Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Candidate evaluation form tips and guidelines

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Tips and guidelines

Last updated: September 28, 2023

Interviewers should complete a candidate evaluation form to assess and score the candidate’s overall qualifications for the position to which they have applied. Use these tips and guidelines when using a candidate evaluation form as a tool and resource for best practices, not a requirement. Candidate evaluation form template examples are provided for your convenience; please feel free to adapt based on the unique interests and dynamics of your team and search.

Tips and guidelines

  • Criteria should be based on the candidate evaluation form developed by hiring team and search committee.
  • Questions Matter: Interview (phone and in-person) questions should directly correlate to specific criteria and competencies being rated on the form.
  • All members on search committee should help define and confirm expectations and components of a “quality answer” prior to starting the candidate evaluation process.
  • Hold each member accountable to be consistent in rating. Discuss with the committee what defines each rating, e.g., what is the difference between a 2 and 3.
  • Discuss multiple ways candidates can meet or demonstrate the criteria prior to screening, but be consistent and equitable.
  • Include brief descriptors or indicators for each criteria being evaluated (can pull directly from candidate evaluation form).
  • Check-In. Briefly review criteria and expectations prior to all interviews to ensure consistency.
  • Assume Bias. Audit your Bias. Ask yourself and committee:
    • What ways have we already excluded or endorsed this candidate? Why?
    • Could our “assumptions, or biases be affecting our rating?
    • Do we have the information we need to make this conclusion?
    • Are there attributes about this person such as style or appearance that positively or negatively influence my overall impression?
  • Identify top competencies and high priority requirements (not all criteria will be weighted the same).
  • Prior to rating, create three groups in which to rank candidates. Consider using minimally qualified, qualified, or highly qualified.
  • Ratings should be used for consistency and documentation purposes only. Total scores should not be used as the sole deciding factor.
  • Allow time to discuss rating and debrief immediately following the interview. Discuss any differences in ratings and be sure to consider all perspectives.
  • Discuss strengths first. Discuss strengths and any potential skills gaps and challenges for each candidate. Reference the predetermined criteria when discussing ratings and candidates.
  • Don’t hold candidates to individual “scores.” Use ratings to help assess each candidate’s qualification to the criteria and scores to help group candidates into minimally qualified, qualified, or highly qualified.
  • Consider using a group range vs individual ranking system when grouping candidates, e.g., all candidates with scores totaling 15 to 20 will be considered top-tier or highly qualified. After groups are identified, audit the diversity of your “highly qualified” pool.
  • Select the candidate that is most qualified for the role. Most qualified does not automatically mean the candidate who is most formally educated  or with the most years of experience. It also does not mean the candidate with the overall highest score. The most qualified is the candidate who is able demonstrate they meet or exceed the criteria for the role, and who may also bring a different cultural perspective or unique expertise to the position and department.

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