Interviewing - Human Resources - Newcastle University

9. Interviewing

Useful preparation

  • interview panels need to be appropriately constituted and should reflect diversity, for example ensuring there are men and women represented on the panel, as well as reflecting a range of experience
  • make arrangements for a member of staff to take copies of qualifications outlined on the person specification and proof of eligibility to work in the UK
  • planning a structure in advance
  • preparing evidence-based questions which seek examples of past performance
  • Chairs of selection/interview panels should always request that members of the panel declare any conflict of interest before proceeding with the interviews
  • questioning all candidates on the same broad subject areas
  • using lots of probing follow up questions to elicit evidence of the candidates’ ability to meet each of the criteria on the person specification
  • taking detailed notes so you are able to review and evaluate more carefully their responses after the interview

Useful documentation

It may be helpful to have to hand copies of:

Interviewee Expenses

Claim forms

All expenses claims must be supported by receipts, so candidates are advised to send their claims form into the department after the interview.

Questioning strategy

The panel should take time to plan the questioning strategy in advance. The requirements of the post should have already been identified in the person specification. The questions should be written down with the interview notes.

Standard Questions with Success Factors (PDF, 119KB)

Advanced Questions with Success Factors (PDF, 100KB)

Interview questions pro-forma (Word, 63KB)

Questions with Success Factors

Standard (PDF, 119KB)

Advanced (PDF, 100KB)


The basic rules for avoiding claims of unfair discrimination at interview are:

  • Ensure that all your questions are based on objective criteria
  • Do not ask questions that are not relevant to assessing the candidate’s suitability
  • Do not ask questions of only one group of candidates
  • Do not make assumptions (for example that someone of a particular sex or race will not fit in with the rest of the staff, or that a disabled person will take more time off sick than other staff)
  • Do not apply stereotypes (for example that an older person will not be quick to learn new skills, or that childcare will be a woman’s responsibility)

Where you have a particular concern, or feel it is important or relevant to ask about something that may be potentially discriminatory, please contact your HR team for advice well in advance of the interview.

Scheduling Interviews

The e-recruitment system should be used for arranging interviews and inviting candidates.


A minimum of one reference should be requested and this MUST be the most recent manager.

  • For former Newcastle University employees, a reference MUST also be sought from their last University manager/supervisor.
  • Where a shortlisted candidate has only been in their current position for a short period of time, it may be appropriate to also seek a reference from the manager immediately prior to their most recent manager.
  • Where a candidate has been in full time education, it may be appropriate to seek a reference from their tutor.

Where permission has been given, references for shortlisted candidates should be requested at the earliest opportunity using the bulk referencing function on e-recruitment. Some applicants expressly indicate that existing employers are not to be approached before the interview. This request must be respected. References will be requested by the HR team where vacancies are being administered centrally.