How to Create an Interview Scorecard

And keep your interviews fair and consistent.
Bailey Reiners
January 29, 2020
Updated: June 9, 2020
Bailey Reiners
January 29, 2020
Updated: June 9, 2020

Interviewing is challenging no matter how experienced a recruiter you are. Using an interview scorecard can help keep the discussion on track and ensure the interviewer collects the details they need to make an informed decision about the candidate.

In this article, we will cover the importance of interview scorecards, how to rate different aspects of an interview and finish with a selection of questions to help you create a customized interview scorecard.

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Table of Contents

 

What Is An Interview Scorecard?

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Interview scorecards are standardized evaluations by which interviewers assess and compare multiple candidates on an established rating system. Scorecards are utilized by recruiters, HR professionals and hiring managers during an interview to ensure the conversation is guided and evaluated by previously agreed-upon criteria. If multiple interviews are held for an individual candidate, scorecards allow for different interviewers to extract similar information from candidates and compare their notes in a standardized process.

Prior to opening up a role, recruiters should create a unique candidate persona. This persona will help you narrow down exactly what your team wants and needs in its next hire, which will help you tailor your interview questions to identify candidates with those traits.

 

How Is An Interview Scorecard Beneficial?

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Scorecards are helpful in reducing unconscious biases that can unfairly alter an interviewer’s perception of a candidate’s ability to excel in the role and at the company. Unconscious bias can lead to poor hiring practices, such as hiring for culture fit over culture add.

With an interview scorecard, questions are determined before the interviewer meets the candidate, so they won't get derailed by a candidate's particular background. Plus, because all interviewers choose their ratings during the interview, their initial impression of the candidate is not biased by others' opinions. Instead, interviewers can compare scorecards after their initial impression is made.

 

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Types of Interview Scorecards

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There isn't one perfect interview scorecard out there. You can find hundreds of templates and guides, but at the end of the day, your team needs to create an interview scorecard tailored to your specific candidate persona, hiring team and company. To get a better idea of how to create an interview scorecard, here are a few different types of measurements you can use. 

 

LIKERT SCALE

Likert scale is a type of rating scale that measures attitudes or opinions to questions. The measurements range from "yes" to "no" on a scale of five to seven terms. The scales have odd-numbered answers in order to have a neutral term in the middle.

There are a variety of different words you can use to express different scores, but for the purpose of an interview scorecard, these terms will work best with the types of questions you ask.

  • Unsatisfactory
  • Fair
  • Average
  • Good
  • Exceptional 

 

NUMERICAL RATING SCALE

Unlike the Likert scale that uses language to categorize rankings, the numerical rating scale uses numbers. Numerical scales typically have a wider range of responses running from 1-10 so your ratings can be more granular.

Because there isn’t language involved in this survey, responses are not affected by language barriers. However, it is important to be clear what either side of the scale means — define which end is for positive responses and which side is for negative responses.

These scales are good for yes-or-no interview questions, such as, “On a scale of 1-10, how well does the candidate understand our mission?”

 

OPEN-ENDED Questions

While interview scorecards are helpful to ensure interviewers obtain everything they need to make informed decisions, it’s also helpful to have an open-ended section of your scorecard to add additional information that doesn’t fall into your predetermined categories. 

This section provides space for topics unique to the individual, such as their interests, certain projects they’ve worked on or aspects of the interview that stand out in general. 

 

Interview Scorecard Questions 

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No matter how you decide to format your interview scorecard, make sure you cover and record a range of information from each candidate. We’ve broken down the types of questions you should ask into four categories: general, background, hard skills and soft skills. Within each category are example questions for inspiration. You can and should adapt these to your specific needs.

Note that you don’t need to ask these exact questions to obtain the answers you’re trying to get. For example, if you ask a candidate to talk about their background, they will likely cover information on their education and work experience. This makes for a much more organic conversation rather than asking candidates about every category separately. However, each topic is different criteria and should be ranked separately. 

 

Assessing General Questions

  • Do they understand what our company does?
  • Do they know who our main competitors are? How we differ?
  • What do they know about [insert industry]?
  • Why did they apply for this role?
  • What is your overall impression?

 

Assessing Background Experience & Knowledge

  • Do they have a degree or certification in [insert degree]?
  • How many years of experience do they have in [insert industry or job title]?
  • What experience do they have working with [insert platform, language, software]?

 

Assessing Hard Skills 

Typically, hard skills are taught — these are things that need to be learned to complete a job. Commonly measured hard skills include reading, writing, language, math, coding, analytics, selling, social media, project management and research.

In technical roles, it often makes sense to test hard skills through skills assessment software, especially if the interviewer does not have adequate technical knowledge and experience to assess a candidate. 

  • Do they have an adequate understanding of [insert coding language]?
  • Can they demonstrate skills using [insert program or software]?
  • How well do they analyze [insert problem]?

 

Assessing Soft Skills

Contrary to hard skills, soft skills can not be taught. Instead, soft skills reflect an individual’s interpersonal skills, or their ability to build relationships with other people and effectively communicate. These skills are a bit trickier to assess because there’s not a single correct answer or great way to measure how well someone communicates. 

Of all the categories, this one is most likely to be affected by unconscious bias, because what one person may view as poor interpersonal skills another may view as culture or generational differences. There are a number of stats out there that confirm how something as simple as smiling or sitting a certain way can affect a candidate’s credibility to be hired.

There is software that can help measure soft skills, however, it’s mostly up to interviewers to assess soft skills during the interview and be acutely aware of their personal biases in the process. Here are a few things to consider when assessing soft skills.

  • How are their communication skills (talking, writing, presenting)?
  • Do they demonstrate time management skills?
  • How are their interpersonal skills? 
  • How are their leadership skills?
  • How well do they work in a team setting?
  • How well do they work independently?
  • In what ways have they demonstrated they are an organizational citizen?
  • How have they taken initiative in previous roles?
  • How will this person fit into our culture?
  • How will this person add to our culture?
  • What are their personal aspirations?
  • What are their professional aspirations?

 

During the interview, it's encouraged to handwrite your answers if possible as it's less distracting and intimidating for candidates than entering your responses on a computer. If you're using a software tool, you can always enter your answers after the interview. 

 

Remember that the more interviews you complete, the better you'll get at them. Every interview is unique in its own way, which is why these scorecards can be so helpful. Continue growing your recruiting skill set by checking out more of our tech recruiter resources

 

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