Interview Scorecards

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Interview Scorecards

As we move toward a diverse and inclusive workplace where everyone feels like they can contribute, it becomes invaluable to assess candidates on their skills and qualifications for a role.

To accomplish this, we must remove subjectivity from the interview process.

This is where interview scorecards come in.

An interview scorecard is simply a way to rate and compare candidates based on their performance in an interview, as well as their skills, and qualifications. By having a set of criteria that you rate each candidate on, you can more objectively compare candidates side-by-side.

When creating an interview scorecard, it is important to consider what qualities are most important for the role you are hiring for.

Some common criteria that you may want to include are:

Communication skills
Problem-solving ability
Energy level
Fit with the team
Experience working in an environment similar to yours....

As these soft skills will greatly impact your company's culture if they're hired.

You'll also want to assess their hard skills:

Technical background
Past performance

That way you can be sure they have the hard skills necessary to do the job.

Once you have decided on the criteria, you will want to create a scorecard that measures a candidate's competency in each area. The best way to do this is by forming semi-structured interview questions that allow you to measure a candidate's proficiency in each of the required areas.

Questions like: "Tell me about the last time you had to identify and resolve a product issue for a client. How did you identify the problem, identify who could solve it, and help the customer reach a positive resolution?"

(If you're a customer of Pillar, questions like these have already been formatted for you and can be accessed in your interview dashboard.)

To create a truly equitable workplace, we must ensure that each candidate is assessed fairly and that the person who is ultimately hired is the best fit for the role.

Before interview intelligence software, hiring managers and recruiters depended on gut feelings about a candidate's ability to perform a role.

Unfortunately, this process often resulted in unconscious bias creeping into the hiring decision and diverse candidates being overlooked.

Interview scorecards set a new baseline for the interview process.

They give each candidate a fair chance by ensuring that everyone is assessed on the same criteria. They also help to reduce unconscious bias in the interview process by taking human subjectivity out of the equation.

With interview scorecards, we can now avoid these pitfalls by objectively measuring each candidate's ability to do the job. They level the playing field for all candidates and help ensure that you hire the best person for the job, regardless of their background.

If you're looking to create a more equitable and inclusive workplace, interview scorecards are a great place to start.

Interview Scorecard Questions

Before we dive into some example questions, think back to the last time you interviewed for a role.

Everything told you something about the role, the company, the culture, expectations, etc.

The interviewer's questions communicated what would be expected of you if you were hired. Their non-verbal cues told you whether the company culture was high-stress, or relaxed. The way they communicated with their team indicated the company hierarchy and how people were treated at every level.

Think back - what was the interviewer's energy level like? How did they dress?

How engaged were they in the conversation? Did they actively listen to you, and ask deeper questions or were they reading from a script?

The interviewer's behavior during the meeting tells you what the company values. If they're rushed, or disinterested, it might be a sign that the company puts profits above people. On the other hand, if they're warm and engaging, it might be an indication that the company values its employees and invests in their development.

You see, the way an interviewer acts can communicate more than the questions they're asking, but that doesn't mean the questions aren't equally important.

We like to break interview scorecard questions into 3 categories for ICs (individual contributors):

Behavioral Questions
Technical Questions
Past Performance Questions

Behavioral Questions:

These questions are designed to assess how you've handled situations in the past. They help the interviewer understand how you might handle similar situations in the future.

Some examples of behavioral questions include:

"Describe a time when you had to deal with a difficult customer. What was the situation, and how did you handle it?"
"Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond to complete a project. What was the situation, and what did you do?"
"Describe a time when you made a mistake. How did you handle it? What lessons did you learn?"

Technical Questions:

These questions assess your knowledge of the skills and technologies required for the role. They help the interviewer understand whether you have the necessary skills to be successful in the role.

Some examples of technical questions include:

"What is your experience with (X) technology?"
"How would you go about solving (Y) problem?"
"What is your experience with the (Z) process?"

Past Performance Questions:

These questions assess your experience and the results a candidate has achieved in similar roles. They help the interviewer understand whether you have the necessary experience to be successful in the role.

