Step Six: Interviewing
After the resume submission time has passed, it is time to go through applications.
Review the Resumes
Review resumes and develop a short list, selecting 6-10 candidates to interview. Top resumes will have tailored language to fit the job posting, use quantifiable results with their work experience, and will be in a format that is easy to follow and read. Be aware of resumes that are vague, focus too much on a graphical layout rather than substance, and do not connect dots of how their experience is relevant.
Please note a high-performing Main Street Executive may come from a non-traditional background. Focus on demonstrated past work results and transferrable skills versus specific education or industry experience.
Hold the First Round of Interviews
We suggest two rounds of interviews. The first round should be made up of 3-4 Main Street stakeholders that may or may not be part of the Search Committee.
- Determine interview questions. See “First Round Interviews Score Card Template” for a list of suggested questions. Edit the Word document with the questions you choose to ask. There should be no more than 15 questions. Also, do not forget to ask if the candidate has any questions.
- Choose one Warm Up Question that allows the candidate to introduce themselves and why they’re interested in the role.
- Choose 2-3 Work History questions that provide insight into the candidate’s experience and skills.
- Choose a couple Main Street specific questions that demonstrate the candidate’s familiarity with, and application of, the Main Street Four Point Approach and the basic principles of downtown management.
- Choose a question related to Job Performance and the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses as an employee.
- Ask 1-2 questions that allow the candidate to describe their abilities related to specific Skill Sets such as public speaking or developing partnerships.
- Choose 1-2 Personal Qualities the new Executive should have and ask the candidate to offer examples of how they embody those qualities.
- Be sure to outline the Job Requirements, including any evening or weekend work so the candidate is clear what is expected of them.
- Schedule interviews. We suggest 45 minutes per interview.
- Have each interviewer fill out the “First Round Interviews Score Card.” This score card ensures that the interviewee’s responses are scored equitably. Tally for the final interview score.
- Based on the scores, choose 2-3 of the highest scoring candidates to be invited for the second round of interviews.
Hold the Second Round of Interviews
The second round of interviews should be made up of 2-3 members of the Search Committee.
Note: If you desire CMSC to participate in the interview process, please reach out to our Field Services Director.
- Determine interview questions. See “Second Round Interviews Score Card Template” for a list of suggested questions. Edit the Word document with the questions you choose to ask. There should be no more than 10 questions. Also, do not forget to ask if the candidate has any questions.
- Choose 3-4 General Questions that allow the candidate to introduce their work style, greatest achievements, or vision of success.
- Choose 2-3 Hypothetical Questions to get a sense of how they would think through, approach, and act on realistic situations.
- Schedule interviews. We suggest 90 minutes per interview.
- Have each interviewer fill out the “Second Round Interviews Score Card.” This score card ensures that the interviewee’s responses are scored equitable. Tally for the final interview score.
- Establish top three candidates to whom you would offer the position (pending reference checks – see below), in priority order.
Conduct Reference Checks
- Determine questions. See “Reference Check Template” for a list of suggested questions. Edit the Word Document with the questions you choose to ask. There should be no more than 8 questions.
- Assign one or two members to call references. Be sure to take notes on the provided document to easily share with the rest of the Search Committee.
Make an Offer
- Determine if the reference checks changed the priority order of the candidates and/or brought up issues that the full Search Committee needs to address.
- Present the top three candidates (in order) for board approval.
- Make the job offer to top candidate. The Search Committee Chairperson should call the candidate with the offer and follow up with an emailed written offer letter. (Please refer to a local expert or entity to provide guidance on best practices for writing an offer letter in accordance with your local regulations.)
- Be sure to provide a deadline for the candidate to accept the offer.
- Be prepared for the candidate to negotiate salary or benefits.
- If that candidate turns down the offer, go to the second candidate, etc.
- As a courtesy, send an email to all applicants that a candidate has been chosen after the offer has been accepted. A customized email is not necessary, but an email addressed to the individual by name is a nice touch.
- Reviewing Resumes: Depending on the quantity of resumes received, this step can take 1-2 weeks.
- Holding First Round Interviews: Including scheduling and interviewing, this can take 2-4 weeks.
- Deciding on Second Round Candidates: This should take no longer than 1 week.
- Holding Second Round Interviews: Including scheduling and interviewing, this can take 2-4 weeks.
- Conducting Reference Checks: This can take 1 week depending on how fast the references get back to you.
- Ranking Candidates: This should take no longer than 1 week after the reference checks are complete.
- Making the Offer: This should take 1 week but may take longer if there are negotiations or if your top candidate declines.
- Sending Email to All Candidates: This should take no longer than 1 week.
Action Kit Resources
- First Round Interview Score Card Template [Word Doc]
- Second Round Interview Score Card Template [Word Doc]
- Reference Check Template [Word Doc]
- Review resumes
- Hold first round interviews
- Decide on second round interview candidates
- Hold second round interviews
- Determine top 3 candidates
- Conduct reference checks
- Rank candidates
- Make offer to top ranked candidate
- Send email to all candidates