It isn't always easy for hiring managers and job interviewers to objectively grade job applicants because the playing field is often fairly level. You can immediately rule out under-qualified and overqualified candidates, but evaluating other candidates can feel like a guessing game or the luck of the draw. Before the interview, think about the type of person and skill sets you need so the best applicants will stand out.
Create a Rubric
A rubric is an ideal way to grade applicants based on concrete expectations. Teachers often use rubrics to grade projects and assignments that don't have right and wrong answers. You might list specific traits or skills, such as strong organizational skills or friendly disposition, and put a numeric value beside each one. For example, a highly energetic person might get a score of "5" for enthusiasm and motivation, but a low-key or shy individual might only get a "2." List the most important skills and traits first on your rubric, so you can evaluate those more closely. Make sure the applicant can't see the scores you are giving her, or your interview might take a turn for the worse.
Sometimes it's difficult to grade or rank candidates when you're focused on asking the right questions. Take notes so you can go back and assess each candidate's responses, when you're not under so much pressure. Write down comments that are both positive and negative, so you don't forget something important. For example, you might write "has experience with financial software," or "has trouble meeting guidelines." Write down short, specific, word-for-word phrases so you don't have to try to recall exactly what was said.
Evaluate Behavioral Interview Answers
Behavioral questions are beneficial to the interview process because they can help you assess a candidate's problem-solving and decision-making skills. According to Forbes, you might ask, "How would you handle a difficult customer?" "Tell me about a time you took a risk and failed," or "What three things would you do to be successful in this position?" Behavioral questions are open-ended and require more than a yes or no answer. You might give the candidate a point for each positive response, such as her willingness to work as a team player, her ability to handle difficult situations or her eagerness to complete assignments.
Evaluate Interpersonal Skills
Strong interpersonal skills are advantageous in most workplace settings, so you can make a list and circle each one that the candidate possesses. You might include traits, such as a positive attitude, communication skills, willingness to offer praise, kindness, active listening skills, problem-solving strengths, assertiveness and confidence, according to the All Business website. Give each trait a point and tally them up to see which applicant possesses the most skills. You can also use the same grading method for job-relevant skill sets.
As curriculum developer and educator, Kristine Tucker has enjoyed the plethora of English assignments she's read (and graded!) over the years. Her experiences as vice-president of an energy consulting firm have given her the opportunity to explore business writing and HR. Tucker has a BA and holds Ohio teaching credentials.