MIT Selection Process
The process of interviewing
and selecting candidates can be broken into three phases: Pre-Interview
and Search, Interviewing, and Decision
Pre-Interview and Search Process
1. Define technical
and list core competency requirements for position and prepare
- Define and gain
understanding and consensus of the job scope and responsibilities.
- Define required
technical competencies and list core behavioral competencies.
- Prepare a search
plan using guidelines listed at
and utilize recruiting sources:
- Determine how the
job will be advertised (internal posting, ads, job fairs, headhunters).
- Define the roles
in receiving and screening resumes.
3. Obtain approval
for Search Plan:
- Submit to senior
officer of department, lab or center, and to Personnel Officer.
4. Screen resumes:
- Evaluate for required
education, experience, and technical competence.
- Decide who should
be invited for interviews.
5. Set up interviews:
- If you will be
interviewing as a team or committee, assign roles for conducting
the interview (i.e. who will probe for technical competencies,
who will describe the job to the candidate, who will ask about
for each interview:
- Review information
about the job opening and the required competencies.
- Review the candidates
- Clarify your role
with others on the team; decide which competencies you will
- Establish an informal,
- Make sure you and
the candidate are clear on logistics and timing. Say, "As
I understand it, we will have an hour together, then you are
to meet with..."
- Describe the format
of the interview.
8. Review the
candidates current job:
The purpose of asking
the candidate to describe his or her current (or most recent)
job is to:
- get him or her
talking, "warmed up";
- begin to get the
candidate focused on specifics;
- give you some context
for events that will be discussed later in the interview.
- Focus on what the
candidate is currently doing, or has done within the past two
- Use the resume
as a guide to ensure you have a clear picture of who this person
- Begin to train
the candidate to focus on specifics...
"What did you do as the task force leader, what was your
Confirm the candidates technical competencies:
Though you will have
an overview of the candidates technical competencies from
the resume, it can be worthwhile learning about key technical
competencies in greater depth. Here are some ways to do that:
- Verify education/training
received. For example:
"It says on
your resume that you have taken courses in Finance. What courses
did you take, when did you take them, what was the nature of
the training, and how well did you do?").
- Ask for a sample
or work, or ask them to demonstrate technical skill or knowledge
- Ask for a description
of work done. For example:
"Tell me about
a time you programmed a project in C++. Tell me about the requirements,
how you approached the task, what challenges you encountered,
and how it turned out."
You can also ask references
about technical abilities after the interview.
Obviously, when probing
for evidence of technical competencies, it is important to have
the interviewer be someone who can properly judge the competence
of others in the specific technical areas.
10. Ask behavioral
CompQuick for details.
Interviewing is a
two-way process. While your primary objective is to ensure that
you gain sufficient valid evidence to recommend the correct hiring
decision with a given candidate, it is also important to answer
that persons questions and present a positive image of yourself
and MIT. Therefore, it is important that you think through answers
to the questions that might arise, like:
me, why should I come to work here?"
The best answer to
that question is to answer honestly why you think the individual
should want to work at MIT. The answers you provide should reflect
your reasons for respecting MIT as an employer. Possible answers
- Environment of
learning, ability to try new things, be on the cutting edge.
- Freedom to work
on a variety of interesting things.
- Academia presents
interesting challenges and opportunities not available in the
- Belief in the MIT
mission and values.
- Pride at working
for a great institution.
- Collegial atmosphere.
12. Close the
Leave candidate feeling
positive about the interview process:
- Ask the candidate
if theres anything else he or she would like to know.
- Provide time for
the candidates questions.
- Ask in supportive
tone: "In closing, what else would you like us to know
- Clarify the selection
process and identify the next step(s).
- Thank the candidate
for his or her time.
- Before you leave
the interview process to move on to something else:
- Document enough
examples of the evidence to jog your memory. Too much
is better than too little.
- Rate the candidate
against each individual competency. Since multiple competencies
may be found in any story, look through all of the competencies
to see if you have gained evidence of other competencies, and
if so document this.
- Rate the candidate
against each competency based strictly on the evidence (what
he/she actually did/said).
all interviewers to compare notes and arrive at a select/no select
decision for each candidate:
- All interviewers
meet and compare evidence.
- Discuss and resolve
discrepancies of opinion.
- Discuss any other
concerns (e.g., salary demands, relocation, etc.).
- Evaluate the candidate
as a hiring risk (based on evidence or lack of competencies).
- Consider how realistic
"growing into" the job is - avoid hiring "potential"
for which you have no evidence.
- Consider the possibility
that none of the candidates are worth the risk.
- Selecting someone
with some limitations may point to early developmental efforts
or opportunities for early focus in setting performance expectations.
- Beware the halo
effect. Do not let strengths in one area make you wish to overlook
weaknesses in other areas. At the very least, you should see
some evidence of every core competency in each new hire.
15. Submit Post-Search
See the guidelines