I’ve talked in previous blogs about using an interviewing guide and scorecard to know what questions to ask your job candidates and then what to do with the responses you receive. Today, I’ll go into a little more detail about what interviewing guides and scorecards are and how they work.
An interviewing guide is made up of 3 sections:
I create a table with each of the 3 sections as column headers and as many rows below that are needed to hold all the questions I plan to ask during the interview. Let’s examine each section in more detail.
First, the interview questions are derived directly from the role job description. This is so you are asking questions that focus squarely on what is needed to successfully perform the job tasks. Questions should be formulated to uncover the candidate’s knowledge, skill, and experience that translates to what you determine to be job competence. For example, let’s say you are hiring an office assistant. You would ask questions that explore their experience using your office technology, their comfort with filing systems, and their interest in providing excellent customer service.
Notice that not every question is about skill and experience. Sometimes you expect to train an employee to do job tasks that are specific to your business, so it’s not essential they come to you with them. In those cases and really in all cases, what is important is that they want to learn and do the type of work you need them to do.
Therefore, you want to use some of your interview to examine the candidate’s interests and aptitude for certain tasks. If you hire a landscaper who doesn’t like being outdoors, it won’t take long for you to regret that decision.
I’ve said many times, an employment relationship is like any other. You really want to get to know as much about that person as possible before you enter into, what you hope will be, a somewhat permanent relationship. It’s perfectly reasonable to have multiple interviews to get to a depth of understanding that ensures a good fit.
A best practice is to create all the questions you could possibly ask during any interview and place them in a bank at the bottom of the interview guide. As you prepare for an interview, you simple copy the questions you want to ask into the space in the table under the questions header. Then they are ready to go and the guess work is gone.
We never want to ask a question when we don’t know what we’ll do with the answer we receive. Therefore, the second essential part of the interview guide is to have expected or preferred responses formulated in advance for each question. Again, this is based on the desired skills, experiences, and attitudes needed for success in the job. For example, if you determine you need someone with advanced skill in Excel, you might ask, “tell me about your skill level in excel on a scale from 1 to 5?” You know going in that you need to hear 4 or 5 for this candidate to be qualified. You can always ask for more information, but asking this way answers your question quickly and objectively.
Some responses will not be so cut and dry, but you must always have 1 or more expected responses for each question before you ask it; even for questions you think are more subjective.
Again, ahead of the interview, these responses are copied from the question and answer bank into the table under the responses column at the same time you copy in the questions.
Last, but not least, is the method of scoring the responses. It can be difficult to listen to the candidate’s responses, form judgements, and take notes at the same time. Having ready answers documented coupled with a scoring system make the job very easy. I suggest using a 1, 2, 3 score for each response. 1 meaning they meet the job performance criteria. 2 meaning they have some competence, but will need training and support. And 3 meaning they do not have what’s needed.
At the end of the interview, all the scores are added and recorded into an interviewing dashboard to use as a decision point on how to proceed with this candidate. The lower the overall interview score, the more qualified the candidate. This process helps compare and contrast all the candidates without having to remember every detail from each interview.
A key advantage to this system besides the ease and accuracy is the removal of many biases and subjectivities that can cloud your judgement when hiring. I’ve had owners tell me they hired people they really liked, but in time they had to let them go because they were not qualified to do the work.
And, never let yourself be pressured into making a premature or uninformed hiring decision just because you really need someone in a hurry or because the candidate wowed you with their personality or interviewing skills.
If you want to learn more about interviewing guides and scorecards, drop a note or give me a call. firstname.lastname@example.org or 980-435-1457. Thanks.
David Koster is the owner and principle consultant of Team Learning Services. He has 30 years experience in the education and learning industry.