Rhona Barnett-Pierce

RHONA PIERCE

Photo of Rhona Pierce, a Black woman pointing t the title: HOW TO CREATE AN INTERVIEW PREP GUIDE FOR YOUR HIRING MANAGERS. NEWSLETTER #001

Today I want to show you how to create an Interview Prep Guide for your hiring managers.

When interviewers are prepped and have a plan, they’re less likely to go off script and let their biases take over. They’re able to base hiring decisions on solid info and not on gut feelings.

More often than not, candidates encounter:

  • Illegal/Discriminatory questions

  • Repetitive/Irrelevant questions

  • Interviewers that seem uninterested or unprepared

That’s why I take the time to create interview prep guides for my hiring managers.

But unless you have a template and a system, you’ll never have the time to execute successfully. That’s a big reason why most recruiters fail to prep their interviewers. And sadly, candidate experience is impacted negatively because of this.

83% of candidates say a negative interview experience can change their minds about a role or company they once liked. 

But it doesn’t have to be that hard. A good system can save you.

So today I’m showing you:

  • How to build the template

  • What to include

  • The workflow I follow to fill it out

Here’s how to do it, step by step:

Step 1: Design the template

The first thing you need to do is list out every single thing you could possibly include.

Next, narrow down that list to the things that help keep an interviewer focused on the goal.

You want this to be a short, easy-to-read document.

I focus on covering three main areas:

  • Candidate Information

  • Interview Format & Evaluation Criteria

  • Answers to FAQs

Step 2: Complete Company FAQs Section

Some of the sections in your guide will only change based on the role and not the candidate. Pre-fill those out so that you save time when customizing for each interview.

The Company FAQs section is one that I usually pre-fill. It rarely changes.

This section includes answers to questions I know candidates will likely ask. I want to make sure all interviewers are on the same page about things like next steps, company values, benefits, etc.

Here’s how this section looks:

Screenshot of the Company FAQs section. Shows a 2-column table with the following fields: Next Steps, Benefits & Perks, Company Culture Overview, DEI information

Step 3: Interview Info Section

The next section I focus on is the Interview Info Section. This section usually changes for each role and each type of interview. I typically create a template for each role and interview type to save time.

The only part of this section that will change for each candidate is the link to the scorecard.

Screenshot of the Interview Info section. Shows a 2-column table with the following fields: Link to scorecard, Interview format, Job Description snapshot, Evaluation criteria

This section also includes a reminder of the interview format, a snapshot of the Job Description, and a summary of the evaluation criteria.

This helps the interviewer stay focused and stick to the plan.

Step 4: Candidate Info Section

This section is the only one that is fully customized for each candidate.

I start with the basics, the candidate’s name and pronouns. I also include the phonetic pronunciation. You can use a free Chrome extension like Name Coach to generate it.

Don’t forget to include the candidate’s pronouns. My friend Kat Kibben wrote a great article explaining the importance of honoring pronouns at work. Read it here.

Additional information like a link to the candidate’s resume, LinkedIn profile, and portfolio website are also part of this section.

I recommend that you include instructions for your interviewer on how to honor any accommodations that the candidate has requested. Focus on specific instructions, not on the why behind the request.

So instead of saying: The candidate is hearing impaired, I say: Please turn on captions in Zoom.

The last thing I include is a summary of what I’ve learned about the candidate that isn’t on their resume. Highlight recent accomplishments and projects so that the team can have personalized conversations.

Here’s how that looks:

Screenshot of the Important Please Read section. Shows a 2-column table with the fields: Recent accomplishments & projects and Areas for clarification

Step 5: Share with the Hiring Manager

Once the interview is scheduled, I copy my template, change the file name, and customize it by adding the candidate-specific information. I have a section in my phone screen notes where I jot down notes that I then copy and paste into the guide. I get the rest of the information from the ATS.

I’ve even automated the extraction of the data from the ATS. If you’re interested in automating, you can book a call with me to discuss.

Once the file is ready, attach it to the interviewer’s invite and send it in a separate email as well.

Takeaway

The first few times, this will take a bit longer than your usual workflow, but once you’ve done it a few times, you’ll know how to structure your interview notes to easily copy and paste the info needed for the guide.

The benefits outweigh the extra few minutes it takes to create the guide.

When interviewers use the information in the guide, they can have conversations that feel custom to each candidate and avoid any biased questions.

The feedback from candidates is also very positive. They feel that the team listened to them, asked relevant questions, and truly listened to what they were saying.

Download the Template

You can download a copy of the template here.

See you next week!

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