Some examples of past performance questions include:

"Can you tell me about a time when you increased sales/profits/efficiency?"
"Tell me about a time when you successfully managed a team/project?"
"Can you tell me about a time when you overcame (X) obstacle?"

Remember, the goal of the interview scorecard is to assess whether the candidate has the necessary skills, experience, and knowledge to be successful in the role.

If you're creating an interview scorecard for managers, it's important to add another category to this list of questions:


Leadership questions assess a candidate's ability to motivate and inspire a team. They help the interviewer understand whether the candidate has the necessary skills to lead a team effectively.

Some examples of leadership questions include:

"What experience do you have leading a remote team?"
"How do you motivate your team members?"
"How often do you feel that you need to check in with your team?"
"Tell me about the last time you fired someone. How did you handle the situation? How did they respond? How did you help them transition into a role that was a better fit? And, what would they say about you and the overall experience if I asked them today?"

This last question is my personal favorite as the managers you choose will either multiply or destroy company culture.

Technical Interview Scorecard

The technical side of the interview is never the most fun. Often it seems more like a checklist than an opportunity to get to know an interesting person, but the reality is that an interviewee's technical skills are a key part of whether or not they'll be successful in the role.

Since I don't know what role you're hiring for right now, I'll make a few suggestions relevant to a software engineering role and you can tailor them to your needs.

If I was developing a technical interview scorecard for a software engineering role, these are the questions I'd include.

Pro tip: working with team leaders to identify the necessary criteria is the fastest way to create interview questions.

Unless you're using Pillar's interview intelligence software - in which case they're already built into the system to save you time and create a better interview experience.

10 Technical Interview Questions for an entry-level Software Engineer:

What coding languages are you most competent programming in?
What are the essentials of reviewing code?
How do you identify an error?
What's your process of identifying and handling an error look like?
Explain the different types of software development life cycles?
What are the differences between each type?
What is a stack?
What are the two different operations of a stack?
What's an array?
How does an array differ from a stack?

At this point, you'd want to have a technical problem or algorithm question for them to solve. Implementing a linear search in Java, for example.This is just a sampling of questions, but you can see how each question assesses a specific skill necessary for the role.

Keep in mind that these questions should be relevant to the position you're hiring for. If you're looking for a senior-level software engineer, their answers to these questions will be very different than an entry-level candidate.

Candidate Scorecard Examples

What you include in your candidate scorecard is going to be specific to your company, the role you're hiring for, and your team's assessment criteria.

Organizational Development Consultant Ben Dattner, posted a great article on HBR entitled, "A Scorecard for Making Better Hiring Decisions."In it, he outlines the criteria that should be included in a candidate scorecard.

Technical Skills
Leadership Skills
Interpersonal Skills
Presentation Skills
Organizational Citizenship

These are all great items to consider adding to candidate scorecard examples.

Creating a quantitative basis for each criterion will help to ensure that everyone on the interview team is consistently assessing candidates.

For example, if you're looking for a candidate with strong leadership skills, you might rate their answers to leadership questions on a scale of 1-5.If you're using Pillar, the software has this built-in and allows you to accomplish this in several ways:

First, the platform offers you semi-structured questions as prompts associated with the roles you're hiring for to keep the interview on track and the interviewer's objective.

Second, Pillar allows you to give immediate feedback on each question through scoring and highlighting so other interviewers can reference them later.

Third, it records and transcribes each interview, indexing each topic and making the entire interview searchable.

Finally, the software uses AI to assess each interview and give you deeper insights into how the candidate fits the role.

HR Interview Scorecard

In, "How to Create an Interview Scorecard (with FREE Templates)," ContractRecruiter offers some great tips and tools to expand on what we've covered so far in this article.

As you create your HR interview scorecard, they suggest you start by brainstorming a list of qualities your ideal candidate would possess.Then, identify which qualities are the most important for the role you're hiring for.

Once you've done that, you can begin to construct your semi-structured questions.

Their template suggestions can help recruiting teams operating on a lean budget create a simple but effective interview scorecard.

If you'd like to learn more about how to create an effective candidate scoring system that leads to better hires, schedule a demo to chat with our team.

We'd love to help you build an equitable hiring process that works for you.