December 29, 2018
How to Evaluate Candidates After an Interview
The importance of structuring the evaluation process, based on the insights gathered, is often overlooked
The importance of structuring the evaluation process, based on the insights gathered, is often overlooked.
A lot of energy and time is invested in the previous recruitment stages – mostly the design and conduct of the interview – but somehow the digestion and processing of that information are perceived as easier tasks. This perception causes a certain loosening on the quality standards recruiters apply to themselves when it comes to evaluation.
“Do not make your mind on whether a candidate is fit for the role during the interview”
In this brief practical guide, we share some advice and reconnect with previous shared knowledge that, hopefully, will keep you on a straight path in your recruitment process.
Start with your notes
For starters, do not make your mind on whether a candidate is fit for the role during the interview. Remember the most common biases you may fall prey. It is not easy to overcome them on the spot. Your initial impressions from the candidate are mediated by those biases, so it is important you do not turn your initial judgments into a rejection/non-rejection decision.
You should review your notes (see tips for taking notes here) and, as objectively as possible, evaluate all the information available. This you can only do once the interview is over. It is then that you have the time to look at the whole picture from a more removed, detached perspective.
The ORCE process
To contextualize the evaluating and rating process it is time now to introduce yet another acronym: ORCE. It stands for Observe, Record, Classify and Evaluate. (1) The acronym serves as a label to represent a logical step-by-step process that here we are applying for recruitment purposes.
So far, what we have been doing during the interview has been to observe and record. What is left, after the interview, is to classify and evaluate using the framework we have agreed upon: the scoring key.
When classifying you must pair the information you collected with the job requirements. That means to examine the candidate’s behaviors against the required competencies for the role. To be effective at that, you must be familiar with the competencies and the behavioral indicators. Refer again to our guide on creating a scoring key and check for the proposed Interview Assessment Template.
Check also for objections that indicate the candidate does not meet some of the requirements. For example, let’s say the role requires extensive traveling and the candidate expresses she is open to travel but for shorter periods of time. In this case, the candidate meets the requirement to a certain extent. The fact that traveling schedule could be modulated later to better suit the candidate’s needs does not mean that you can use the initial objections to reject that candidate if, all other things equal, you have another applicant who made clear during the interview that intensive traveling was not an impediment or even regarded it as a positive.
To rate the candidates, use the scoring key that was defined when designing the interview. If back then some competencies were deemed more important than others, you will now use different weighted scales to evaluate the candidate’s answers. You do this for all interviewed job applicants and at the end of the process, you will be left (ideally) with a short-list of suitable, strong candidates.
You have a short-list of suitable candidates. Based on their respective performance (scores) in the interviews, as well as the other information that you have (CVs, reference letters and other credentials, maybe your own assessment centers too) you should be able to conclude on a particular preference order.
Finally, it is highly advisable that you conduct reference checks. As much care as you have put in the previous steps, it is about time to stress-test your conclusions and make sure they are based on solid assumptions.
(1) “The Design and Delivery of Assessment Centers” The British Psychological Society (2015). Page 11
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