HR for FT

Interviewing and candidate selection

With the compressed hiring timeline to fill positions in time for Workday Finance training and launch, these reminders can help hiring managers streamline their candidate selection process.

Workday Finance will be new for everyone. All UW employees will need training and peer learning to learn the new system and associated processes. While some applicants might have experience with Workday Finance, many will not, which makes them similar to current staff who will also have to learn the new system.

Unconscious biases can prevent us from seeing great candidates.

  • Bias toward internal candidates or candidates with higher ed experience can cause us to devalue candidates who will bring fresh perspectives from other organizations and sectors.
  • Bias can cause us to favor candidates whose personality traits, past experiences or appearances resemble the departing or current employees.
  • Avoid making assumptions about employment gaps. It is appropriate to ask candidates, “I see you have a gap in your employment. How did that experience affect your interest or readiness for this opportunity?” Be sure to ask the same question of all candidates you interview who have breaks in their employment history.
  • Candidates who appear “overqualified” have their why. Don’t assume that stepping back in one’s professional responsibilities is a red flag and explore what a candidate with more work experience can add to your team.

Choose your mindset and look for evidence a candidate can be successful. Candidates referred to you meet minimum requirements, so focus on their strengths versus gaps in their experience. Instead of, “Their knowledge of Workday is really thin,” note “They managed to learn two data systems in their last job and can probably learn another.”

Be reasonable about what a hire must know and be able to do on day one. Few candidates have the “perfect” background, so don’t overlook those that have the building blocks to succeed. Develop a screening rubric and score candidates based upon the skills, experience and knowledge required for the position. When you evaluate scores, give more weight to skills, knowledge and experience that a candidate will need on their first day and less weight to what can be learned in a three-month onboarding period.

  • Evaluate candidates’ previous experiences rigorously and creatively. For example, someone with four years of retail management will have exercised data management, interpersonal skills, conflict resolution and problem-solving. They may not have used Outlook every day, but Outlook can be taught during onboarding.
  • Include ‘ability to learn’ in your screening rubric and look for examples of both self-directed and structured learning.

Screening out “almost perfect” candidates comes with an opportunity cost. An otherwise well-qualified candidate who needs a little more training will likely be up and running by the time you step back and recruit for the “perfect” hire.

  • Make sure your interview protocol asks behavioral questions about learning.
  • Ask yourself whether onboarding could shore up their preparation. UW POD, UW-IT and UW LinkedIn Learning offer self-paced courses at low or no cost.
  • For early career positions, don’t rule out candidates who meet or exceed educational requirements because they have limited work experience. Keep them in your pool and be sure to design your interview protocol for an early career position Ask behavioral interviewing questions that invite examples from candidate’s work, school and personal lives. For example, ask, “Tell us about a when you used technology to manage a project with multiple deliverables” instead of “Tell us about a time at work when you used technology…”
  • Do not screen out a candidate because their UWHIRES salary preference is outside of your range. Applicants often overlook that field when updating their profile and the amount probably predates UW salary transparency implementation.
  • People get nervous, it’s totally normal and we all express that differently. Just like you may have hoped for grace when interviewing for your current position, extend that to others as well. Just because someone is a bit nervous in an interview setting doesn’t mean they won’t be confident or calm in their day-to-day work setting.

Remember that reference checks for external and internal candidates are a required final step in the selection process. Find UW policy on reference checking along with forms on the Reference Check web page.

  • At least two professional references are required for external candidates.
  • Request a review of the candidate’s official personnel record and obtain a reference from the candidate’s current (or most recent) UW supervisor for internal candidates or former UW employees.