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SCS Guidelines for Interviews

The SCS recognises that current hiring processes are equally likely to take place at a distance as in-person. Distance interviews are defined as interviews where the candidate and hiring committee are in separate physical locations and discussion is facilitated via the use of videoconferencing platforms or conference calls. In-person interviews are defined as interviews where the candidate and hiring committee are in the same physical location. The following guidelines are intended to promote transparency and equity throughout the hiring process, regardless of whether the interview is scheduled during the Annual Meeting or at another time.

Guidelines applying to both in-person and distance interviews

  1. It is expected that institutions will provide suitable premises for interviews and under no circumstances should a hiring institution locate in-person interviews in a bedroom. For distance interviews, if individual circumstances make it impossible for an interviewer or candidate to locate themselves in a private space that is not a bedroom, said room should be arranged and framed to be as neutral as possible.
  2. As far as possible, all candidates should be interviewed under the same conditions.
  3. Whenever possible, there should be at least 3 people (including the candidate) in an interview.
  4. All members of the interviewing committee should be introduced to the candidate.
  5. Candidates should be told in advance how long the interview will last and reminded of the length at the beginning of the interview.
  6. Candidates should not be asked at any stage in the process about their age, political views, marital status, family, race or national origin, disability, sex, gender, gender expression, gender identity, or sexual orientation. (These matters may, of course, be raised by the candidate in the course of their own enquiries.)
  7. Candidates should only be asked about their religious views if the interviewing institution has clearly indicated in its advertisement that the espousal of or willingness to accommodate religious views is a core part of the interviewing institution’s mission.
  8. Candidates should be allowed time to ask questions of their own.
  9. All parties should address each other in a courteous and professional manner.

Guidelines for distance interviews: Interview Committee

  1. When scheduling an interview candidates should also be notified of how long the interview will be, who will call whom, what technology will be used, and who will participate. Remember to take time zone differences into account (including the different start and end dates for Daylight Savings/Summer time).
  2. The interview committee should choose a remote-conferencing platform that allows every member to be seen/heard.
  3. Interviewers should ensure that all parties have access to the appropriate technology. If the chosen interview platform puts undue hardship on the candidate, the interviewing institution should be willing to consider alternatives.
  4. Candidates who have disabilities which have made known to the committee should be informed of their right to technological accommodations well in advance of the interview.
  5. The technology should be checked prior to the interview to ensure working order (e.g. online connection, audio, video).
  6. Someone needs to be assigned to send a reminder message to candidates and members of the interview committee a reasonable time prior to the start of the interview to ensure everyone is present.
  7. Distance interviews can be confusing if several people speak at once. It helps if the committee determines the order in which the interviewers will ask questions before the meeting starts.
  8. Physical cues are harder to gauge in distance interviews; verbal cues (e.g. “Thank you for that answer”) help smooth out the process.
  9. Candidates with minor hearing issues may be at a disadvantage. Consider using the chat function or text to type a question as it is asked in order to avoid misunderstandings.
  10. During the interview, all committee members should be present and visible/audible to the candidate.
  11. All parties should introduce themselves and confirm that the candidate can see/hear them.
  12. Interviewers should identify themselves each time they ask a question.
  13. Interviewers should remain present and engaged throughout the interview (e.g. no eating, checking email or leaving the meeting except in an emergency).

Guidelines applying to distance interviews: Candidates

  1. Make sure you understand the technological requirements for the interview.
  2. Make sure you have taken time zone differences into account.
  3. Conduct a practice interview with the help of your career centre, friend, or colleague.
  4. If you are doing a video interview, ensure that you have a reliable internet connection and a working camera function. Test your technology prior to the interview to ensure working order (e.g. online connection, audio, video).
  5. If you are interviewing by phone make every effort to use a landline. You will have a better connection than on your cell phone and there is less risk of the call being dropped.
  6. If you have a disability and require accommodations inform the interviewing institution as soon as possible in order to arrange alternatives.
  7. Have your application materials on hand for the interview. For ease of reference, print-outs are recommended.
  8. Let each interviewer finish their question before you begin speaking.
  9. Speak directly into your phone, headset, or microphone and make sure your interviewers can hear you. (N.B., Wearing headphones can help reduce audio feedback).
  10. It’s hard to gauge audience response online, so ask occasional questions to see whether or not the interview committee is following you. E.g., “Would you like me to expand on what I said?” “Was that clear?” (N.B., keep an eye on the time).

Tips on videoconferencing (Interviewers and Candidates)

  1. Do your best to remove all distractions and background noise (e.g. barking dogs, traffic noises, the presence of other people).
  2. Be aware of your surroundings and lighting. The best backgrounds are neutral (a plain wall) or professional (a bookcase). Avoid having a bright light directly behind you as it makes you difficult to see.
  3. Position your camera so that your onscreen image is forward-facing, not looking up your nose or at the top of your head.
  4. Make sure the interview is finished and the connection is cut before you do or say anything that is not appropriate for the other party to hear.