Interview Feedback Ranking Criteria - How are you ranking your candidates?

How can we create a feedback ranking criteria and have a more structured interview process?
Kritika Sondhi
February 23, 2023


For decades, interviews have been a reliable method to assess candidates applying for a job. A candidate interview helps the recruiter or the hiring manager to assess a candidate’s merit and qualification for a job vacancy and decide whether they possess the right skills to excel in the role they are being interviewed for.

But over the years, the style, technique, tools, and method of hosting interviews have changed. From being scattered and even biased interviews to somewhat structured, from closed to open-ended, offline to online, and so on. Some of these changes were necessary and warranted, while others were a need of the hour. But we are still a long way to go from mastering candidate interviews.

The traditional, unstructured interview process was biased, unreliable, and subjective as it was often based on the recruiter’s preconceived judgments and personal ideologies. In the long run, this led to massive attrition rates and high costs to the company resulting from bad hires, among other losses.

That’s why recruiting software and platforms these days are experimenting with different ways and are determined to make recruitment more data-driven, structured, and bias-free. With hiring at an all-time high, there is a greater need to make hiring more accurate and faster.

Enter, Interview Ranking Criteria

One can say that the interview ranking criterion or the scorecard method is an attempt to make hiring more consistent. But what is an interview ranking criterion?

An interview ranking scale is a ranking guide often used by recruiters during the interview process to measure a candidate’s aptitude or qualification for an open position at an organization. 

This is a method of interviewing job candidates that involves the recruiter or the hiring manager having a set of pre-planned questions that all interviewing candidates must answer. They are then given a score on each answer on the basis of how close or far their answer was from the recruiter’s desired answer. The score is given on a scale, typically from 1-5, and the candidate with the highest score typically bags the job.

What does an interview ranking scale consist of?

A basic interview ranking scale consists of a list of questions that help the recruiter learn and verify the skills and competencies of the interviewee for the job. It helps them understand whether the interviewee will be right for the role. So, while some questions on the interview ranking card are generic and common for all roles, some would differ in different roles. 

Generic questions in the interview revolve around understanding the candidate’s soft skills, communication skills, confidence, problem-solving abilities, etc. These questions help the recruiter understand the personality and behavior of the candidate to see whether they would be able to fit in the organization’s culture. Therefore, these questions can remain common in almost every job interview in the organization. 

Some examples of such questions are:

Introduce yourself to us/Tell us about yourself and your career till now.”

“If an XYZ incident occurred in your workplace, how would you handle that?”

“Have you faced a similar challenge in your previous organizations? If yes, how did you handle it?”

On the other hand, technical questions can vary from department to department, team to team, and role to role. These questions help the recruiting team understand and verify the candidate’s qualifications, education, and hard skills. These work best if they are prepared by the team and the team manager of the candidate being hired.

Some examples of job-specific questions (let’s say, for the role of a software engineer) are:

“What are the characteristics of software?”

“What is the difference between computer software and a computer program?”

“What is debugging?”

Benefits of an interview ranking criteria for recruiters

Creating an interview rating scale helps the recruiting team to compare candidates on fair grounds and keeps the human unconscious bias in check

Pre-planned questions and rating scales help conduct structured and productive interviews that answer important questions about a candidate's capability to do the job, instead of their favorite football team and their nationality.

Having a list of pre-determined questions also ensures consistency throughout the hiring process and makes it easy to hire the best candidate.

Creating an interview ranking criteria can help the team as well as the recruiter to have a clear picture of why they are hiring a candidate and highlights the exact skills they are looking for, resulting in more focused interviews.

It is also useful to have any important information discussed during the interview noted down because it acts as a record of proof that can be shared with all decision-makers.

Things to remember when creating an interview ranking criterion

We can agree that having an interview scoring criterion can improve interview outcomes by bringing structure to subjective interviews, among other things. But there are certain things you need to keep in mind when you start to create one for your organization. Some of them include:

  • Involve the Team: Make sure that you involve the team that has the vacancy in the process of creating an interview ranking questionnaire. It’s the team members and the managers who will be able to tell you best what skills their team is lacking, what they are looking for, and what technical or soft skills this person needs to have in order to be a successful hire for the team overall. This will not only help you accurately screen applicants but it will also make the team feel involved and heard in the organization.
  • Have Structured Questions: There’s no point in having a ranking criterion if the interview questions are not well defined, and they don’t have a clear outcome that can be graded. The questions should be organized, direct, and in a natural flow that ties up to a specific goal or outcome. They should be framed in such a way that the candidate’s response can be graded without losing its individuality.
  • Define Scoring System: Once you decide on the questions, you need to assign a rating to each score that everyone in the hiring team follows. For example, the ranking would go from 1-5 with 5 being the highest. You must also define what each score represents depending on the questions, but that should be decided in advance. Clarify if you want to assign a value to zero. It’s also a good practice to add a comment section for each question so that any additional skills or talents can be highlighted there.

Key Takeaways

Having an interview ranking criterion for candidate interviews has been a successful attempt by the industry to bring more structure and objectivity to the hiring process. It brings about a level of fairness, consistency, and productivity to the interviews as well as keeps the interviews focused. 

However, scorecards are not the perfect solution to achieve structured interviews. You need to start by creating structured interview questions and setting clear objectives and outcomes that can be accurately and consistently graded in order to achieve this. Automation of the interview ranking system could possibly bring about this level of structure and objectivity to the process. But we don’t have any popular ranking platforms in the market at present that have managed to achieve that. 

Possibly, this could be the next big revolution in the hr tech domain waiting to happen.