One of my goals for 2009 is to build a bench of potential candidates for my team. I don't have any positions available but I don't have a bench either. One of the tasks associated with achieving this goal is to interview prospective candidates who apply through our website. I have my first applicant and was curious as to how I should approach interviewing her.

Any advice from someone who regularly does these types of interviews would be helpful.

Thank you,


douglase's picture

What you are trying to created is what I have called a "Pool" in the past.

I basically explained why my business needed to maintain a pool of pre-assessed applicants and also that it would not mean they have a job etc.

I have also done quarterly intakes where I would advertise the role as a continuous applicant pool and interview based off that. I would then build an Order of Merit and advise people high on the order of merit that they scored well but that I didn't currently have a position available for them. Its about setting expectations really.

And making sure your HR rules don't having anythign against it.

jhack's picture

Douglase is right: be open with the candidate about your intentions. They'll understand.

Develop your network, too. This is the best pool you can have.


Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

I disagree with the premise of the question. I wouldn't have created the task to interview folks from the website to begin with.

"Interviewing" potential bench members means getting to know people (lots more people than most managers do), and then spending more time with them to learn about them and their skills and background.  It may not feel like an interview to them, although sometimes it does (and you oughta let them know that when you do that).

Narrowing your scope to people who apply seems misguided. These are people looking for jobs now.  One's bench is filled with fully employed folks, whom you deem exceptional or good or top performers.  We build a relationship with them.



douglase's picture

To me building an order of merit or a pool can be a useful tool.  In my industry (Government) the HR guidelines mean the it can frequently take 3 months from deciding you need a person to actually getting them.   But the flip side is that a permanent employee only needs to give 2 weeks notice or 4 weeks if they are being seconded (loaned to another business unit within governement departments as a developmental opp).  And in government to ensure that we are fair and equitable all new "permanent" staff must have been hired through specific methods.

In my speciality IT - more specifically Help Desks and IT support, having an order of merit of people who have been interviewed and are considered good for the role can be the difference between having 4 vacancies in my team and having 12 vacancies in my team.

We even have managed to add red tape to hiring contractors.