What is an interview kit?
An interview kit is most often used during a structured interview, which follows a structured set of questions for all candidates. Interview kits include all the materials the interviewers need to conduct the interview, including the interview questions and a scoring sheet, so everything is ready to go for the interviewers. They simply open the interview kit and move through it methodically with each candidate.
You can create more than one interview kit to fit various types of interviews. Some companies use kits for the different stages of interviews, such as phone screening interviews, in-person interviews and second interviews. Others create kits for individual positions to fit the specific requirements of each job.
Interview kit software programs allow you to create a digital kit that everyone on the interview team can access. This makes it easier to compare feedback and work together to make a hiring decision. These programs often let you import the candidate’s resume, portfolio and other documents that might come in handy during the interview process. You also have the option to print the kit if you prefer a paper copy.
An alternative to creating an interview kit with software is developing an interview kit from scratch. Simply use spreadsheets or word processing programs to create the different components and fill them in on your computer or print them for the interview.
Why use an interview kit?
Creating an interviewing kit creates a standardized approach to the interviewing process. Having that consistency offers many benefits for the company and the candidates, including:
- Covering all steps during each interview to ensure you complete everything
- Having a fair, consistent interview process for each candidate
- Ensuring each candidate gets the same set of questions for an even comparison
- Rating each candidate using the same system for a more objective decision
- Keeping all interviewers on the same page with the interview process and needs for the job
- Ensuring good internal communication about the interview process
- Streamlining the interview process by having everything ready
- Allowing interviewers to focus on the answers instead of coming up with questions during the interview
- Gathering all data on the candidate in one spot for each review
- Keeping data organized and easily accessible after the interviews
- Following consistent interviewing practices, even when different managers conduct interviews
All those benefits add up to a better hiring decision. When you compare candidates equally and ensure you conduct thorough interviews, you’re more likely to choose a good fit for your vacancy. This can improve employee retention, which saves your company money.
What to include in an interview kit
The standard components of an interview kit are the same no matter who you interview. If you hire many different positions for your company, it’s a good idea to create an interview kit for each position. This allows you to customize the parts, especially the interview questions.
Include the following items in each interview kit:
- Instructions: Start with an instruction sheet that explains the kit and the interview process you’re using. Having explicit instructions allows any interviewer to pick up the packet and conduct the interview consistently.
- Interview prep: Include any steps required to prepare for the interview or special things to look for during the interview. You might note a particular qualification that’s important, for example.
- Job description: Having the job description handy helps the interviewers compare the candidate’s answers and qualifications to the job requirements.
- Candidate’s resume and documents: Include the application documents provided by each applicant for reference during the interview.
- Interview questions: Input all the interview questions into the kit. This ensures each candidate is asked all the questions in the same order. If it’s a panel interview, decide ahead of time who will ask each question.
- Scoring sheet: An interview scoring sheet allows the interviewers to record ratings for various skills and qualifications required for the position. It typically includes criteria, a rating system and space for comments. The scoring sheet helps interviewers consistently rank all candidates, which makes it easier to compare them and make a hiring decision.
Types of questions to consider including in an interview kit
Creating meaningful interview questions is a major part of developing the interview kit. Preparing questions in advance ensures you cover all qualifications for the job to get an in-depth look at each candidate. Having a mix of interview question types gives you a well-rounded analysis.
Types of interview questions to consider include:
- Verification questions: These questions focus on verifying that the candidate has the right qualifications for the position. Verification questions typically come at the beginning of the interview. They can be credential or experience verification questions. Credential verification questions cover topics such as education, training and licenses. For experience verification questions, you might ask specifics about previous jobs and experience in the field.
- Behavioral interview questions: Behavioral interview questions focus on how the candidate handled various situations in the past. The idea is that those past actions help predict how they’ll act in the future. Examples include asking the candidate about overcoming a difficult work situation, handling coworker conflict, developing a new skill or handling stressful situations.
- Situational interview questions: While behavioral interview questions focus on past experiences, situational interview questions are hypothetical situations to engage critical thinking skills. The questions ask what the candidate would do or how they would handle a certain situation, such as dealing with criticism from a superior or handling an upset client.
- Cultural interview questions: Cultural interview questions aim to determine if the candidate shares the values that make up your company culture and can add positively to the culture. Questions might relate to the culture at previous jobs and how the candidate liked it or what type of corporate culture they prefer.
- Case interview questions: These types of questions focus on a particular business situation. You set up the hypothetical scenario and ask the candidate how they would help the business handle the situation.
Tips for using an interview kit
Creating an interview kit can help you improve your interviews, but knowing how to use it effectively is key. Consider these tips to make the interview kit more effective:
- Get the entire interview team involved in creating the questions and establishing the criteria on the interview scoring sheet.
- Do a mock interview to test the process before using it with real job candidates.
- Follow the interview kit steps and questions precisely to get the benefit of consistency through all interviews.
- When you’re done with all interviews, go back through the interview kit to evaluate each candidate and compare the data about each person.
- Get feedback from other interviewers on how well the interview kit works.
- Modify the kit as needed to make it more effective.