Summarizing An Interview

A checklist can help you stay on top of all important factors of the job.
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Interviewing job candidates can put a damper on your otherwise happy-go-lucky work routine -- and having to to share the information with others adds a whole new layer of responsibility. If you have to interview candidates and then summarize their qualifications for other members of the staff, set yourself up for success by doing some legwork ahead of the interviews. As you create the summary, put yourself into the shoes of others who will read it, making sure you've included all the necessary information someone would need to know to make an informed decision.


    It's important to have a protocol for how you're going to evaluate each candidate and compare them to one another. Before the interviews, create a checklist or evaluation form that includes important factors -- such as specific skills, demeanor, dress or timeliness. Next to each factor, include a rating between 1 and 5, where "5" is excellent and "1" is very poor, for example. During the interview, circle the number you feel the candidate deserves in each category, and make brief notes next to each category. That can serve as a "cheat sheet" for creating a summary later on. When it's time to write the summary, break the summary into several headings based on details important to the job.


    Whatever the job, one of the most important things you'll want to know is whether the person has the skills necessary to do the job. During your interview, you should have spent some time talking with the candidate about how she's obtained the necessary skills, or how she uses certain skills to carry out her work. On the summary sheet, create a paragraph heading called "Skills." Then review your checklist or evaluation form -- as well as your notes -- to write a paragraph summarizing the skills the candidate has -- or doesn't have -- and why those skills make her a good or bad candidate.

Cultural Fit

    Every business has its own culture and way of doing things; some favor creative, independent workers, others need workers who are committed to following specified directions to the letter. During the interview ask questions about the person's working style, her ideal working environment, and her favorite tasks or future goals to get a sense of whether the person is a good cultural fit. In the post-interview summary, create a "Cultural Fit" paragraph heading and then point out a few key details of why the candidate fits into the corporate culture, or why she doesn't.


    She may have the skills, education and mindset to do the job well, but often, the little things can help sort a good candidate from an even better one. On your checklist, you may consider whether the candidate came to the interview dressed in an appropriate manner, whether she arrived on time, and the nonverbal cues she gave about her interest and commitment to the job. During the summary phase, create a paragraph heading titled "Etiquette" and then provide details about the candidate's attire, her body language and any other outstanding details about her demeanor or attitude.

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