The interview is one of the most critical stages in the evaluation process as it can help ensure the best-qualified candidate is hired for the position. While the purpose of the interview is to collect additional information about the candidate’s job-related experience, knowledge, and skills, it is also an opportunity for the candidate to evaluate the unit and the University. Please review the following requirements and recommendations for creating a welcoming, inclusive, and successful interview process.

For additional information related to the below tabs, please see the CSU Search Manual.

What is implicit bias?  

  • A form of bias that occurs automatically and unintentionally (unconsciously), that nevertheless affects judgements, decisions, and behaviors.  Implicit biases can be positive or negative.    

Why does it matter? 

  • Research has shown implicit bias can pose a barrier to recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce. 

What can you do? 

  • Be aware of your biases. 
  • Define how applicants will be assessed based on job-related qualifications.  
  • Keep application reviews and candidate interviews focused on job related factors. 
  • Involve at least one other person in the interview process (in addition to the hiring authority). 
  • Ensure all questions are job related and utilize a core set of job-related questions for all candidates.
  • Document questions and candidate responses in the interview process. 
  • Be consistent across candidate interviews. 
  • Think through all information before making a decision.

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A standard, pre-established interview format with identical questions for all candidates reduces interviewer bias and promotes diversity. Questions should be job-related and focus on candidates’ past work experience and performance. Please review questions ahead of time to ensure they will not have the effect of screening out or discouraging individuals who identify as female, ethnically/racially minoritized individuals, veterans, or individuals with disabilities.

Behavioral interview questions can be useful tools to evaluate candidates’ non-technical skills and qualities. Common themes include how the candidate learns from past experiences, collaborates with others, helps create an environment that promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion, and motivates team members. For sample behavioral interview questions, please use this Behavior-Related Interview Question Generator:

Please also review the list of appropriate and inappropriate questions to ask during interactions with candidates, and also make sure that anyone involved in the interview process has reviewed this list.

A standardized interview format that uses job-related criteria helps ensure that candidates are evaluated equitably and consistently.

All participants in the interview process must be on guard against biases that may unconsciously impact their evaluation of a candidate. To avoid the “just like me bias” and other pitfalls in the evaluation of candidates, please be aware of your own biases, and understand the value of diverse teams and CSU’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. It is vital to eliminate from the evaluation process any stereotypical ideas based on a candidate’s race, age, creed, color, religion, national origin or ancestry, sex, gender, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, or pregnancy. Notions about an individual based on group stereotypes can erect barriers and lead to not considering the strongest candidate for a position. Applicants with disabilities must be evaluated in terms of the actual job requirements, with thought given to reasonable accommodations that can be made such that an individual with a disability may perform the essential functions of the position.

Please document all interview questions, responses, and assessments to accurately demonstrate the decision-making process. Please also be mindful of the things that can and cannot be considered:

When planning the interview:

  • Plan the interview ahead of time and provide the candidate with complete information in advance of the interview. Share an agenda with the names and titles of the people they will be meeting with during their interview.
  • Share the name of the search contact that a candidate could reach out to should they need accommodations.
  • Be consistent. What you do for one candidate, make sure you do for others.
  • Use inclusive and nongender-based language in the interview questions and communication inviting candidates to interview.
  • Involve at least one other person in the interview process. For some positions, it may make sense to use a full search committee, while others may qualify for an accelerated search. Work with your unit’s leadership and HR team to determine the appropriate search process and stakeholders to involve in the interview.
  • Keep accessibility in mind.
  • When inviting candidates to interviews, acknowledge that a quiet video interview space with a polished backdrop is a privilege that not everyone has access to or acknowledge that it is okay to have a dog bark or a wandering toddler in the background. Also, share with candidates that technical difficulties can be sorted out as not everyone may be as comfortable with the video interview setting.

When conducting the interview:

  • Before asking a question, ensure that it is essential to evaluating the candidate’s qualifications for the job and will not have a disparate effect in screening out candidates with protected identities.
  • Be consistent, using a standardized interview plan for each candidate.
  • Try to put the candidate at ease. Create a welcoming and inclusive environment that allows candidates to show their strengths.
  • Ask open-ended behavioral questions, and follow-up questions to clarify ideas when necessary.
  • Level the playing field during video interviews. If technical difficulties become a challenge, assure the candidates that we can figure them out and it will not impact their candidacy.
  • Consider turning on captioning during video interviews and placing the questions in the chat as each question is asked.
  • Keep an open-mind and allow the interviewee to paint a picture of their skills, experience, and interest for you. Hold off on making comparison and do not jump to any immediate conclusions.
  • Listen and engage actively.
  • Introduce everyone in the room or in the video interview and how their roles work with the position.
  • Ensure everyone involved in the interview process has reviewed the list of appropriate and inappropriate questions to ask.
  • Document all questions and candidate responses.
  • For interviewing candidates with any disability:
    • First, ensure that interviews, presentations, lodging, and dining arrangements are Use the term “accessible parking” rather than “handicapped parking.” Before an offer of employment is made, do not ask a candidate questions regarding:
      • the existence of a disability;
      • the nature of a disability;
      • the severity of a disability;
      • the condition causing the disability;
      • any prognosis or expectation regarding the condition or disability; or
      • whether the individual will need treatment or special leave because of the disability.
    • If someone requests an accommodation related to the search process, please make sure it happens and reach out to OEO if you have any questions.

When evaluating the interview:

  • Use the candidate evaluation tool for each step of the process, relying on job-related criteria, candidate responses and observed behavior. Avoid using terms like “fit” to describe whether the individual would be a great hire.
  • Be aware of biases, such as the “just like me” bias and ensure others participating in the interview process are aware of how personal biases may impact the hiring process.
  • If using video interviews, be aware that not everyone has access to a quiet, professional background or have experience with video calls, so please ensure that these factors do not impact their evaluation.
  • Wait to compare candidates. Evaluate them using the appropriate, objective, job-relate, pre-established job criteria first, and then compare candidates after all have interviewed.

For assistance in arranging a reasonable accommodation for an applicant or candidate, please contact the Office of Equal Opportunity at (970) 491-5836 or The Office of Equal Opportunity is also available to provide education in the area of disabilities.

Anyone taking part in the interview process, including search committee members and interviewers, must document their evaluation and assessment of each candidate in writing. This documentation demonstrating participants’ assessment of the candidates should be saved in the search file along and retained in the hiring department’s confidential records for a minimum of three years to comply with CSU and US Department of Labor records retention requirements. Should the process be challenged, this search file will serve as a permanent record of the interview and decision-making processes.

The following records must be retained either in TMS or separately in a secure location, such as a password-protected shared drive, Microsoft Team, or cloud-based password-protected folder:

  • Names of all members of the search committee or interviewers
  • Copy of the approved position announcement and advertisements.
  • Job description and selection criteria used to evaluate individuals
  • List and a copy of published advertisements and other publicity materials including a list of recruiting sources (e.g., conferences, meetings, networking listservs).
  • List of colleagues and professional organizations from which nominations were solicited.
  • List of all applicants and nominees.
  • Letters of recommendation received or materials created while conducting references, including notes taken.
  • Sample correspondence sent to applicants and candidates.
  • Copies of questions posed in the interview process and questions posed to candidates’ references.
  • All notes taken by any individual that participated in the search process and copies of search meeting minutes if minutes are taken.
  • Evaluation instruments used in the search process.
  • Information regarding reasonable accommodations under the ADA. Medical information should not be accepted.

Do not compile demographic information on the applicants such as sex, race, ethnicity, and veteran or disability status.