Effective Candidate Evaluation Process – Perfect Template

Ah, the wonderful world of staffing. The mysteries and excitement lie behind each top candidate, giving the employer a sense of wonder at what they could become. With the right candidate evaluation process, a hiring manager can find the next future star. A budding employee that turns into a lifelong champion for the team and company.

Unfortunately, staffing can be a tough and arduous process, sucking a fair amount of company resources (especially time) without the guarantee of success. You could believe you’ve found the correct candidates, only to be misled, falling behind on the entire hiring process. It’s not an easy process, which is why both hiring managers and staffing agencies (like us) exist. In fact, LinkedIn reported in 2022 that 76% percent of hiring managers admit attracting the right job candidates is their greatest challenge.

Therefore, making sure you have all of the best and most efficient processes in place allows you to make the right hires the first time. A candidate evaluation process should be at the top of the list and should be established company-wide, giving all teams and managers a way in which to make sure they are bringing in the correct employees.

But what is a candidate evaluation process? What should be in it? How do you put one together?

What Is a Candidate Evaluation Process?

On average, 100-200 candidates apply to each available job online.

Let’s state the obvious: that’s a lot. If your company doesn’t have a human resources (HR) department, hiring manager, or team put together to access and interview candidates, 75% of those applicants may be tossed to the wayside. You may end up with a slew of applicants you consider top-tier, but deciding between them seems like an impossible task.

How do you keep track?

The candidate evaluation process is used to neatly and efficiently screen and interview all applicants. You or your entire hiring team have a layout explaining what you are looking for, the timeline of vetting and interviewing, and the score of each scouted applicant. Therefore, everyone (or just yourself) can keep track of what applicants have been assessed and which ones are the priority.

Long story short, it’s a way to keep track of all applicants and choose which should move on to the next hiring process.

Why Is a Process Necessary?

There isn’t one elite business that doesn’t have complex processes set in place for all of its needs. It’s that simple. Organized companies are better companies.

Whether you have multiple hiring managers or just one, you need to be able to keep track of all the candidates. You need to be on the same page regarding what is considered a good hire. Without it, you could find yourself with a slew of candidates you don’t remember interviewing or overviewing.

Just imagine: you choose one of two candidates after hours of vetting and interviewing. You’ve looked over resumes with painstaking eyes. It’s time to finally hire. You bring the employee on board, but you are overwhelmed by all the applicants and ongoing work outside of the hiring process. You can’t believe your eyes when you realize you accidentally hired the wrong person, not knowing until their first day.

It’s a hyperbolic example, but I’m sure it’s happened somewhere. If it did, I’m sure the company didn’t have a candidate evaluation process.

What Should Be In Your Process?

Before we begin breaking down the entire process, it’s important to understand what you want out of the process. You can’t truly find the perfect candidate until you know what the perfect candidate is.

Your process should surround the main pillars of what you consider a fantastic hire. It should keep track of how all of the candidates scored in those categories and whether they have the attributes you are looking for.

Here are the main questions that your hiring team (or business in general) should have concrete answers to:

  • What are the required prerequisites? Are there requirements that are 100% necessary (i.e. degree levels, years of experience, certifications)?
  • Are there bonus certifications or achievements that boost candidates (i.e. degree in a certain field, management experience, projects)?
  • What are the main personality attributes that are required in hires?
  • Is there a specific attitude that candidates should exude during the process?
  • Any other necessary things candidates should have?

Once you know and agree on the specific criteria you are looking for in candidates, you can then put together a process that tracks candidates’ appliance to said criteria.

If you do not have specific criteria laid out, you may find conflicting opinions among your hiring team. If you don’t have a team, a lack of concrete criteria can lead to a less-than-organized process. Therefore, it’s crucial to define it regardless of your HR department size.

Create a Candidate Evaluation Scale

Ultimately, creating a fantastic and useful evaluation process starts with having correct and fileable documentation. Mostly, it will look a lot like an employee performance review. It may include a document, table, or spreadsheet that includes candidate information, the things you are looking for, and how the candidate scored within them. This process allows your company to keep track of how every candidate scored within a digestible template.

