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How to make your hiring process objective 

November 17th, 2022 | 5 min. read

By Greg Henderson

Keeping Score is Easy, Rating People is Difficult 

Scoreboards, report cards, and ratings all have the same intent—to clearly identify who is achieving and who is underachieving. Scoreboards display the winners and losers without bias, so we all know who scored more at the end of the game—it's clean and simple. Report cards give a quick snapshot of your personal comprehension and aptitude prowess in a related field of study—not as clean or simple. And then ratings are a bit trickier—they are designed to solicit your personal bias into the conversation by how many stars you give the particular platform. Ratings are the least clean and simple because they have purposefully not explained what is winning and what is losing. This is the method, however, that many of us use when making hiring decisions. This method is jam-packed of bias and intuition—not the most reliable approach to identifying our ideal employee. Instead, it’s best to aim for a scoreboard approach so you can create an objective interview process and hire winning employees every time.  

3 Steps to Objective Hiring: (VSI) Values Score Interview 

1st Step: Define Core Values-

Having a clear set of values helps your employees understand what you stand for. In an ideal world, they define how you and your team members operate, behave, and work together on a day-to-day basis. Core values distinguish a company's identity and lay the foundation for what the company cares about most. Values are the foundations for all operations, and they guide how everyone communicates internally and externally. 

A Tip That Whirks: To help solidify your core values, ask yourself the following questions: 

  • What is my story?  
  • What characteristics and traits make my ideal employee? 
  • Who is my best employee and why? 
  • What are the best stories I hear from our customers/employees? 
  • Why did I fire the last employee, was it value related? 

After answering these questions, you start to realize that you might have had core beliefs and behavior standards that are integral to your company's success, but until now, may not have been written down. I highly encourage you to take the time to write them down. The process of defining your core values is the first step in objectifying your hiring process. 

After you define your basic core values, a helpful exercise to ensure your core values are legit and align with your company culture/mindset is to test them. 

A Tip That Whirks: If you can answer “Yes” to all of the questions, then you have a core value! 

  1. Is the value more important than money and success? 
  1. Does the value withstand stress/conflict in all areas? 
  1. Does the value need to be maintained forever? 
  1. Can we define our culture through them? 
  1. Are we committed to hiring and firing based on these values? 

2nd Step: Create Your Scorecard-

Your scorecard is critically important in helping you objectify the hiring process. It allows you to clearly define what the scoreboard tracks as a win instead of letting an opinion determine how the applicant “played the game”. Interview scorecards help quantify your gut. Every interview is different, but if you have a consistent, go-to list of questions then you keep the process consistent and free from speculation. The scorecard allows you to score the candidates on a measurable scale based on your core values. The questions must be created in a manner to elicit a definitive response to, “does this person have our values?” Yes, or No. 

A Tip That Whirks: Identify and annotate your bias on the scorecard.

Everyone has something they like or don’t like about a particular situation. For example, I personally hate it when people are late for interviews. So, if I am interviewing and the candidate shows up late, then they hit my bias and that is not fair. The scorecard allows me to filter out my bias from the very beginning. This filter is a “first impression” question that the interviewer fills out about themselves—hire or pass.  

A Tip That Whirks: Noteworthy is the Key.

Develop your scorecard to ask questions that help us determine at the end of the 30-45 minutes if this person is Humble, Hungry, People-Smart, and Competent. Create the scorecard to facilitate the process by supplying a place where the interviewer can make notes during the interview about noteworthy items. If it is noteworthy, it means it is such a great or poor answer that I must write it down to help with my ending comments. 

3rd Step: Interview Time

No one is a full-time interviewer. Your employees and hiring managers have roles and responsibilities outside of recruiting and interviewing isn’t second nature to everyone. Helping employees prepare for interviews is crucial for a successful recruitment process. Not only do you need to identify the right candidates, but you also need to provide them with a great candidate experience, so they’ll accept your potential offer. Training interviewers to identify and engage top-tier talent will ensure a smoother process for all involved. 

A Tip That Whirks: Ice Breakers and Follow-Ups.

Interviewing is not an easy technique to master. It involves a series of skills and intuition. Knowing what to ask is important, but how to ask it and what to listen for is what separates the good from the average.  

View the interview as a conversation. If you treat an interview as a check-the-box, just going through the motions, then you will definitely miss something. But if you treat it as a critical piece of your job, then you will be set up for success. Ask yourself this question at the end--Do you want to continue this conversation at a later date? If the answer is no, then that means something. But if the answer is yes, then that goes a long way in helping you determine if this person is the right person for your team.  

Have a basic plan, but be willing to deviate. Use scripted questions as a place to start breaking the ice, but it is key to follow-up with additional questions. This is where treating the interview as a conversation becomes essential because you are trying your best to get to know the real person, not just the interview persona your candidate is likely leaning into. Your job is to go through your list of questions without getting bogged down in asking every single one of the. Don’t miss the conversation happening right in front of you. 

A single “ice-breaking” question of “how did you prepare for this interview”? can lead to many paths that will start to show the real person. If just go down your list of questions, you will miss a significant opportunity to dig a little deeper. 

A Tip That Whirks: Rating the Candidate.

Last but not least is the section to add the scoring or ranking tabulation. Do not go through all the trouble and forget to rack and stack the candidates according to your own developed, systemized, and objective process. Train your interviewers to hold true to the standard and no middle ground answers. If the score is 1-5, no 3.2 or 4.1 answers will be allowed.  

Why? By adding this to the Scorecard, you have shown the average of the scores and the total will show a great objective case for Hire or Pass. The final piece of the scoring section is “Final Impression” Hire or Pass. The average of the score will coincide with your initial 1-5 scoring scale and if the average of the scores equal to 3 or below= Pass, but if they equal 4 or higher=Hire. 

Check your scoreboard

The next time you are preparing to hire for a new role, remember the scoreboard. The scoreboard is an objectifiable system that shows you who won the game. You know what defined winning and losing and everyone kept to that standard. You can have that same type of concrete analysis devoted to your hiring process if you follow the three-step VSI process—Values Score Interview. Write down your values, create a hiring scorecard based on your values, and implement our interviewing tips.   

Not sure how to start defining your values? Check out our free Value Whirksheet to get started.