Step 6:  Phone, Video, or other Pre-Interview Options

Step 6 may not be necessary, depending on how many applicants were in the pool to start with, and the results of Step 5.  If your pre-screening and initial screening leave you with fewer than three or four viable applicants, you can possibly skip this step and move immediately to Step 7.    If, for example, however, you start with 100 applicants, have 40 screened out based on their system submission, and then have another 40 eliminated by the selection committee, you are still left with 20 applicants, which is typically too many to interview on campus.  The target number to pre-interview would be 5. 

Phone, Video, or other pre-interview options (e.g., reference letters, additional criteria, job or work samples, etc.) can help you manage your recruiting costs, and also can be very effective in differentiating among your remaining candidates.  As noted above, the “other pre-interview options” can vary significantly by position.  For instance, reference checks are required for Academic Affairs before bringing a candidate onto campus for an interview. Social media sites should not be used to screen applicants.  If you decide to check social media sites for information about applicants, the following steps need to be followed: 1) if you use social media, you must be consistent with your use for all applicants; 2) notify the applicant of your intention so they have an opportunity to remove identifying information about race, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, height, weight, marital status, familial status, handicap/disability, sexual orientation or veteran status of which you are not to be aware of as part of your decision making process; 3) if you find information that leads you to be concerned about a decision to hire, you must advise the applicant and ask for an explanation similar to what is done with a reference check issue; 3) talk with the applicant about any concerns/findings because information on social media sites could be posted by others or tampered with.  Phone and video  (or Skype*) options should follow the same general rules as regular interviews:  that is, they should be as consistent in form, function, and content for each applicant as possible.  It is at this stage that you can begin to assess some of the qualitative criteria or skill sets (oral communication, sense of humor, clarity of thought and reasoning, etc.) that was not able to be captured in Step 5.

(*Instructions for Skype can be directed to Max Graves, ext:  2912, Audio Visual Services.)


Once you choose the skills you want to evaluate (click here for Skill Definitions) then pick two or three behavioral based questions for each skill identified.  For behavior based interview question examples please click here.

Example: 

Attention to Detail – behavioral questions to ask would be: 

  • Describe the job that required you to pay the most attention to detail.  (If the candidate doesn’t get specific, asks specific questions so you have a complete picture of what is being described.)
  • Give us an example of a time when you needed to meet a deadline and how you insured the accuracy of your work.

Ability to Learn – some sample questions you might ask could be:

  • How did you gain the experience or learn the necessary skills to successfully perform your present duties?
  • What skill(s) have you found the most difficult to learn?  Why?
  • How best do you learn?  Where do you feel you have had the best learning atmosphere? Why?

See how you have gained an understanding of this individual just by these two skills?  Again, the key is to get a complete picture. 

These materials are a work in progress and continuously evolving based on your feedback and best practices.  Please forward your constructive comments and improvement suggestions to Julane Cappo, Assistant Director, at jcappo@nmu.edu.