An interview evaluation form, also known as a candidate evaluation form, is a tool designed for hiring teams to report their feedback about a job applicant after a round of interviews.
When designed correctly, the form should provide a hiring team with a quantifiable way of comparing a candidate against the requirements of the job.
Notice I didn’t say “against other candidates”. When you compare the candidate against job-related competencies (knowledge, skills, abilities, behaviors, etc), you instantly have a data-driven way to make an accurate hiring decision. This approach is also designed to take “gut decisions” and “interviewer bias” out of the equation.
It’s recommended that you incorporate an Interview Evaluation Form after each round of interviews. Your form can be as simple as a grid that lists each candidate and several criteria that you’re going to compare them against. If you’re company is highly analytical, it could also be a very numbers-driven document in which each candidate receives a score based on a variety of criteria — each of which are weighted depending on how important they are.
One technique that we don’t recommend is a tactic used by some applicant tracking systems that only require the interviewer to select a green “thumbs up” or a red “thumbs down”. This line of thinking is too binary and doesn’t allow for degrees of competence which is important when you’re trying to make a decision.
For this reason, we recommend that your interview evaluation form has a numerical key associated with it. In the HireBar platform, we use a simple 5 number system like this:
Using this system allows interviewers to provide a more accurate way to rate a candidate’s competence in a given category. For example, in some cases, a 5 rating is not necessarily a good thing. Especially if you have too many of them. It could mean that the candidate is beyond the expected competence range for a role. This could lead to boredom, disengagement, turnover or someone who is out of the salary range for the role.
It’s important not to get too caught up in the design of the form but rather creating something that is simple, easy to use and accomplishes the goal of forcing your hiring team to think deeply about the defined hiring criteria, instead of how they “feel” about each candidate or how well they interviewed.
Standardizing the form throughout your company and making it a requirement for each interviewer to complete is also a great idea. Adding this to your process will also result in much better post-interview hiring team debriefs because each interviewer will have a reference document on each candidate with notes tied directly to the criteria they were assessing.
You can incorporate your evaluation form into the last page of your interview guides (you are using them right???) OR there are some more modern platforms that exist today that make the form available as a web based option. Here’s an example of what a HireBar online feedback form looks like:
Now, just as important as having a form, is having an easy way to aggregate the data that exists on those forms. This is hard to do if you’re using a paper only process.
But if you’re using an online tool, you can have all of the feedback centralized so that your entire hiring team can see the feedback and responses that were given by each interviewer. This is how true data-driven hiring decisions get made.
And once you have the interviewer data consolidated, it’s not enough to simple look at the data. Your teams should be having a formal discussion. We’ve written about these discussions before because we believe that are the key to making great hiring choices.
If you’re using an interview evaluation form, then you should be incorporating the results into a post-interview meeting. We call this meeting the “Post-Interview Debrief”. Some companies call it a “huddle” or a “candidate calibration”. The name doesn’t matter but the way that they are run should certainly be standardized.
This meeting can take as little as 15 minutes or as long as an hour but it’s a more effective way to make a hiring decision than say…using email to share your feedback. Or using slack or instant messaging or text messaging.