Basics of an interview scoring sheet
An interview scoring sheet, also known as an interview scorecard or score sheet, is a tool that interviewers use to score a candidate’s qualifications for a position. Hiring managers use score sheets to ensure a company evaluates candidates in a fair, consistent manner and that interviewers rate each candidate using an objective measurement tool. Evaluating all candidates using the same criteria helps hiring managers clearly and accurately compare each candidate’s qualifications and suitability for the position.
An interview scoring sheet typically includes the following:
- A consistent rating system
- Specific questions aimed at evaluating a candidate’s skills, traits, qualifications and experience
- Clearly defined criteria specific to the position
- Criteria related to how a candidate would fit into a company’s culture
- A comments section
- A “total score” section
Create and distribute scoresheets to hiring managers before interviews for a position begin. This is so that all hiring managers are aware of the key criteria being sought after and to ensure that interviewers are objective throughout the interviewing process.
How structured interviews relate to scoring sheets
Scoring sheets are an attempt to make hiring more consistent and objective. However, they can’t achieve this goal effectively unless your interviews themselves are consistent. To this end, you need to design a structured interview that lends itself a consistent rating system with consistent scoring.
Related: How to Conduct a Job Interview
Pros and cons of using a scoring sheet
The following are the advantages and disadvantages of using scorecards in the interview process:
Pros of using interview scoring sheets
There are several benefits that using scorecards during an interview can provide. These benefits include:
- Helping the interview to stay on track: By following preselected questions and interviewing each candidate in a similar manner using an objective rating system, interviews are much more likely to go according to plan.
- Keeping interviews consistent: Scorecards can help ensure interviews remain consistent from candidate to candidate and that interviewers follow an objective outline of questions when interviewing people for a position.
- Helping candidate evaluations remain objective: Interviews can easily become subjective depending on the interviewer’s biases, personal preferences and initial impression of candidates. Using scorecards to move through the interview is a good way to maintain objectivity and consistency and rate interviewees using the same scale.
- Helping interviewers remember each candidate: When performing multiple interviews, it’s easy to forget the specifics of each interview and keep the opinions about candidates separate. By using scorecards to track thoughts and impressions, interviewers can easily review each candidate and recall how the interview went.
Cons of using interview scoring sheets
The following are potential disadvantages of using scorecards during the interview process:
- Limited answers: Asking particular questions means that a candidate can only answer in a set number of ways. By following a scorecard and only asking certain questions, you may risk missing out on learning other relevant information about the candidate that isn’t on your scorecard questions.
- Limited engagement: When an interviewer is constantly looking at a scorecard, engagement can be limited between the interviewer and interviewee. For example, eye contact may be diminished, and the interview may come across as monotone when asking questions.
- More time: Implementing the use of scorecards can require an adjustment period for hiring managers to get used to using this tool during interviews. As a result, interviews may take longer and/or hiring managers will have to take time out of their day to become familiar with using scoring sheets.
How to create an interview scoring sheet
Creating an interview scoring sheet is fairly straightforward once you know what you’re aiming for. Take the following steps to implement an interview rating sheet in your own company:
1. Have a structured interview with good questions
The basic elements of a scoring sheet are the questions and the scoring system. You can’t effectively make use of scoring sheets without an effective, structured interview plan. If you aren’t already using structured interviews in your business, the first step toward more consistent, objective interviewing is implementing one. Consider the soft skills that are important in your industry and the most common dilemmas that arise, and choose questions that are relevant.
2. Consider additional scoring categories
A firm handshake, eye contact, good preparation and professional presentation have always been important in interviews. However, their impact is often left to the personal intuition of a hiring manager. Instead, you might consider creating additional scoring categories besides the questions. In this case, you would score potential hires for how they carry themselves during the interview, not just for the questions.
3. Create a defined scoring system
If you ask two people what a numeric score means, it’s likely they won’t agree. One person might imagine 5/10 to be an adequate, average score, while another might consider that 7/10 borders on failure. As such, you need to put the meaning of each potential score into words to help the interviewers be more consistent.
It will be harder to give distinct meanings to each potential score as the number of possible scores rises. As such, scoring on a scale of 1-10 might not be best in most cases. Instead, consider scoring on a 1-4 or 1-5 basis. You might describe the values in a 1-4 scoring system as follows:
- 1: A poor answer that missed the key point of the question
- 2: An incomplete answer that had good elements but was significantly flawed
- 3: A convincing but flawed answer that falls short because of problems with either the content or breadth of the answer
- 4: An ideal answer that understood the question and answered it fully while indicating high competence
4. Decide on a format for your scoring sheet
The actual design of your scoring sheet is the last step, and also the most forgiving. So long as a scoring sheet allows the interviewer to clearly score each individual question and add all the scores, it should be fine. In general, though, visual simplicity is preferable, and there’s no need to have more than one column for each candidate you’re scoring.
Interview scoring sheet template and sample
There are numerous ways to design a scoring sheet template, but the basic requirements are fairly simple. It should include the questions your hiring manager is asking, while also making it clear how the candidate scored on each question. You might use a single scoring sheet that has the name of all or multiple applicants, or you might use a different scoring sheet for each candidate. What’s important is that you use a single, universal set of questions for all candidates.
Here’s a template scoring sheet that uses six questions and a 1-5 scoring system. Rather than relying on intuition, it’s essential to define each number as having a specific meaning. In this case, consider:
- 1/5: The answer missed the point of the question entirely or was otherwise wholly inadequate
- 2/5: A poor or incomplete answer that nonetheless contained good points
- 3/5: A basically adequate answer that hit the key points of the question, but which goes no further
- 4/5: A strong answer that goes beyond the basic requirements of the question
- 5/5: An excellent answer that is exactly what you’re looking for
|Applicant #1||Applicant #2||Applicant #3||Applicant #4||Applicant #5||Applicant #6|
|Interview question||H. Yifan||R. Huebner||D. Bronstein||J. Capablanca||S. Polgar||R. Fischer|
|Describe situations where you had to work with “difficult” people in the workplace and how you overcame the problem.||4||4||3||5||5||4|
|What does “teamwork” mean to you, and what are some examples of applying teamwork in past positions?||5||3||4||5||5||2|
|Do you have examples of an occasion where you had to respond to questions that went beyond your knowledge?||3||5||5||5||3||4|
|Have you ever dealt with situations at work that required confidentiality? How did you handle the situation?||3||3||4||5||5||3|
|Describe a past situation where you had to manage a difficult client.||5||1||4||5||2||5|
|Think of a time when things went wrong, how did you recover afterward?||5||4||2||5||4||5|
|Total Score #/30||25/30||20/30||22/30||30/30||24/30||23/40|
Interview scoring sheet FAQs
Should you tell candidates about the scorecards?
Inform the candidates you are interviewing that you will be using a scoring sheet throughout the interview, and give them an overview of how you will be assessing them. This allows them to have a better understanding of what you’re looking for and how their candidacy will be rated. Transparency is a two-way street, and you should always empower candidates to put their best foot forward.
How do you determine what questions to include on the scoring sheet?
There are several tools available that can help you create scorecards and decide what questions to ask. You can also determine which skills and traits are most important to the job you’re interviewing for and then create a list of questions that will sufficiently allow you to determine a candidate’s abilities in relation to those skills.
What should not be included in a scorecard?
Avoid including questions or ratings related to potentially offensive or illegal topics on your scorecards. Common subjects to leave off of your scoring sheet include gender, race, age, marital and family status, religious background and pregnancy status or intentions of becoming pregnant. There may also be laws in your state regarding what may be considered discriminatory during an interview, so it’s important to check with the equal opportunity employment organization for your state.