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October 2, 2022
The Swarm

Use Interview Scorecards

One of the biggest challenges for startups when hiring new team members is finding a reliable, fair, and consistent way to evaluate different candidates during the application and interview process.

How can you ensure your interviewers and hiring teams are making the best possible decisions, guided by objective criteria and in line with the company’s needs and values?

Interview scorecards are one of the most effective ways to do this. In this playbook, we’ll explain what interview scorecards are, why they’re such a useful tool in the hiring process, and how to design your own.

What are interview scorecards?

Interview scorecards are a way of grading and rating each interviewee according to a predetermined set of criteria. Each of your interviewers can refer to the scorecard throughout the interview and use it to assess each candidate according to various different metrics.

This can be extremely useful for a number of key reasons.

Why are interview scorecards useful?

  • They ensure consistency. By making sure every candidate is assessed according to the same set of criteria, you’ll get more reliable and consistent results from your interviews and align your interviewers more closely.
  • They help interviewers gain a much clearer picture of what an ideal candidate looks like, and prime them for what to look for during the interview.
  • They help eliminate personal bias and promote DEI by encouraging interviewers to rely on predetermined criteria instead of their own subjective feelings. Many of us fall victim to unconscious bias, and if unchecked this can lead to unfair hiring decisions, like interviewees unknowingly favouring candidates similar to them. In one survey, 79% of HR professionals agreed that unconscious bias exists in recruitment.
  • They can help interviewees remember specific candidates when looking back, something which can otherwise be difficult after multiple similar interviews.

How to use interview scorecards

Implementing interview scorecards in your hiring process takes a little preparation, but it isn’t overly difficult. Here are the steps you’ll need to take to get the most out of interview scorecards.

Make sure your team is aligned

Your hiring team — especially your interviewers — must be clear on what interview scorecards are and how they work. Take the time to educate your team and be prepared to answer any questions about the process.

If your team are unsure about how scorecards should be used or their value, this can render the whole process a failure as team members might use scorecards incorrectly or not use them at all.

Decide what metrics you’re going to assess

Next, it’s time to decide what criteria your scorecards will focus on. Your choices here will always be specific to your team, company, needs, the position you’re hiring for, and many other factors. Here are some examples of common things you might want to assess:

  • The specific skills and competencies required for the position you’re hiring for
  • Your candidate’s previous experience and how relevant it is
  • How well a candidate answers pre-set questions
  • Personality traits specific to the role

Build your scorecards

There are a number of different ways to design and build your interview scorecards. For example, you can use a rating scale for each criterion, where the interviewer will grade the candidate’s performance on a scale of 1 to 10 or 1 to 5.

You can choose to score candidates based on each question, or group similar questions together into categories and assign scores based on each one.

In addition to this, the scorecard should leave space for the interviewer to leave any additional notes of their own, along with potential concerns. You may also ask your interviewers to recommend hiring a candidate or not.

Collect and process the feedback from your interviewers

It’s always important to collect interview feedback fairly promptly after the end of the interview process. This should be done before the interviewer is able to talk to other interviewers, as this can influence their opinions.

All your scorecards and other feedback should then be stored in a secure location like a safe folder or an ATS platform. When it’s time to assess, bring all the feedback and scores together into a single document, ready to be looked over by a hiring decision-maker.

At this point, you might also decide to set up a debrief meeting, or series of meetings, where all your interviewers review their feedback in more detail, clarify any points, and help reach a final decision on each candidate.

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