The selection process consists of interviews, references, and other assessment steps that provide a hiring manager with valuable information to help them select a candidate. Please see the sections below for resources, best practices, and County procedures regarding the selection process.

Open All Panels

  • Conducting Interviews

    An interview process is likely a candidate’s first in person experience with the County and your team and is an important part of the overall candidate experience. Included in the resources section below is a checklist of everything needed to ensure a smooth interview process and positive candidate experience.

    Selecting Panel Members

    Part of the County’s commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion is ensuring that diversity is represented on all interview panels. When finding panelists who bring the necessary skills, competencies and perspectives to the interview process, you should also strive to achieve gender and racial ethnic diversity on each panel. In determining who should be on your interview panel, here are some questions to ask:

    1. Who is a subject matter expert and can participate?
    2. What skills/competencies beyond subject matter expertise are important in a successful candidate?
    3. Who in the pool of available panelists possess those skills/competencies?
    4. Can we achieve a diverse panel through the available panelists? Why or why not?

    In addition, it is good to keep in mind that the added value of diversity on interview panels comes from goes beyond gender and race/ethnicity. When setting up your panel, also consider those in the available pool who may bring other perspectives to the table (such as disability, veteran status, age/generation differences, etc.) in addition to or in combination with gender and racial/ethnic diversity.

    When you have your panel members selected, please request that they fill out the Panel Member Demographic Questionnaire below. You can send them the link to the online form ahead of your interviews or provide them the paper form during your panel briefing. If a panelist fills out the paper form, please submit it to your Recruitment Analyst for recording purposes.

    Panel Member Information

    We ask that each panel member be provided the following forms prior to participating on the interview panel:

    • EEO Questionnaire for Panel Members - Their completion of this form is voluntary; however, this data helps us in our efforts to measure our progress in conducting inclusive selection processes.
    • Confidentiality Form – Their completion of this form is required, and candidates can send the completed form to your HR Analyst prior to the interviews. Conflicts arise when there is a close personal relationship or other situation where the panel member cannot be objective.

    Interview Briefing/Debrief

    It is essential that your panel members receive a briefing on the interview process prior to interviewing any candidates. This briefing should include an overview of what you are looking for in an ideal candidate, what the ideal responses are to the interview questions, and clarify any procedural questions or issues. A debrief provides the panel the opportunity to discuss candidate strengths and challenges with you to aid you in your decisions.

    Your HR Analyst will make every effort to attend your briefing and debrief to provide support and answer questions from the panel.


  • Interview Questions

    When preparing your interview questions, it’s recommended that you use a structured interview format. This format provides consistency across interviews by asking candidates the same questions and it increases the likelihood of good selection decisions and is less subject to bias and challenges.

    As part of our commitment to hiring the best qualified candidates and our initiatives around increased diversity and inclusion in our organization, we are requiring that each interview include questions around Diversity and Collaboration.

    The Interview Question Library includes questions related to both competencies as well as many other competencies related to your position.


  • Post-Interview Activities

    Before a candidate can be offered a position, the hiring manager must conduct reference checks and verify the qualifications of the candidate.

    Conducting References

    Reference checks must be conducted on the top candidate(s) for the position and they may be conducted by phone or email. It is recommended that you contact three to five professional references who can give a well-rounded perspective of the candidate’s professional experience. Hiring without conducting a reference check could lead to liability for negligent hiring if the employee’s past performance, dangerous characteristics, or actions are deemed to pose a risk.

    The resources below include best practices and sample questions for you to use and the Reference Check Worksheet provides you with an easy way to document each reference check.

    Final Verification of Qualifications

    Prior to finalizing an offer of employment, the County will perform a final review of application materials to verify selected candidates meet requirements for the position including but not limited to: minimum qualifications, background requirements, education, licenses, certifications, etc.

    If you want to hire/promote a current or past County employee

    Contact Previous Supervisors

    If the candidate is a current or former County of Marin employee, notify them that you will be contacting their former County supervisor(s) as part of the reference check process. Reference checks conducted within the County should be done consistent with the best practices and procedures outlined above for all reference checks.

    Review the Personnel File

    All current and past employees must have their employee file reviewed by the appointing authority prior to making an offer of promotion or employment.  You can make an appointment with your department’s designated HR Benefits representative to view a personnel file at Human Resource’s offices at the Civic Center.


  • Frequently Asked Questions About The Selection Process
    1. What should I do if I don’t have diversity represented on my interview panel?

      If you are unable to gather a diverse panel for your interview process after searching for qualified panelists, you should connect with your Recruitment Analyst to see if they have any panel member recommendations as well as document the efforts you made in seeking interview panelists to keep as part of the recruitment record.

    2. Are there any questions that I should not ask in an interview?

      You will want to avoid questions or informal discussions in the several areas, and asking questions or prompting discussions in the following areas can open up the County for potential discrimination claims:

      Gender, Race, Ethnicity, Ancestry, Religion, National Origin, Physical Disability, Mental Disability, Medical Condition, Age, Marital Status, Family Status, Sexual Orientation, Political Affiliation

      If a candidate volunteers any information in any of these areas, it is recommended that you direct the interview or conversation back to job and County related discussions.

    3. Do I need to get authorization to contact a candidate’s references and verify their qualifications?

      By submitting a job application, candidates have authorized the County to secure information related to the application including experience, education, licenses/certifications, and professional and personal references.

      Additional authorization from the candidate to conduct reference checks and verification of qualifications is not required, but it is considerate to let the candidate know you are beginning this process, so they may notify previous supervisors, colleagues and other references if they choose to.

    4. Who should serve as a reference?

      A reference should be someone who has been able to observe the candidate in a work capacity and should be professional in nature (supervisor, coworker, professor, client, etc.) and not personal (friend, relative, etc.).

    5. What if the candidate asks us not to contact their current supervisor/employer?

      This is a common request from candidates because they may not want to jeopardize their current employment situation. An option is to ask them if their current supervisor/employer can be contacted once a conditional offer has been extended. In addition, you should ask the candidate to provide alternate references to contact before an offer is extended.

    6. Can I contact references provided by the candidate’s references?

      Sometimes a reference may refer you to other individuals who can provide more information on the candidate. If this occurs, it is considerate to notify the candidate that you will be contacting the additional references as part of the process.

    7. When should I conduct a background check?

      Background checks can only be conducted once a candidate has received a conditional offer of employment. For more information regarding background checks, see the Hiring section of this toolkit.