They’re a tool that’s open to hiring teams of any shape or size, and in this post we give you everything you need to get started.
What is an interview score sheet?
An interview score sheet is used by hiring teams to evaluate candidates fairly and objectively during the shortlisting and job interview process. Each interviewer scores the candidate on the same set of criteria and the hiring team can then meet and compare the total scores of the candidates.
Interview score sheets give structure to evaluation processes and interviews helping hiring teams to evaluate candidates more consistently, fairly, and on the criteria that are most important to their success if they join the organization.
What does an interview score sheet look like?
Interview score sheets can take many forms but we’ve put together this interview score sheet template to help you get started.
Interview score sheets set out the criteria that every candidate is evaluated against. They usually have some common criteria across the organization (usually around cultural fit) with each location, department, or job role usually requiring some custom skills-based criteria.
Most score sheets use a simple scoring system to keep things as objective as possible and make it as easy as possible to rank candidates. An additional comments section can be included for interviewers to capture any notes.
Get your free interview score sheet template.
Benefits of interview scoresheets
Interview score sheets are a powerful tool if you’re looking to improve the objectivity of your hiring decisions, have different hiring team members interview different candidates, or ensure you’re getting all of the information you need to make a good decision at each stage of the hiring process.
Score sheets don’t just have to be used as part of the interview process. They can also be used for evaluation of applicants before they are shortlisted for interview either as part of evaluating their application or a screening call.
2. Keeping the interview on track
Choosing the best candidate is a near-impossible task when each interviewee is asked a different set of questions and this is made worse when different members of the hiring team are interviewing different candidates.
An interview score sheet is a useful prompt to help interviewers keep the interview on track and helps ensure that any particularly important criteria for the position are covered off.
3. Making the selection process more objective
When looking at which candidates to shortlist for interview, hiring teams look at the relevant skills and experience they have on their CV to decide who is suitable.
There are often candidates with similar qualifications interviewing for a position and in this situation hiring managers will often choose candidates based on the ‘good impression’ or similar subjective feeling they got during the interview process.
By asking candidates questions on the same topics it is far easier for hiring managers to objectively compare candidates’ answers and decide who is the better choice for the position. Ultimately the result is better hiring decisions.
The ratings that interviewers put on score sheets can also help them remember the candidate in detail.
4. Establishing the requirements of the position
The process of creating an interview score sheet can be helpful in establishing the key requirements for the position. For example; though your score sheet for someone working in sales might specify the need for an extroverted personality this is less important for someone working in a more technical department.
By creating a score sheet at the same time as your job description, you can tailor your job description and recruitment advertising to attract more of the right applicants. Ultimately this results in a better pool of more relevant applicants.
Nobody wants to admit when their recommended candidate doesn’t succeed as expected and everyone wants to say they had a hunch when a new hire does well in the company.
Score sheets can help systemize this process by providing a valuable source of information about what to look for during the hiring process. Look at the commonalities in interview scorecard results between your most (and least) successful hires. Is there a correlation between certain criteria/characteristics and your best hires?
This can help you understand where to focus your attention when hiring in the future.
Disadvantages of interview score sheets
Whilst we normally advocate the use of interview score sheets in most situations, there are a few things to be aware of before you get started.
1. Restricting candidates
Score sheets can also result in too much emphasis on skills and qualifications. This could lead to hiring someone with a poor work ethic or who just won’t gel with your team. Make sure soft skills form part of the evaluation criteria.
Candidates are often limited in the responses they can give in the structured interview format of a score sheet-based interview in comparison to an unstructured interview. This can prevent them from showcasing relevant skills that could make them more suitable for the position.
Try to ask open-ended questions that don’t solicit a “yes/no” answer, and that also allow you to evaluate candidates against score sheet criteria. Ask follow up questions related to any areas of concern you want to learn more about.
When interviewers are pre-occupied with reading and filling in score sheets it’s easy to forget about body language – maintaining eye contact and drawing out relevant information from the candidate are a vital part of building a relationship with them.
Without this, it’s difficult to get a sense of who they are as a person – a critical part of the interview process.
We’d always recommend setting expectations with the candidate – let them know that there will be a structured format to the interview but that questions are encouraged.
Just like with any change to your hiring process, introducing interview score sheets is going to require some work to get off the ground. The initial change will involve deciding on a format for your scorecards (this template provides a great starting point), a guideline for the number of criteria, and what rating system will be used. There will have to be an adjustment period whilst hiring managers learn how to work with this new system.
5 steps to get started using interview score sheets
Here are our recommended steps to start using interview score sheets in your hiring process:
1. Decide what your criteria will be
What are the specific requirements you have for someone who would work in this role? Are you looking for certain competencies or skills? What values will they hold to fit into your company culture? You’re going to need interview questions that can check for these qualities.
2. Decide on your score sheet format
The format entirely depends on what criteria you have chosen to look for, and the rating scale you’d like to use. Are you going to use printed score sheets? A shared document? Or does your applicant tracking system have a scorecards feature built in?
3. Communicate with your hiring team
Communicate the benefits of interview score sheets to your hiring team and give them the help they need to create effective scorecards for their departments and jobs. Let candidates know that there may be brief silences where the interviewer takes notes so that the candidate doesn’t feel the need to try and fill the silence. In some cases employers will even send applicants an example score sheet so they know what the format will be. Our example interview score card template would be perfect for this.
4. Simplify your selection process
Your selection process after the interviews should be far easier as comparisons can quickly be made between candidates on certain questions or qualities. If a candidate has been interviewed more than once then interviewers can see if they wrote similar comments and scores. If you’re using the scorecards feature of your applicant tracking system, you should be able to quickly order candidates by any criteria or drill down for more information about a particular candidate’s score.
5. Learn from the data
Finally, you should learn from your hiring process. Look at what the score sheets of successful hires looked like and try to hire others with similar results. Over time this should allow you to significantly increase the consistency with which you hire good candidates.
How Pinpoint can help
Pinpoint is talent acquisition software that makes attracting, hiring, and retaining top talent easier.
Our recruitment tools include digital candidate scorecards that make scoring candidates and making collaborative data-driven hiring decisions easier.