How and why you should use interview scoring sheets [+template]

Finding new employees involves making decisions that shouldn’t come from your gut instincts alone. Once you post your job opening and reach the interview stage of the hiring process, it helps to use a rating system to compare applicants and choose the best fit for your open position. Hiring based on intuition can often lead to bringing someone on board because they were nice or clever, not because they’re the right fit for the role or company.

If you’re wondering how to standardize your small business’s hiring process, check out a rundown of the basics below. Then, download this interview scoring sheet template to create a ready-made rating scale tailored to your team’s needs.

What is an interview scoring sheet?

An interview scoring system helps you easily rate applicants based on the qualifications you’re seeking for an open position to ensure a data-driven and unbiased hiring process. An interview scoring sheet is how you make that system come to life. It should have a space for you to add the following:

  • The candidate’s personal information
  • The list of questions you asked
  • The answers they gave you
  • The score the candidate received

Source: Homebase

Caption: To use this interview scoring sheet, fill in the different areas with specific details about your interviews and add a score to each of the candidate’s answers during the meeting.

Why use an interview scoring system

Just like you’re interviewing candidates for an open position at your business, they’re also evaluating you as a potential employer. That’s why it’s important that you have a standard interview process and rating system to measure applicants. You should incorporate a scoring system to:

  • Objectively measure and compare applicants based on how they answer questions related to:
    • Relevant experience
    • Hard and soft skills
    • Culture fit
    • Communication skills
    • Role competencies
  • Ensure you don’t let any subconscious bias influence your decision and that all applicants have the same chances of getting hired
  • Allow hiring managers to follow an interview structure that’s consistent across departments and branches
  • Build a pipeline of qualified applicants that didn’t get hired for a particular position
  • Make hiring decisions faster — if someone passes the interview, that means they should be ready to hire

5 steps to using an interview scoring sheet

If you’re planning to use a scoring sheet to rate applicants in interviews, follow a set of steps to guarantee successful system adoption. Here’s an example:

  1. Structure your interview with the right questions
  2. Take candidate presentation into account
  3. Settle on your scoring system
  4. Use your free scoring sheet for every interview
  5. Make your hiring decision

1. Structure your interview with the right questions

A good interview is all about what you ask the applicant — and how you rate their answers. And using a structured list of the same questions for every candidate will keep your interview process consistent and objective.

Choose relevant questions based on necessary soft skills, common workplace challenges, and levels of experience. For more help with interview questions, check out our article on how to nail each stage of the hiring process.

And remember, each interview is a touchpoint that your candidates have with your company culture. Make sure you embody it and show respect for your applicants by:

  • Not repeating the same questions at different interview stages
  • Being on time and demonstrating that you’ve previously read the applicant’s resume
  • Asking acceptable questions like:
    • “Can you tell me about your work experience?” “Do you have any experience with [name of a company or tool]?” “Why did you leave your previous job?”
    • “Do you have the skills you need to effectively do all the tasks this position requires?”
    • “What languages can you read, write, and/or speak?” “How fluent are you in [x] language?”

2. Take candidate presentation into account

An interview isn’t only about how a candidate answers questions — presentation matters as well. Assessing preparation levels can often be left to your personal intuition, but why not consider them according to objective criteria?

The presentation section of your interview scoring system allows you to rate applicants on how they carry themselves during the interview as a whole. That’ll help you both sort out your gut feeling and make it easier to identify who’d be a great fit for your workplace culture.

These aspects might change between virtual and in-person meetings, and while none of them are necessarily deal breakers, they should be taken into account. Some presentation criteria to pay attention to when meeting a candidate include:

  • Their handshake
  • Their confidence or general attitude
  • Their communication skills and how they express themselves
  • Eye contact
  • Overall professionalism

And some virtual presentation characteristics you should evaluate (when required for the role) are:

  • The audio quality and internet speed
  • The candidate’s video conferencing background
  • The candidate’s platform knowledge

Documenting examples of people who ace their candidate presentation can also be helpful to train other interviewers in the future.

