July 6, 2023
July 11, 2023

How to Create Candidate Scorecards

Isabel Strijland

When kickoff a new role, you roles will need clarity on the requirements that are needed to be successful in the role and your company specifically. Creating scorecards will help the whole hiring team to be aligned with who you are hiring for, enabling you to build up your recruitment strategy to fill in a role faster and smoother.

A scorecard is a list of the skills, traits, and qualifications someone will need to have to succeed in the upcoming role. Why are they important?

Why should we have scorecards?

Why should recruiters insist on having scorecards? Here are a few reasons:

  1. Alignment from day one: when working closely with the Hiring Team on the definition and clarification of the role’s requirements and expectations, you can kick off your hiring process faster and smoother.
  2. Structured interview process: scorecards are a great way to reach a structured interview process as they help to define the purpose and questions for each interview stage.
  3. Involvement of the Hiring Team: hiring someone requires great teamwork, and the sooner you involve the Hiring Team, the better the process will work out.
  4. Avoiding bias: by having clear skills, traits, and qualifications to rate each candidate, you will prevent yourself from assessing candidates in different ways, which tends to lead to bias.
  5. Simplifying debriefs & hiring decisions: using the exact same scorecard for each candidate you interview, the Hiring Team will make it easier to compare who’s a better match for the role.
  6. Define the outcome & responsibilities of the role: this will show you if you actually need to hire a full-time employee.

How to create scorecards?

Make sure to involve the whole hiring team in the decision-making, and have research on the roles, previous hires, and successes and company ready. Then follow, the three-step process:

1 - Define responsibilities

Start by defining the main responsibilities and outcomes for this role together with the Hiring Manager and, if possible, the Hiring Team. Ask questions like the ones below to help you with this task:

  1. What will occur if you hire someone successful in this role?
  2. What would impact the team, the business, or the product in one year?
  3. What would a typical {day, quarter, or year} look like for someone in this role?
  4. What goals should be achieved for this role in {3, 6, 12} months?
  5. What are the expectations regarding teamwork or collaboration?

Focus on finding outcomes for this role rather than activity-based responsibilities to help you align with the Hiring Team. For example:

Be careful! One pitfall to avoid when thinking about outcomes is making them too temporal or short-term focused. If the immediate need is for a specific project, ask what will the role look like beyond that. If you can’t articulate how the role will evolve over time, you may not need to hire a new full-time employee. Can you look into a solution like hiring a freelancer? Or re-skilling the team? Or prioritising their work differently?

2 - Define Desired Traits and Characteristics

Once you define what success looks like for the role, the next step will be to define the set of competencies the candidates need to succeed.

Hard skills: Create a list of technical skills that are necessary to succeed in this role. With the help of the Hiring Manager, prioritise them into must-have and nice-to-have ****skills.

Soft skills: Define what cognitive, social, and personal abilities a candidate can contribute to an effective work environment and success in the role. Challenge the Hiring Manager to ensure they are relevant for the role, the company stage, working style, and team values.

Values and traits: Values are fundamental ideas and beliefs that guide a person's/company’s motivations and decisions. Traits are characteristics of a person that describe how they tend to feel, think, and behave. These are not an extension of soft skills, so it’s good to distinguish them to avoid biases.

 Example of starting a scorecard.


Be careful! It’s okay to be flexible with the must-have skills so you have greater chances of finding promising candidates.

3 - Document your scorecards

If you’re using an ATS like Greenhouse, Lever, Personio, or Recruitee, you’ll have a feature to add your scorecards to the role and automatically request feedback after each interview. Create a structured Excel document if you’re not using any ATS.

As soon as your scorecard is defined

  • Document it in the ATS
  • Define which interviewer will assess which skills
  • Train the Hiring Team to use the scorecards correctly

This will make it easier for future teams to kick-off roles, or refer back to the job description once a person is hired.

Some best practices

Here are some of the best practices to consider when implementing scorecards:

  • Keep them short and sweet: focus on the most important attributes to ensure the number of interviews you plan is enough to assess the candidates.
  • Be realistic: stick to the responsibilities and desired outcomes defined from the beginning.
  • Focus on individual attributes: make sure your scorecards don’t overlap or duplicate.
  • Share your feedback on time: try to fill in your scorecards within 24 hours from the interview to avoid unconscious bias/other interviews/other events affecting your assessment.
  • Test what works best: scorecards typically ask you to rate a skill, however, you can also combine them with open-ended questions for a more insightful assessment.


Hiring people is a human business on both sides. Having a structured recruitment process, and within that scorecards that reflect exactly what you are looking for in the role is key. Align all stakeholders, do your research, and create easy-to-understand scorecards. Training up your hiring team to use them, is key to success here.

Thank you!

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