Name: Candidate AScore 1-5Notes
Employee Background:4has great experience
Employee Attributes and Skills:3is missing some necessary skills, but can learn
Interview Answers:5nailed the interview with a great attitude
Bonus Skills and Achievements:2has related certification
Here is an example of a table you may use when overviewing a candidate.

Though extremely simplified, the above table shows an example of how you would lay out your candidate evaluation form. It has a list of things you are looking for, the score the candidate had in that category, and notes from the interviewer. It will also have the candidate’s contact information along with business information regarding the candidate (time of the interview, position, hiring manager assigned, etc.).

As stated, it’s a lot like an employee performance review.

Measurement Scale

While we broke the entire 1-5 measurement scale here, we will do a quick overview.

A five-point scale for scoring performance and aptitude is a good recommendation for a performance measurement scale for candidates. Not only is it simple and easy to follow, but it coincides with the concept of A-F grade school metrics. Both measurement scales contain 5 grades and coincide with each other. We all know and understand A-F, for it has been ingrained into us since kindergarten.

Essentially, using a 1-5 grading scale based on the grade school grading scale allows us to create a universal gauging system that appears more professional than the one used in high school. It is just changing numbers to letters. But, it works. Everyone understands it.

5.  Exceptional – Far Exceeds Expectations

  • Exceeds expectations on all bases. Work history, skills, attributes.
  • Regarding the interview, the candidate significantly exceeds expectations.
  • Attributes and requirements are exceptional and are beyond the expectation of the salary grade.
  • Doesn’t need any further training or learning.

4.  Exceeds Expectations

  • Regarding competency, they consistently exceed normal expectations.
  • Has all of necessary requirements and more.
  • Skills are above and beyond those expected of someone at their salary grade.
  • May need a little training or learning.

3.  Meets All Expectations

  • Meets all requirements.
  • Results are what is expected. They are fully capable of doing the job well.
  • May need training and learning, but is willing to do so.
  • Attributes and history are that of someone at that salary grade.

2.  Marginal – Below Expectations

  • Has some competency for the role but lacks in other attributes.
  • Meets some of the skills and attributes. However, the candidate requires some improvement to perform at the level expected at their salary grade.
  • May require additional supervision or training to meet expectations.
  • Performance is at the level of those who are entering the position (if not an entry-level job).

1. Unsatisfactory – Far Below Expectations

  • Does not have any skills or required attributes.
  • Unreliable work history or resume.
  • Not fit for the job at all.

The Full Candidate Evaluation Process

Now that we have all of the prerequisites out of the way, we can get down to the nitty-gritty.

Remember: This is an overall example of an evaluation process. You may find that some things work better in a different order or some things are more important than others. This is just a basis to go off of and build up.

1. Discuss Requirements

We’ve harkened back to this a few times, but we must repeat it. It’s that important. Everyone working on the hiring process needs to understand the requirements for the role.

If you have a team, make sure everyone is on the same page for the position they are interviewing for. Some open positions may require different attributes and skills than others. It’s crucial that everyone understands what the company is looking for in the exact positions before moving on.

2. Scan Resumes and Applications

Scan over all applications for the required qualifications before moving on to the next step.

If you are extremely detailed in the job description posted, you shouldn’t have too much work cut out for you here. There will always be a few strangers that apply randomly without any qualifications, but they should be easy to notice and throw out.

Furthermore, most job boards have a filtering system, giving you the candidates that meet the qualifications you set. This will also make the process efficient.

Once you have knocked out every candidate that doesn’t fit the requirement, you can move on to looking at applications in more detail.

3. Sort By Bonus Skills and Experience

Remember the extra attributes we discussed earlier? Now it’s time for them to come into play.

When looking over the remaining applications, look for those attributes, work histories, or skills that aren’t required, but help push great candidates to the top. Finding them will help you put candidates into different priorities.

Unless you are extremely strapped for time or have way too many applicants, these bonus things shouldn’t be a death sentence for those that don’t have them. At the end of the day, you should look over every application to see if the candidate could be a good fit. Sorting by unrequired bonuses just helps lower the pool.

