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Step 3: Interview Tools

Our goal is to ensure our hiring process supports our brand as an employer of choice and secure leading candidates while supporting the Ontario Tech culture and values. The interview process will involve the hiring manager, interviewee, and members of the selection committee for the respective job competition. The interview is facilitated to ask questions and obtain information from the interviewee. It serves as the mechanism for analyzing a candidate's job-related proficiency, skills and abilities. The assessment of the candidate during the interview stage can lead to a job offer. This exercise plays an important role in the recruitment cycle of a candidate.

Use this interview guide as a resource to go from conducting your best interviews to making remarkable hiring decisions.

The interview is an opportunity for the candidate to determine if Ontario Tech University is a good fit for them while we are determining if they are a good fit for the role we have posted.

Interview Preparedness - Be prepared to talk about the Ontario Tech culture, priorities, mission, vision, values, and organizational structure and why the candidate should join your team.

Committee Alignment - Ensure your interview panel has had an opportunity to understand the skills and behaviours you are looking for in an ideal candidate. Building a diverse team will help to bring new perspective, inspire creativity, and drive innovation.

Resume Review - Additionally, the same way that we expect candidates to come to interviews knowing something about our organization, we need to know something about them. Read their resume and cover letter. This way you can spend more of the interview time getting to know the candidate and learning more about their qualifications and past experiences.

Questions - The hiring manager is to select and create behavioural and technical questions that align with job competencies necessary in the role. Ask your candidate to respond to your questions using the STAR Interview Response Technique whenever possible. When a candidate responds using this format it makes scoring the interview question response simple.

  • Do not ask yes/no questions
  • Do ask open ended questions
  • Do prepare follow up questions
  • Do not ask more than one question at a time

BEST PRACTICE - for Answering Behavioural-based Interview Questions

Consider what is called the STAR Interview Response Technique which is a four-step technique for answering questions about past behaviours at work.

Situation - The candidate should describe the situation or set the scene. Explain the place where they were working, and who was involved.
Task - The candidate should describe the issue or problem.
Action - The candidate should describe the action they took to solve the problem. This should highlight the key skill they would like to illustrate.
Result - The candidate should describe the result their action generated. Explain how this result helped to solve the problem or improve the company.

Diversity & Culture - Be sensitive to issues related to cross-cultural communication. Example: Differences in greetings (handshakes).

Final Prep - Interview panel should finalize the flow of the interview and who will ask which questions, have a comply of the candidate resumes and interview guide for each candidate, and agree on how responses will be scored.

Conducting a successful interview will allow the hiring committee to assess how well the preferred candidate will do the job. The hiring committee will be able to obtain a sense of the intangibles, such as passion, initiative, goals, cultural fit and communication skills.

Welcome - It is important to create a comfortable and welcoming environment. The interview is an opportunity for the candidate to have a full understanding of the Ontario Tech culture and environment.

Introduction - To pu the applicant at ease, take the time to introduce each member of the interview panel. This will allow the applicant to feel comfortable and establish eye-contact. Please be sure to include names & titles.

Purpose - Explain that the purpose of the interview is to help us to better understand how their experience, knowledge, skills, and abilities will be best suited for the role.

Process - Explain to the candidates that the questions will be a mix of behavioural-based and technical questions directly related to the competencies of the position and that the committee is looking for STAR responses as much as possible. You can provide the STAR framework to the candidate. It is best for the candidate to respond with specific examples from their past work experience that would assist the interview panel in assessing their level of skill for the position. Advise the candidate that you will be taking notes throughout the interview to ensure details are not missed. Advise the candidate that they are welcome to take notes as well, as they will have an opportunity at the conclusion of the interview to ask any questions that they may have.

Closure - Provide the candidate with insight of approximate timelines or next steps prior to any final decisions regarding the specific job competition.

  • Example: Reference Consent Form, or 2nd interview with unit lead if required.

Be sure to THANK your candidate for their time to meet and participate in this interview.

  • Example: "We are still in the process of interviewing but expect to be complete on this round by <<DATE>>. We should be able to provide you with a status update next <<DAY>>. <<NAME>> may reach out to you for your references."

Upon completion of the scheduled interviews, the hiring committee should come together under the guidance of the Hiring Manager to provide final interview notes and evaluation on the candidate.

Interview Notes - Recruitment best practice is to ensure interview notes are dated, labelled and as thorough as possible. When conducting multiple interviews, it is most efficient to keep detailed notes for each candidate interview.

Evaluate - The interview panel should complete their assessment of the candidate based on the agreed upon evaluation criteria for all candidates interviewed. Remember the purpose of the interview is to assess how well the candidate can do the job.

NOTE: All interview notes and evaluations should be provided to the hiring manager to keep within the recruitment file.


Ontario Tech University is committed to providing accommodations during the selection process in accordance with the Ontario Human Rights Code. When scheduling the interview, ensure you ask if any accommodations are or if there are considerations that would make the interview more accessible.

We offer resources to assist managers in the process of providing accommodation to job applicants. Please visit the "Manager Resources" section of the Accommodation for Employees and Job Applicants with Disabilities page to view these resources, including the "Manager's Guide to Recruitment Process" and "Manager's Checklist for Supporting Job Applicants" documents.

If accommodations are required, please contact Julie Day, our Disability Management Specialist.

Conducting Reference Checks

The purpose of a reference check is to allow hiring managers the opportunity to speak with a candidates' past employer regarding work performance, education and experience. This exercise will further assist hiring managers to determine if the preferred candidate is most suitable for the open position.

The following documents will facilitate the reference checking process: