The Hiring Process – Screening, Interviewing, & Job Offer

Screening Applicants
The purpose of screening applicants is to find the best possible candidate for the position you advertised. This can be accomplished by first determining which applicants meet all or most of the requirements you are looking for. Your goal at this point is to group together the highly-qualified applicants, those who are contenders, and those who are not qualified. This allows you to arrange interviews with the most qualified applicants first, and then move into the contenders if necessary. This saves time for you and the applicant.

Some items you should consider looking for in the screening process include:

  • Certification or degree – If the position requires a certification or a degree, this may be the first item you look for. However, unless the position requires a degree in a specialized area, such as medical, science or engineering, etc., considering experience in lieu of or in conjunction with a certificate or a lesser degree might provide you with a valuable employee.
  • Job experience – note if an applicant meets all or most of the job requirements, but doesn’t have years of experience, it may not be in your best interest to discount them. They may not have as much time, but they may be a better performer…longevity doesn’t always equal quality.
  • Gaps in employment – Until recently, this would have been a red-flag. However, over the past couple years there may be a reasonable explanation for a gap in their employment. Applicants may have been laid off or terminated due to circumstances beyond their control. They may even be coming back into the workforce after being retired.
  • Job hopping – Again, this may be a red-flag, but employees today are moving from job-to-job searching for the best fit for better benefits, compensation, and a better work/life balance.


After you have made your selection of candidates, the interview process can begin. Phone interviews are a great initial step and video interviews are becoming more common. However you wish to conduct your initial interview, it’s best, if feasible, to conduct an in-person interview at some point prior to making an offer. The applicant should be made aware of who they will be interviewing with and if they will be required to complete a skills assessment test. EAF members have access to our Hiring Process Toolkit. This Toolkit includes sample letters, interviewing checklists, sample questions, and much more. LOGIN to check it out.

Make sure you have the interview well planned in advance. Having a checklist ensures you know what questions to ask and what information you are looking to extract from the applicant. It also keeps all interviewers on the same page to provide a uniform question and answer setting. Make sure all interviewers have been trained on your full hiring procedure. They should be familiar with the recruiting, selecting, interviewing and onboarding processes.

NOTE: Medical inquiries cannot be asked on the application or during the interview process so you cannot ask whether they need an accommodation or what their medical condition is. If the applicant volunteers information about their medical condition, stop them immediately and let them know they don’t need to discuss that at this point. You can however, inquire about an applicant’s ability to perform specific job-related functions or require the applicant to take a test that is specifically associated to the position. Tests must be developed by a reliable, professional party in order to be validated. Ensure all tests are applicable to the position…you wouldn’t give a programmer the same test as an administrative assistant, and remember to test all applicants with the same testing criteria in order to avoid any hint of discrimination. Keep in mind that sometimes an applicant may not realize they need an accommodation in order to take a qualifying test. If that is the case, the employer is obligated to provide an effective accommodation in order for the applicant to continue with the hiring process. The applicant can suggest and discuss accommodations, but the final decision is up to the employer. JAN has more information on alternative testing accommodations at

Once the interview process has been completed, the applicant needs to be made aware of whether or not they will be asked in for a second interview or if they didn’t make the cut. A phone call to the individual to let them know your decision should be followed up with a letter. If they were not chosen for the position, let them know why…was it their experience, qualifications, education, etc. If they were chosen to come back in for a second interview, congratulate them and provide them with the time and date of the next interview and let them know if they will be speaking with additional company personnel or if there is another level of assessment they may be required to take.

Making the Job Offer
The EEOC states that “Once a conditional job offer has been made, and before an employee starts work, employers may ask any disability-related questions they choose and they may require medical examinations as long as this is done for all entering employees in a particular category.” For more information, click to the EEOC’s Pre-employment Disability-Related Inquiries and Medical Exams at

The job offer may be made initially by phone or email, but should be followed by an “offer letter” to seal the deal. The offer letter should include additional details about the position, such as:

  • Job description – the formal title of the position and the job description; don’t forget to address travel time if applicable.
  • Chain of Command – who will the applicant be reporting to.
  • Compensation – FLSA status (exempt or non-exempt), wages, and your bonus structure (note – an exempt’s salary should be stated in a weekly, biweekly or monthly sum and what it equates to annually).
  • Benefits – general health benefits package, insurance (LTD/STD), retirement, as well as any PTO and how it works.
  • Hours of work – include the hours and/or days the applicant will be expected to work and whether overtime may be required.
  • Response time – include the date in which the applicant has to accept or decline the offer.

EAF responds to hundreds of hotline calls and emails monthly. We would be happy to answer any interesting questions you may have too! Contacts us at [email protected] or 407.260.6556

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