3. Settle on your scoring system

A good interview scoring system uses a scale that’s specific, measurable, and has firm descriptions behind each value. For example, if you’re using a scale of 1-5, you’ll need to set clear descriptions for each rating, like:

  • 1: The candidate didn’t answer the question
  • 2: The candidate was unable to expand on this answer
  • 3: The candidate hit on some key aspects of the question
  • 4: The candidate had a strong answer to the question
  • 5: The candidate offered an ideal answer to this question

Another common practice is using adjectives to assess the candidate’s responses. Here’s one example you can copy:

  • E for Exceptional: The candidate gave an outstanding answer and is a better fit for the position when compared with others.
  • VS for Very Strong: The applicant exceeds the skills required for the position.
  • S for Strong: The candidate meets the requirements, but there are more qualified applicants who’d be a better fit.
  • D for Deficient: The applicant doesn’t meet the required skills for the position.
  • U for Unsatisfactory: The candidate is unacceptable overall.

Since each company’s scoring system is only used internally, there are unlimited interview scale possibilities: you could even rate candidates with emojis. The important thing is that your ratings have a clear delimitation and are easy for all interviewers to use without bias.

4. Use your free scoring sheet for every interview

Make a point of using your scoring sheet as you interview every candidate to guarantee you’re making data-driven hiring decisions. You can tailor your questions based on the open role, but maintaining consistency will help you make smarter decisions and get the best results during your hiring process.

You can even build a question bank with different categories. Then, fill out this free template with a selection of those questions, come up with a final score, and move forward with the candidate who gets the highest score. You should also ensure that all interviewers see the benefit of using a scoring sheet and let the final scores be the decision-makers, especially when you’ve got several highly qualified candidates.

5. Make your hiring decision

It can be difficult to choose between two or more excellent candidates. So, if you’re facing various great applicants with similar interview scores and need to make a decision, you should:

  1. Review the original job posting and identify who fits the requirements better.
  2. Think about the futures different candidates might have with your company. Are they looking for a long-term position, or will they move on after a couple of months? Do they have the potential to grow? Can you offer them career opportunities?
  3. Ask yourself how each of the candidates would help your team become better and improve overall efficiency.
  4. Define if the candidates are good culture fits by talking to their previous employers and assessing the culture in those companies.
  5. Prioritize hiring candidates that can start work sooner if you’re looking to fill your position urgently.

At this point, you should remind yourself that any of your top candidates will be a good choice, and you can always save the other people’s contact information, resumes, and scores if you need to hire more staff in the future. Then, you can contact them first if a new position comes up that they’d be a good fit for.

How Homebase can help you find, hire, and train new employees

To ensure you end up hiring the right candidate, you should incorporate an interview scoring system to rate each of your applicants and make an educated, data-driven decision. But hiring is much more than the interview process alone, and it can be extremely manual and tedious if you don’t use the right tools.

With Homebase hiring, you can streamline your hiring process from end to end. Our software can post your open positions on leading job sites, help you find the perfect candidate by using our applicant tracking system, and manage respondents in one intuitive place. And when you’re ready to onboard new employees and add them into your payroll process, we have tools for that, too.

Interview scoring sheet FAQs

homebase customer photo homebase customer photo

How do you evaluate an interview performance?

Your hiring team should have a consistent scoring system to evaluate how candidates perform in interviews.

There are many different scoring scales you can use, but one of the most common is to assess candidates by scoring each of the questions they answer on a scale of 1 through 5. This template can help you implement that system right away.

What is an interview scoring matrix?

An interview scoring matrix provides recruiters with a guide for asking questions and assigning scores. These kinds of matrixes allow hiring managers to evaluate candidates on different types of questions and get a final score to use for hiring decisions.

What are some qualities that make a good interviewee?

There are some basic qualities that every candidate must demonstrate to be considered a good interviewee, including:

  • Having good communication skills
  • Being honest and respectful
  • Valuing teamwork
  • Being results-oriented
  • Having a positive attitude
  • Showing integrity

What does the interview scoring sheet tell you about the candidate?

The interview scoring sheet tells you if a candidate met or failed to meet your hiring criteria. Interview scoring sheet documents are also ways of keeping records of your interviews and building a pipeline of the people who got passing scores but didn’t receive a job offer at the time, so you can contact them in the future.

How can Homebase help with the interview process?

Homebase is an all-in-one HR tool for non-HR people. The platform allows you to manage your hiring process from job posting to onboarding. Homebase can help with the interview process by adding screening questions on job postings and providing resources like the interview scoring sheet so you can have data-based and unbiased interviews.

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