The most important thing to remember when interviewing candidates is that they’re also interviewing you. While you’re looking for the best individual to fill a position, they’re looking for the best employer and opportunity based on their wants and needs.
Unfortunately, far too many hiring managers still use unstructured interview styles with no defined format or way to determine if a candidate has the right skills and would be successful in the role.
Believe it or not, interviewees can tell when your interview is unstructured, and it may show them that you don’t invest in a quality hiring process or your employees.
Hiring managers prefer unstructured interviews because they’re more conversational, but this style leaves you potentially asking the wrong types of questions, leading to poor hiring decisions.
You can still keep a conversational interview style and have structure, especially when using interview scorecards.
What is an Interview Scorecard?
Interview scorecards help decision-makers determine whether someone’s skills and experience are a good match for an open position.
When the interview is over, you’re not left with a notepad full of notes on multiple candidates. Instead, you have stats and data to compare candidates to help you make a better decision.
Scorecards are essential candidate rating systems that allow you to take note of their soft and hard skills, cultural fit, answers to questions, and weaknesses.
Interview Scorecard Benefits
These scorecards are effective hiring tools that can help you form structured interviews to ensure you ask all candidates the right questions and can effectively measure their responses.
Your scorecard should be created before the job is posted online to ensure you know what you’re looking for.
Here are a few benefits of using scorecards during the interview process:
1. Improved Hiring Decisions
When interviewing candidates, not only do you have to ensure they can perform the duties listed in the job description, but they must be the right fit for your company.
Your employees are part of your brand identity, so you want to ensure they can all get along, perform their responsibilities, and be part of healthy workplace culture.
As you may already know, some personalities simply don’t mesh, which is why it’s important to effectively measure a candidate’s soft skills alongside their hard skills.
2. Ranking Consistency
When you make decisions about potential candidates, you rank them to help you determine who should get the job offer.
If your first candidate declines the offer, you can move on to the second one, and so on. However, it can be difficult to rank and compare candidates if you don’t have a consistent ranking structure.
Interview scorecards solve this problem by offering a standardized and consistent way to evaluate candidates. This way, you’re ranking candidates using the same information.
This consistency is useful when comparing candidates throughout the process, especially if you have multiple rounds of interviews because it can eliminate biases that can lead to poor hiring decisions.
3. Better Internal Visibility
If you’re a hiring manager, you should always get feedback from the manager of the department you’re hiring for.
However, that manager can’t be available for every interview, so you need some way to discuss candidates that’s convenient for them.
Once you’ve completed all your interview scorecards, you can send them to the manager and learn about their thoughts and insights into each candidate.
4. Interview Documentation
If you take notes during an interview, you may come back later to find that they’re difficult to read or understand.
While notes are beneficial for deciding which candidate is right for the position and why, scorecards provide additional interview documentation to help you explain your decisions.
This can be beneficial internally when you must explain your decision to a department head or when providing candidates with reasons for not moving forward with their application.
Of course, you don’t have to tell candidates why you’re not moving forward, but if you believe they’re someone who could be a good fit in the future, it’s a good idea to keep the line of communication open.
5. Eliminates Unrealistic Expectations
Scorecards can help you eliminate unrealistic expectations for candidates, especially regarding salary and skill level.
For example, you can’t expect an entry-level employee to have 5+ years of experience in any field. After a few interviews, look at what your scorecards tell you about different candidates’ salary expectations.
If their expectations are within the same range, check your offer to determine if you’re too high or too low. In addition, you should consider the types of experience your candidates have.
If they all have similar experiences, you may need to change some qualifications on your job posting if it doesn’t match the reality.
6. Improves Memory
If you don’t have someone’s headshot in front of you when comparing candidates, it may be difficult to remember them.
Scorecards can help you easily remember each candidate to eliminate confusion when making your financial decision, especially if you’ve interviewed hundreds of candidates for the same role.
Scorecards are an effective tool for HR beyond interviewing.
They can be used to help you upskill your employees based on answers they provided in the interview process.
For example, if an employee’s scorecard says they would like to learn more about different tools and techniques that can help them perform better in their role, you can find ways to make those goals a reality, upskilling employees instead of hiring new employees.
Using Your Interview Scorecard
Always prepare your interview scorecard before posting the job online to ensure you can take note of important skills and answers to your interview questions.
You may also need different scorecards for each separate department, so it’s a good idea to talk to each department manager to get their ideas for ranking criteria.
In addition, you should always explain your scorecard to candidates to inform them of how you’ll make unbiased decisions throughout the interview and hiring process.
Since writing may make you look uninterested in their responses, it’s a good idea to let them know you’ll be writing throughout the interview and actively listen to their responses.
Ashley Nielsen earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration Marketing at Point Loma Nazarene University. She is a freelance writer who loves to share her knowledge about general business, marketing, lifestyle, wellness or financial tips. During her free time, she enjoys being outside, staying active, reading a book, or diving deep into her favorite music.