How to build a bulletproof recruiting scorecard (including template)
Once you have clearly defined your ideal candidate during the kickoff meeting, it's now time to define a scorecard (find our template below, that you can duplicate and make your own). The pillar of a structured interview process. The scorecard is one of the four steps defined by Geoff Smart and Randy Street in their bestseller Who, The A Method for Hiring (the 3 others being Source, Select, and Sell).
The structured interview process reduces bias
Most first-time interviewers do the same mistake: They enter the room/call without a specific plan in mind, and think “I’ll figure it out once in front of the candidate”, or “I know when a candidate is good or not”. Except, when you don't prepare and don't script your interview, you may ask different questions to each candidate. And due to the lack of a common basis for comparison, this will make it hard to compare answers. You are comparing apples to oranges.
Worst, candidates who have discussions going to areas they're comfortable with, areas they master, will make a better impression than those who were not so lucky. Or good story tellers will seduce more the interviewer. Typically, some bad sales reps can thrive in this unstructured process. You'll think "they're awesome!", because they sell you the dream (=them). But think about it — what do you care about most, a candidate who makes a good impression on you in random areas, for random reasons, or who shows strong skills in the areas that will play a decisive role in this specific job?
Enter the structured interviews and scorecards methods.
“The scorecard is a document that describes exactly what you want a person to accomplish in a role. It is not a job description, but rather a set of outcomes and competencies that define a job well”
The scorecard is the pillar of the structured interview
The scorecard lists the skills and competencies you want to hire for. The criteria that make a talent the best hire for this job. That’s why it makes it the perfect next step after the kickoff meeting, where the main objective is to define what a successful hire looks like. The idea is then to ask all candidates exactly the same set of questions, in the same order, to assess the same criteria. This way, you can compare apples to apples. That’s why for a lot of professional recruiters, this is by far the most unbiased, fair, and efficient way to assess candidates.
Plus, it can save you a lot of money, knowing how much a bad hire can cost.
“The validity or predictive power of a typical unstructured interview is around 20%.” Harvard Business Review
Charles Guillemet who is today recruiter @Facecook/Meta, and was recruiter @Neuralink & @Gusto. At Gusto, he was the first recruiter and grow the team from 50 to 250 people in 6 months. Here are his advices :
- Standardize the method for identifying top players, relatively to the company → Top players are specific to a company. A person can be an A-player in a company and an average employee in another.
- To do so try to identify across all jobs and functions (engineering, sales, marketing, finance etc...), what are the 4 or 5 attributes, the soft skills, that define all your top players, that makes them successful in your company. Often because it is unique to a company.
Examples: mission first, doer mentality, embrace the change, smart etc... @Gusto for instance top performers were: 1/ Pro change 2/ Mission driven 3/ Doer 4/ Fullstack (wear many hats).
- Then hire (and train your teams to hire) again these attributes. Could be done by a founder, the head of a department, or someone you trust already has these attributes. A top performer.
- Look for positive & negative signals for each. Ex : The doer mentality → "Tell me about a time, someone criticized your work, how did you respond, and what did you learn ?" Positive signal : The person is open to feedback, can tell the story precisely etc... Negative signal : no example to tell. She starts criticizing the person who criticize her in the first place, blame somebody else. Ex : Mission 1st → "What have you done for your other team members, that wasn't part of your goals ?" Positive signal : She stayed late to help a teammate Negative signal : Says something that isn't really relevant, like "I organized a team diner"
How to build a scorecard ?
- Choose criteria, that defines what success in 12/18 months in these jobs will look like For a lead software engineer for example, you may need to assess:
- Tech Knowledge: “18 months from now, I’d be 100% happy with this person if our infrastructure is scalable and can easily handle millions of connections
- Management: “12 months from now, I’d be satisfied if she hired 2 backends and 3 DevOps, helped them get seamlessly onboarded, and the team culture is fantastic, they’re all happy to be part of this team”.
- Cultural fit: “18 months from now, I’d be 100% happy with this person if she/he matches our values: X, Y, Z”
- Choose questions to assess these criteria
- Set your expected answers, what good answers look like, what would meet or exceeds your expectations. What Charles Guillemet called positive & negative signals (see above). Especially when decentralizing interviews to your team members, it will help them know what to look for.
- Add a “score” column, where interviewers can rate each criteria, following candidate's answers. Usually it’s a 1 to 5 score.
- Add a “comments” column, where interviewers can precise why they have given this score, and add relevant details if needed.
Check our template below, to see it in action.
Bonus: Scorecards help you streamline the feedback process
Since you and your team assess candidates on a rational and impartial basis, you can easily debrief together why some candidates were better than others. And same goes for feedbacks to candidates. When running unstructured interviews, you often just end-up saying things like “sorry, but we won’t go further with you in this process”. Because you actually don’t know what missing, you just didn’t “like” her as much as you may have liked another applicant.
Whereas, when you provide clear scores on a scorecard, you can give candidates constructive and precise feedback that will help build your employer branding. Thousands of applicants appreciate so much the detailed feedback about their interviews that they have recommended the company to their friends and colleagues
Here is the Scorecard template. Duplicate it and make it your own, to quickly assess your next candidates.
Did you know ?
On Crew Scorecards are built in the App.
Bonus: thanks to our powerful filters, you can answer questions like "who were the best candidates the team have met recently?", and then nurture them in seconds (email campaigns).