Interviewing candidates is the trickiest part of the hiring process and also the most important to get right. One of the biggest challenges with interviews is getting an accurate, objective read on candidates when an imperfect, subjective person is conducting the interview. Interview scoring sheets are an effective solution.
We’ll explain how interview score sheets can strengthen your hiring process and help you select the candidate whose skills and qualities most closely align with the position’s requirements.
What Are Interview Scoring Sheets?
Interview scoring sheets, also known as interview scorecards, are a tool used to assess candidates. They’re typically formatted as a table, with skills or specific questions on the left and space for scoring on the right (we’ll show you an actual scoring template later on in this post).
Interview scoring sheets help minimize hiring bias, which can contribute to inaccurate hiring. They’re also practical for keeping track of numerous candidates, comparing them equally against one another, and combining assessments from multiple interviewers.
Benefits of Using Interview Scorecards
A structured scorecard helps ensure that every candidate is asked the same questions and judged on the same criteria. This is in stark contrast to an unstructured approach where interviewers ad-lib and might cover wildly different topics from one conversation to the next, which makes it impossible to judge candidates accurately against one another.
Scoring sheets force interviewers to focus on the criteria that are most pertinent to success in the role. This helps prevent them from overlooking skill gaps because they “like” a candidate. It can also help them recognize great candidates they might have underestimated.
Helps keep track of candidates
An interview scorecard is filled out during the interview and immediately afterward, which means the conversation is fresh in the interviewer’s mind. This is a much more reliable method than trying to remember and analyze a pool of candidates after two or three interviews.
Improves time management
A predefined list of questions keeps interviewers on track and ensures that the essential topics are covered. You can even assign each question a suggested time allotment to prevent the conversation from going off on a tangent.
Interview scoring sheets make it easy to combine feedback from multiple interviewers; all you do is total up a cumulative score. This is much more straightforward than comparing multiple subjective assessments from different parties.
Allow for data gathering
Scorecards create a paper trail of every candidate conversation, allowing you to analyze how well your interview efforts actually correlate to successful hires. For example, if you notice that new hires are consistently lacking certain technical skills, it might be a clue that you need to beef up the technical portion of your score sheet.
Components of an Interview Scoring Sheet
- Assessment criteria
- Interview preparedness
- Hard and soft skills
- Culture fit
- A specific list of questions
- A well-defined scoring system
- A total score
- An area for comments
How to Use Interview Scoring Sheets
1. Create scoring criteria
If you’ve already taken the time to write a winning job description, this part should be pretty easy, because you’ll be pulling from the top requirements you’ve already identified.
Outline the most important criteria candidates will be judged on. This will likely include technical skills, soft skills, education/professional credentials, experience, and culture fit.
2. Develop interview questions
Now, create a list of questions to help you identify and assess the criteria you defined in step one. For example, suppose some of the most important skills for the job are communication and problem-solving. In that case, you might ask, ‘How do you communicate effectively with a team?’ and ‘Tell me about a time you solved a challenging problem.’
Every question should serve a purpose and relate to the job requirements. If you’re using multiple interviewers, you might find it helpful to ask each one to submit questions for consideration, then narrow it down to a final list.
3. Define your scoring system
This means choosing the system itself, i.e., a numeric score ranging from 1 to 5, and defining what each number signifies.
Don’t assume that everyone knows 5 is excellent and 1 is inferior; some people might think it’s the other way around. The same goes for the weight of each score. One interviewer might believe a 3 means the candidate is sufficient, while another might perceive 3 as a subpar score.
Here’s an example of what your scoring system might look like:
1: A completely insufficient answer that indicates a lack of competence
2: A partially inadequate answer that does not demonstrate the required competence
3: A satisfactory answer that indicates the minimum requirements are met
4: A strong answer that indicates proficiency
5: An excellent answer that indicates a high level of competence
Alternatively, you can define a limited number of scoring options and have interviewers check a box for the one that corresponds with their rating, like this:
- Below average
- Above average
4. Lay out your scoring sheet
Your interview scorecard can be laid out using any spreadsheet app or even in a word processing document. It can be as basic or as thorough as you like, but it should be easy for anyone to interpret at a glance.
Simple interview scoring sheet
Here’s an example of a basic scoring sheet to compare three job finalists.
|Candidate #1||Candidate #2||Candidate #3|
|Question #1(include the actual text of each question here)||(numeric score)||(numeric score)||(numeric score)|
|Question #2||(numeric score)||(numeric score)||(numeric score)|
|Question #3||(numeric score)||(numeric score)||(numeric score)|
|Question #4||(numeric score)||(numeric score)||(numeric score)|
|Question #5||(numeric score)||(numeric score)||(numeric score)|
|TOTAL||(total of above rows)||(total of above rows)||(total of above rows)|
In-depth interview scoring sheet
Here’s an example of a more comprehensive scoring sheet that covers interview preparedness and background as well as interview questions, using a separate sheet for each candidate.
|Showed up on time|
|Came prepared for interview|
|Level of interest in position|
|Overall impression of candidate|
5. Prep interviewers
Provide each interviewer with the score sheet so they know what they’re looking for and have time to familiarize themselves with the scoring adequately.
6. Inform candidates
At the start of the interview, it’s a good idea to let candidates know that you’ll be using a scoring sheet so they understand why you’re looking down and taking notes. This also helps convey that your hiring process is fair and transparent, which leads to a more positive candidate experience.
Additional Interview Scorecard Tips
Don’t go overboard. Your scoring sheet should easily fit on a single piece of paper. Five to seven questions is usually ideal. Focus on the criteria that matter most and eliminate questions that are too generic or have no bearing on the candidate’s ability to perform in the role.
Avoid jotting down information that could lead to bias. Even if you’re taking notes to help you distinguish between candidates, details like ‘pregnant woman in pink blouse’ or ‘Asian man with gray hair’ can be grounds for unwanted subjective opinions to creep in. In a worst-case scenario, it could be used against you for being discriminatory.
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