment Services
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