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Interview debrief: your template to copy & paste

By 
Victoire Léveilley
 on 
December 11, 2023
Remote Works

What is an interview debrief?

Imagine this: you've just wrapped up interviewing a potential employee. Now, the debrief crew is gearing up to spill the tea on the candidate: it's time for the interview debrief. An interview debrief is a sync or async meeting when everyone who was part of that interview – the hiring manager, recruiter, and other interviewers – discuss what transpired during the interview. 

It's not just a casual chat; it's a crucial meeting where you document thoughts, opinions, and ideas about the candidate. Thanks to the debrief, you’ll be able to figure out  the next steps, whether it's moving forward with the same candidate or exploring other options. 

This isn't about making an instant decision but making sure you and your team members are all on the same page about where the applicant stands in the hiring process. Usually, it takes around 30 minutes to an hour following an interview debrief template.

Interview debriefs help your organization prevent miscommunication, and ensure you bring on board the right people for the job. Whether it's a quick sync or a more laid-back approach, the key is dedicating the time you need to get it right.

What is an interview debrief template

An interview debrief template is a structured document or set of guidelines used by your hiring teams to evaluate and discuss a candidate's performance after an interview. The template typically includes sections for key aspects such as technical skills, cultural fit, communication style, and overall impressions. 

An interview debrief template serves as a framework to ensure that the team covers essential points during the debrief and contributes to a consistent and thorough evaluation process. This tool helps streamline communication, maintain focus, and make informed decisions about the candidate's suitability for the role.

It’s also very important to fill-in an interview debrief template in order to keep a written track of the interview and the discussions that followed it.

Why should you implement systematic debriefs after every interview?

Implementing systematic debriefs after every interview is a way for you to upgrade your hiring process. Hiring is no longer a routine but a strategic move, these debriefs play a pivotal role. 

Over the past decade, the hiring landscape has evolved from simply filling positions to choosing the right people for the job. With a systematic debrief after each interview, you provide your team a moment to come together and share perspectives, notes, and insights.

In a world where time is a precious commodity, taking a bit of it after each interview can significantly impact your hiring choices. These debriefs are the antidote to cyclical hiring issues, team miscommunication, and ensuring a top-notch quality of hire.

Interview debriefs foster collaboration and alignment among team members involved in the hiring process

By providing a structured forum to discuss each candidate, it ensures that everyone is on the same page regarding the applicant's strengths, weaknesses, and overall fit for the role. 

This collaborative approach reduces the risk of miscommunication and promotes a unified decision-making process.

Interview debriefs contribute to a more objective evaluation of candidates

They provide a platform to share diverse perspectives and insights, helping to mitigate biases that might influence individual assessments. This objectivity is crucial for making well-informed hiring decisions based on merit and job-related factors.

Moreover, following the same template standardizes the debriefing and ensures that all candidates are treated equally.

The debriefing process facilitates continuous improvement in your organization's hiring practices

By reflecting on the interview experience and discussing what worked well or could be enhanced, you can refine your approach over time. This iterative process enables your team to learn from each interview, adapt strategies, and ultimately optimize the efficiency and effectiveness of your hiring efforts.

Interview debriefs contribute to a positive candidate experience

When candidates perceive a well-coordinated and thoughtful evaluation process, it enhances your employer brand and reputation. A respectful and organized debrief demonstrates professionalism and consideration, leaving candidates with a favorable impression of your organization, regardless of the hiring outcome.

Interview debriefs serve as valuable documentation for future reference

Filling in an interview debrief template after each interview allows you to keep a written record of your interviews.

Having a clear record of hiring discussions and decisions aids in maintaining consistency, tracking candidate progress, and ensuring compliance with your policies and regulations.

How to debrief after an interview? [7 steps to follow]

Step 1: take time for an immediate individual reflection after the interview

Take a few moments for individual reflection right after the interview. Jot down your immediate impressions, notable points, and any concerns. This step ensures you capture fresh and unfiltered thoughts.

