Interviews + Candidate Selection


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Treatment of External and Internal Candidates 

All candidates should be treated equally during their interviews and campus visits. When feasible, similar events should be scheduled, interviews with the same groups of individuals should be arranged, and an equal amount of time should be allocated for each candidate. Candidates internal to Stanford should be treated with the same consistency as those who are external to Stanford.

Interview Format

While a campus visit allows the search committee to evaluate the candidate, it also permits the candidate to judge both the search committee and Stanford.  An interview that is thoughtfully planned, that allows the candidate to present himself or herself in the best light and that elicits the information necessary for decision-making is the major element of a successful recruitment process.

Having a candidate visit the campus requires numerous arrangements, and it is important for the search committee chair to appoint someone to handle the logistics of the visit. These arrangements generally include travel planning, making hotel reservations, reserving meeting rooms, preparing schedules and itineraries for the candidate and members of the search committee, arranging escorts from place to place, organizing social events, coordinating catering, and processing reimbursements for travel expenses.

The candidate should receive a detailed schedule that identifies by name and affiliation each person with whom an interview will be conducted. To obtain maximum benefit from the interviews, the search committee should circulate to all individuals with whom the candidate will meet his or her curriculum vitae, a copy of the position description and a copy of the interview schedule. Faculty and other appropriate groups (e.g., medical students, residents, postdocs) should be encouraged to attend the candidates' presentations.

The search committee should devise a group of core questions based on the job-related criteria by which candidates are to be evaluated. These questions should be asked of all candidates, thereby allowing comparative judgments to be made. The Office of the General Counsel has developed some "Basic Interview Guidelines under Federal Law" which provide a summary of permissible questions and questions to avoid.

A sample interview schedule is available in the Letters, Templates, + Forms section of the Toolbox.

Candidate Information Packet

Departments are strongly encouraged to provide candidates with a packet containing information on the department, School, University and community. Such materials might include the departmental faculty profiles, academic planning documents, Stanford Medicine Magazine, Stanford facts brochure, campus map, a current issue of Stanford Report and links to pertinent websites.

The School of Medicine's Relocation Services Office should be used as a resource in providing information on housing and schools, as well as on guided overviews of cities and neighborhoods. The University's WorkLife Office is also a useful resource, especially for information surrounding child care issues.

Solicitation of External Letters

To maximize efficiency, further inform and validate the final search deliberations, and avoid delays during negotiations with the candidate of choice, the search committee should normally solicit evaluation letters from three external referees for each of its top one to three candidates. Letters may be solicited before or after on-campus interviews.  Please note that three letters of evaluation must accompany all draft offer letters submitted to OAA for the candidate of choice, so solicitation at this stage will accelerate the process. Note that letters should not be signed by the department chair or division chief. See the section on Evaluation Letters on the Search Reports page.

Dual Career Considerations

Many Stanford faculty members have spouses and partners with professional positions in higher education or in other fields. The Special Assistant to the Provost for Faculty Recruitment and Retention provides assistance to spouses or partners of new and current faculty in finding positions at Stanford and elsewhere. This assistance can include meeting with the faculty member, spouse or partner; referring the individual to others at the university who might be helpful; and providing information on web sites and other resources for finding open positions.

Post-Interview Deliberations 

Feedback from Interviews

The search committee should solicit written remarks from those who have met or interviewed candidates or attended any of the candidate's presentations.

Ranking of Candidates

The search committee should convene as soon as practicable after the completion of the interviews. Deliberations and decision-making should be informed by the quality of each interview, the feedback from those who met with or interviewed candidates, and the external letters of evaluation.

By University policy, search reports should include a list, in order of priority, of the finalists (i.e., definitive pool) for the position and an explanation as to why each of those, other than the appointee, was not selected for appointment. It is recommended that a draft report be prepared for review by the whole committee that includes an analysis of the background and qualifications for each of the candidates who were interviewed, their evaluation with respect to the search criteria, and the rationale for each candidate's ranking, and presents the case for the selection of the candidate of choice. The search committee may want to include its recommendation about how to proceed should the top candidate decline the offer.

Communication with the Candidates Not Selected

A member of the search committee should personally call or email all finalists not selected as soon as the candidate of choice has accepted the offer. This should be followed by a formal letter to those candidates not selected.  A sample letter is available in the Letters, Templates + Forms section of the Toolbox.

Communication with the Candidate of Choice

Communication with the candidate of choice should follow established departmental procedures that precede the formal extension of an offer. Regular, timely communication is essential to sustain the candidate's interest and increase his or her comfort level during the period that the search report is being submitted, the offer letter is being prepared and the appointment file is undergoing review.