interview scorecard template

The Structured Interview

There are many methodologies for the best hiring practices. But the science is clear – the most effective way to hire is with a structured interview process.

The more structured and standardized that your interview is, the better hire you will make. 

So what is a structured interview? Through structuring, you try to prevent the interviewer (your HR or hiring manager) to avoid impacting the outcome. A structured interview is a process to ensure the best person is selected regardless of who is asking the questions.

Why does it matter? 

The team is essential for any company, no matter the size – startup or a Fortune 500. The right people can bring any company success, while the opposite can be catastrophic. Hiring the best people is crucial to the team. Consider that it costs around 30% of an employees’ yearly salary for a bad hire (which includes hiring process, pay, and then re-hiring a new employee), hiring ineffectively is very expensive

How can you do a structured interview? 

So what exactly is a structured interview and how do you create a good one?  We’re hiring experts who have a 4-step process: setting specific criteria, building a scorecard, forming well-thought out questions, and self-awareness.

1. Specific criteria

The first step is to identify what skills and attributes you are looking for in a candidate. Many times these criteria are the ones that you have already written in your job posting or in your company values. For example, you may be looking for problem-solving skills, teamwork, or customer centricity.

List out the exact attributes that you believe are necessary for any incoming employee to be successful in that position.

2. Create a scorecard

This is a step that many people resist. Create a clear scorecard where you can “grade” each of the attributes or skills you are looking for in a simple manner. You can make an actual scorecard where you list the desirable attributes and a score. Within each box you should write precisely what each level of each attribute that would garner a certain score.

Many people feel strange about this tactic because it begins to feel very impersonal and stiff. That makes sense, because hiring is often a very personal process; however, creating a scorecard and establishing a process to assess objectively will help maintain your standards.

The other advantage of this method is that if you have multiple people conducting the interview, a standardized scorecard will control for huge variances in scoring between the different interviewers.

(Side note: that resistance you notice when creating the scorecard and giving grades to each candidate, is actually your unconscious bias. For example, if you interviewed someone you really like (maybe based on their personality), but as you went through the scorecard they weren’t meeting your requirements for the position, you may feel an urge to give them a higher score. This is exactly an example what typically occurs in unstructured interviews. Noticing it is the first step to avoiding it. Stay true to the criteria you really need.)

3. Create a standard question list

With clear criteria in your scorecard, the next step is to plan how to retrieve the information you want from each candidate. Create a standard series of questions to uncover the attributes you need. This is not as difficult as it may seem.

One example – say you’re looking for problem-solving skills. Ask a simple and clear question:

  • “Describe a situation where you solved a problem.”
  • “Give an example of a problem you faced at your last job, and how you solved it.”

If the questions are clear, it is up to the candidate to show their skills, experiences and competencies.

It’s important that every candidate receives the same questions, in the same exact order. This will control for differences in scoring.

4. Stay self-aware

Creating a structured interview is a huge step toward having an effective and equitable hiring process. But it is also important to remain aware of your own biases.

For example, maybe you interview someone that attended your alma mater and you want them to get the job. Even with a standardized criteria, scorecard, and question list, it is still possible to nudge up the scores and insert your bias. This is a reminder to check-in with yourself to make sure you are judging each candidate as objectively as possible.

This process can save your company time and money by reducing the amount of bad-fits for the job. 

And if this feels too daunting for you, reach out to us here at Mockmate. Mockmate automates your interviews, so each candidate has the same question, objectively scored. 

Companies large and small can use Mockmate to streamline their interview process, improving efficiency and avoiding biases. Want to try? Contact us!

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