Step 2: Gather the debrief team or choose a relevant async tool

Bring together the key stakeholders involved in the interview process. This typically includes hiring managers, recruiters, and any team members who interacted with the candidate.

We know that time is precious in your business. It’s also possible for you to bring your team together async. You’ll have to leverage the right digital tools like Claap and communication channels to allow members to contribute at their own pace to the debrief.

Step 3: Create a positive atmosphere

Begin the debrief with a positive tone, emphasizing the goal of collaboratively assessing the candidate's fit for the role. Encourage open and honest communication, stressing the importance of diverse perspectives.

This also applies to asynchronous debriefing. You need to define basic communication rules (respectful, with details and examples) and encourage completeness in feedback.

Step 4: Have a structured discussion, based on a template to follow

Guide the discussion with a structured format. Start with a brief overview of the interview, including the role and key competencies. Then, open the floor for team members to share their thoughts, focusing on specific aspects like technical skills, cultural fit, and communication style. Without using a template, the discussion would go off in all directions.

Each team member should share their impressions and any concerns they may have. You should encourage them to add details and examples to support their points. 

If you've recorded the video interview and choose to debrief async, you can even annotate the video directly and add your comments on key moments, thanks to Claap's annotation functions. Your colleagues can then view your comments and add their own, all in one place.

Step 5: Address disagreements diplomatically

In case of differing opinions, address disagreements diplomatically. Encourage team members to provide additional context and explore the underlying reasons for their assessments.

If you've recorded the video, you can even replay certain key moments of the interview to better demonstrate your points and understand your colleagues' impressions. You can then chat with them directly on the recorded interview, thanks to Claap's commenting and thread functions.

Step 6: Summarize and document key points of the discussion

As the discussion unfolds, summarize key points raised by team members. This helps in consolidating information and highlighting areas of consensus or divergence.

It’s also important to document the key decisions and insights from the debrief session. This documentation indeed serves as a reference for future stages in the hiring process and ensures transparency and accountability.

And if you’re not a summary-wizard, Claap will help you write the best summaries thanks to the power of AI.

Step 7: Identify next steps

Based on the discussion and its outcomes, identify any follow-up actions or additional information needed. Determine whether the candidate should proceed to the next stage of the hiring process or if further assessments are required.

When a decision has been reached, one of the necessary next steps is to provide constructive feedback to the candidate. This contributes to a positive candidate experience, regardless of the outcome.

Why use an interview debrief template?

Chatting with potential hires and discussing your impressions with the team doesn't have to be a headache. 

A bit of prep is necessary to streamline the hiring process and debrief effectively. Hence, using an interview debrief template is a way to get everyone on the same page about what makes a good candidate (and what doesn't).

The template's structure streamlines the debrief process, helping the team focus on crucial areas without missing key points. It also promotes objective evaluations, cutting down biases and honing in on job-related factors. 

It's not just paperwork; it's a useful record for future reference, comparisons, and staying compliant. Simply put, the interview debrief template is your ticket to smoother, fairer, and more efficient hiring decisions.

Your interview debrief template to copy and paste

Candidate Information:

  • Name:
  • Position Applied For:
  • Interview Date:
  • Interviewers:

1. Technical Skills:

  • Strengths:

  • Areas for Improvement:

2. Communication Skills:

  • Clarity of Expression:

  • Active Listening:

3. Cultural Fit:

  • Alignment with Company Values:

  • Collaborative Potential:

4. Overall Impressions:

  • Positive Aspects:

  • Concerns or Red Flags:

5. Additional Comments:

Next Steps:

  • Recommendation:
  • Advance to Next Stage
  • Further Assessment Needed
  • Not a Suitable Fit

Conclusion:

  • Decision Summary:

Tips to run effective interview debriefs

Encourage individual initial reflection before the debrief

Encourage team members to reflect individually right after the interview and before the debrief. Initial reflection helps capture immediate thoughts and impressions. 

Whether through quick notes or mental summaries, this initial reflection preserves fresh insights, ensuring the debrief captures raw, unfiltered feedback before it fades. It sets the stage for a more dynamic and engaged group discussion, tapping into the authenticity of individual perspectives.