Put the top candidates as the main priority, but don’t disregard all the others.

Career Trajectory

Career trajectory also works here. If an applicant has shown continuous improvement and promotion over their career, they should be placed in the priority section, too.

4. Keep a List

Don’t get too messy before you even begin interviewing. Have all the candidates listed out in a specific software, document, or spreadsheet.

You can begin using the numbered scale we noted above. For example, put all of the candidates into a list and give them a score based on their resume and cover page. Those with higher numbers can be sorted to the top, taking priority over those that just meet expectations.

We recommend a spreadsheet for this. It can look something like this:

NameDate AppliedInterview DateResume ScoreApplication Score
Candidate A1/4/232/4/23 45
Candidate B1/5/232/4/2334
We would place the better candidates at the top, giving them the sooner interview dates. They are the priority.

Aptitude Tests

Some job boards allow you to place aptitude tests on your job postings. The candidate will be required to take the test while applying. This can help you ween out the best possible applicants before you begin looking at resumes.

Overall, this process exponentially speeds up hiring. There’s a reason that companies love using sites like Indeed.

5. Phone Interview (If Necessary)

At this point, you should be able to narrow the applicant pool down to a few top candidates. You have picked the best resumes and applications, sorted those that exceed requirements, and done additional filters or amplitude tests. You should now have a list of candidates that is manageable for your interview times or hiring team labor.

If you haven’t been able to narrow your applicant list down to a manageable number, you can always do prescreening interviews. Short phone interviews with a few basic questions can give you further insight into each client, allowing you to decide which ones are worth a full interview.

These bite-sized interviews cost less in the long run than fully interviewing every top candidate.

At the end of the day, you want to narrow the search down as much as possible, saving yourself company time.

6. Hold Full Interviews

Now is the time to grab the bull by the horns. Now is the time to do the real, full interviews with applicants. This is the part where the candidate evaluation process really kicks in.

If your hiring team knows exactly what your business is looking for, they should be able to figure out the best candidates during the interview process. Henceforth, having a great collection of questions and expected responses is a great way to sure up the scouting process. Talent evaluators can then know exactly what should be said and what attitudes they are looking for.

Remember to use the performance metric system you created when interviewing. Use a template (like the one we made above) to score each candidate during the interview. Then, update their scores in the overall database (the second template we created), helping keep track of who scored the best in the resume, application, and interview processes.

With these tools, you will be able to keep track of who did the best and who needs to move on to the next stage.

Need help with what questions to ask applicants during the interview?

7. Meet Together

After you have interviewed and scored the remaining candidates, it’s time to meet for a decision.

This process may include meeting with the rest of the hiring team and then providing the top candidates to a higher-up. It could also just include bringing your findings to the higher-up. Or, finally, it could include discussing with the hiring team, then hiring directly.

Regardless of the ladder and how you climb it, make sure to discuss the final candidates with others. Everyone can express their opinions on the best options, helping sort out the plethora of emotions.

At the end of the day, interviewing and screening candidates can be an arduous and brain-scattering process. Talking about it to other professionals in the business can help clarify the decision.

8. Hire!

The decision has been made. You have used a candidate evaluation process to speed up the entire hiring system, labeling the best candidates and scoring them with precision. You used metrics and qualifications to narrow the search down and lower interview time, and now you are ready to make the decision.

The next steps are up to you and the company. You’ve picked the candidate, now you go from there. If the candidate drops out or declines the job offer, you have clean data ready to view, allowing you to pick the second-best option with ease.

Isn’t it nice and efficient when you keep things organized?

Or… Use a Staffing Agency!

It’s that time again. It’s time to talk about ourselves.

If you don’t have the time to spend on any of the above methods, you can always work with a staffing agency. As expert and experienced recruiters, we have a talent pool already screened and ready to interview. Furthermore, we have working relationships with universities and businesses nationwide. We have quicker access to a wide array of candidates you may never be able to reach.

Staffing agencies can make the process quick and easy, saving you time and resources.

Still not sure? We broke down all the positives and negatives here.