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What Are Interview Scorecards and How to Use Them

Hiring manager approval can be the lengthiest part of the candidate screening process. In our current talent marketplace (where time-to-hire is one of the top metrics), successful managers are establishing candidate evaluation guidelines to quickly fill open positions. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by utilizing interview scorecards.

Interview scorecards standardize evaluations for interviewers to compare multiple candidates on an established rating system. They ensure that recruiters, HR professionals and hiring managers evaluate hires by the agreed-upon criteria.

Interview scorecards are typically created for specific positions by the hiring manager, assigned recruiter or HR professional. They are often based on criteria developed for your candidate personas by, ideally, snapshotting your most successful employees’ qualities.

There are many approaches to interview scorecards, but in general, they should allow hiring managers to score behaviors such as: conflict management, problem solving, flexibility and communication. You can set these up as yes/no behavioral assessments, or develop a 1-5 scoring system for each behavior and skill set.

Structured Vs. Unstructured Interviews

Many hiring managers, particularly those used to working without a net (or HR department), may prefer unstructured interviews. There is a case to be made for these types of interviews, but the cons tend to outweigh the pros. In a structured interview, questions are determined in advance and are consistent. In unstructured interviews, the questions are not set, or may come from a loose set of notes from a hiring manager.

With structured interviews, the data is quantitative, the research is descriptive and the data collection validates results — especially when large numbers of hires are required. From an HR compliance standpoint, these interviews help make the hiring process consistent across all candidates. This lessens the risk for discrimination based on certain protected classes as discussed in Title VII, the ADA, GINA and ADEA. Your interview scorecards could also be helpful in the case of an EEOC audit, which may happen if a candidate files a complaint about discriminatory hiring practices.

In unstructured interviews, the data is qualitative, the research is exploratory and often incomplete. In addition, data collection is simply not possible, as the questions are more likely to probe personal details about a candidate and often cross into the “too personal” category. The biggest negative result from these types of interviews is that they leave your company open to potential lawsuits related to bias in hiring practices.

Advantages for Hiring Managers That Use Interview Scorecards

Creating an interview scorecard enables hiring managers and recruiters to sit down and identify the skills and attributes needed to be successful in a role. In a similar way to the service-level agreement (SLA), an interview scorecard puts the recruiter and the hiring manager on the same page. This is important because the recruiter can now move swiftly to find the ideal candidate once all attributes are met.

When multiple interviews are held for an individual candidate, scorecards allow different interviewers to extract similar information and compare notes through a standardized process. All interviewers choose their ratings during the interview so that their initial impression of the candidate is not biased by others’ opinions. Instead, interviewers can compare scorecards after each impression is made.

Setting benchmarks and a scoring system that multiple stakeholders can use in the interview process allows them to quickly make hiring decisions — which means faster hiring time and higher-quality talent.

One of the most important advantages in using a quantitative approach to interviewing is data. By using an interview scorecard to evaluate the qualifications and skills of job candidates, this data can help you better identify what your ideal candidate looks like. This means that you can refine and scale the process as time goes by, giving you more data to analyze successful hires.