Interview Preparation and Candidate Interview Guide

When preparing to interview candidates, first identify the competencies that someone needs in order to be successful in the position. With those identified, you can then create or select interview questions to focus on how the person has demonstrated this competency in the past. The best way to determine how someone will perform in the future is to find out how they have performed in similar situations the past.

The following sample questions are intended to elicit information from candidates about their demonstration of Brown’s core competencies in their past work experiences. Please select a few questions from the specific competencies critical to success in your position; it is not necessary to ask all of the sample questions for each competency. Each candidate should be asked the same set of questions.

Open the interview with an introductory question such as “Tell me about your past work experience, and what made you decide to apply for this position?” This question sets the stage for a positive exchange of information during the interview.

Job Knowledge

Possesses and continually updates requisite knowledge and understanding of assigned duties, responsibilities, policies, procedures and compliance requirements to perform the position. Demonstrates technical skills required for the position. Understands business needs and desired outcomes.

Work Product

Demonstrates quality product including accuracy and thoroughness in work required for the position. Plans and completes acceptable quantity of work within deadlines. Works with diligence and identifies opportunities to streamline or improve processes.

Customer Focus

Consistently exhibits professional demeanor with internal and external constituents and peers through verbal and written customer focused communication. This includes listening, understanding customer expectations/perspective and acknowledging and responding to concerns in a timely and helpful manner. Demonstrates commitment to exceptional service, timely problem resolution.


Follows through on assignments. Takes ownership of work. Is reliable, professional and responsible. Adheres to procedures, practices, and work schedule. Work is completed in a timely manner and within established deadlines effectively using resources. Demonstrates commitment to professional development.


Demonstrates cooperation and teamwork. Values and seeks input and expertise of others. Contributes to the team environment by working effectively with others on the team to accomplish work. Treats co-workers with respect, honesty and fairness. Resolves issues effectively and is viewed as a positive team member and/or colleague.


Communicates effectively and respectfully verbally and in writing. Follows instructions and shares information appropriately. Engages in meaningful two-way conversations. Listens attentively and clarifies information when necessary.

Commitment to/Demonstration of Inclusion & Welcoming Behavior in the Community

Creates a welcoming learning and working environment with productive and positive workplace relationships. Builds and supports a diverse and inclusive community by demonstrating respect in the workplace. Proactively identifies opportunities to increase awareness and hold self and others accountable for acting in a way which breaks down barriers between groups of difference and creates an inclusive climate that accepts and welcomes diversity.


Establishes performance expectations for staff. Provides timely, effective and meaningful feedback that motivates staff members to improve their performance. Builds and supports a high performing team. Assists employees in eliminating barriers to performance and provides encouragement for skill development. Delegates responsibility appropriately. Recognizes and rewards achievement.


Establishes clear vision for staff and motivates employees to achieve their best performance. Engages and motivates staff, coaching for peak performance. Promotes a welcoming, inclusive and supportive work environment and fosters continuous improvement.  Makes outreach efforts and uses resources to create a diverse workforce. Leads and manages change. Builds and manages relationships across the department and University.

Job-Specific and Other Questions

Please enter several brief, job-specific or any other additional questions. (one per box).