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Summary Comments

An important element of the interview process is what is known as the ‘Summary Comment’, which is a comment summarising the assessment of the Board on each candidates performance. The aim of such comments is to succinctly describe how the candidate performed, as well as how and why the Board arrived at their overall decision.

The Summary Comment is the consensus view of the board members on the extent to which the candidate meets the assessment criteria, based on the answers taken together with the written application. This may prove useful when reviewing the scores to ensure consistency across all candidates who attended the Interview.

Recording a summary of the candidates’ performance is also a key element in providing useful feedback to the candidate themselves. It is especially important for candidates who have not been successful and will be receiving disappointing news from the Interview Board / Organisation. Summary comments are also critical in assisting in any subsequent requests for review or challenges to the selection decision through the legal system.

The key features of good quality Summary Comments/ Assessments are as follows:

Accurate & Descriptive:

It should provide the reader with an accurate understanding of how the candidate performed at the interview on the day.

Observed & Job Related:

It should be written from the perspective of the Board e.g. "the board members heard evidence of/ did not hear evidence of", and should reflect the area where the candidate did/ did not meet the essential criteria for the post and the rationale for the decision.

Objective & Balanced:

It should demonstrate evidence against criteria, should be devoid of "gut feel" responses, refer to strengths as well as shortcomings and indicate areas for improvement.

Clear & Succinct:

It should typically be no longer than 3-4 sentences long and be written in plain language with no ambiguity.

Agreed & Timely:

It should represent the consensus view of the entire Board and be completed straight after the Interview.

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