Encourage open dialogue during the debrief

You should always emphasize the importance of honest communication, ensuring team members feel comfortable sharing diverse perspectives and opinions. This openness not only enriches the discussion but also promotes a collaborative atmosphere where insights and feedback can be freely exchanged.

And if you didn't like the candidate at all, but your colleague loved it, you should be able to discuss it openly and compare your points of view.

Dig deeper on points of disagreement

You should seek to address conflicting opinions diplomatically during interview debriefs. This way differing opinions will be explored without tension. 

Encourage team members to share additional context, finding common ground and understanding perspectives. It's a bit like bringing everyone to the same table, ensuring that diverse viewpoints enrich the conversation rather than causing friction. 

A way to address disagreements with diplomacy is to let the two (or more) people with divergent opinions express them without being interrupted. After the first round of opinions expressed, you can ask team members to challenge each other's views and engage in a dialogue.

Carefully document decisions and feedback

Documenting the interview debrief involves recording key takeaways and agreed-upon actions during the debrief.

Clear documentation helps your organization ensure transparency, aids in future reference, and maintains accountability in the hiring process.

Tools like Claap, with features such as AI-powered notes and all-in-one video workspace, simplify documentation. Claap therefore makes it easier to track decisions and maintain a comprehensive record for future reference.

Use Claap to get the most out of your interview debriefs

Claap, an innovative video wiki, transforms the way you collaborate. Here's why Claap is a game-changer for your interview debriefs:

  • Async Videos: Record and share interview videos at your team's convenience, ensuring easy access to vital information;
  • Meeting Recordings: Capture synchronous meetings (whether the interview or the debrief itself) comprehensively with Claap, preserving every detail for future reference. You can even pin key moments of the meetings to highlight them and come back later;
  • Transcription Services: Claap offers automatic transcription, transforming spoken words into written text for effortless search and reference;
  • AI Summaries: Leverage Claap's AI-powered summarization to turn meetings into actionable insights. Boost efficiency and collaboration effortlessly;
  • All-in-one video workspace: You can access all the videos you recorded in one-place. Above all, each team can have its own team wiki on which it can collaborate. For example, you can debrief interviews in the HR wiki, in the section dedicated to interviews and/or their debriefs.

You can use Claap for your interview debriefs, whether or not you recorded the interview.

If you have not recorded the interview

Even if you didn't record the interview, you can use Claap for your in-sync interview debrief.

Just get together and record the debrief meeting. Discuss the points listed on your debrief interview template to guide the discussion.

Thanks to Claap's AI tools, you don't need to occupy your mind with note-taking: Claap takes care of that. You can therefore concentrate 100% on the debrief discussion. Once the debrief is over, Claap will generate notes, or even a summary of the debrief, depending on the template you've chosen. For example, you could ask Claap to fill in the template in the previous section with what was said during your debrief.

You can then keep the debrief recording in one place on a dedicated video wiki, and access it wherever and whenever you like. This content is very important to ensure a consistent recruitment process for your organization.

If you have recorded the interview

If you have recorded the video interview, you benefit not only from all Claap's possibilities for sync meetings listed in the previous section, but also from all its advantages for async collaboration.

First, you can replay the interview videos at your convenience in case you've missed anything. You can even compare your candidate's answers to interview questions with those of another candidate. It’s possible since you'll have stored all the interview recordings in the same place on a video wiki.

But most importantly, you can annotate the interview video directly by pointing to the screen and writing your comment. Then all you have to do is wait for the debrief team to respond. With Claap, you’ll be able to make sure everyone is aligned with threads, video replies, polls, and video analytics.

Last but not least, you'll have convenient access to all recordings of all interviews conducted in the same place, with just a few clicks.

Now you have an interview debrief template, our best tips for debriefing interviews and you know that Claap is an essential tool for successful debriefs. Don’t hesitate to try Claap thanks to the 14-days free trial (no credit card required, access to all the premium tools).

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