The hiring mindset series: How to implement candidate scorecard adoption

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If you’re familiar with the idea of structured hiring, you’re likely also aware of the vital role it plays on the path to talent success. If you’re new to the idea, structured hiring is an approach to hiring where, for lack of a better word, structure is inserted into your hiring process from beginning to end and every point in between. This starts with defining a new open role during a kick-off meeting, and continues through the evidence-based final decision on who to make an offer to. At Greenhouse, we believe structured hiring creates better outcomes and a better experience at a company-wide level.

But, even for the most open-minded individuals, changing processes can be challenging. Why? Even if you’re personally open to the idea, it takes true alignment – a group mindset among all the teams in your org – to successfully support a new process of any kind company-wide.

The good news is that we help hundreds of customers just like yours overcome these challenges every day. In our new hiring mindset series, we’ll share our tips and best practices for implementing the structured hiring process at your organization, starting with our first point of focus: Candidate scorecard adoption.


What’s a candidate scorecard?

A candidate scorecard defines the necessary attributes for success in a given role. These attributes should be driven by the business objectives for the role and can include qualifications, technical skills, soft skills or, most likely, a combination of all of the above.

Using scorecards ensures that your interview process is spent screening for what matters by mapping each question back to a specific attribute. It also facilitates feedback from multiple parties on what’s most important. Here are a few examples of interview questions that can be mapped to specific attributes.

Scorecard adoption also eliminates repetitive questions, leading to a better candidate experience and a win for everyone.

Finally, adopting scorecards helps mitigate unconscious biases through evaluating all candidates consistently – a key component of a good DE&I strategy.

Now that you’ve got the basics of what a scorecard is and what it can enable your teams to do, let’s get down to business and learn how to create a stellar scorecard. 


Setting up a winning scorecard

Scorecards can’t be created in a silo. They’re a product of collaboration between hiring managers and recruiters – a relationship that extends far beyond scorecard creation. To establish a healthy working relationship, you might first want to take a step back and check that you already have a Service-level agreement (SLA).

An effective SLA defines the responsibilities of both parties for each step of the search – starting with the kick-off meeting. A kick-off meeting sets a search up for success by getting everyone aligned on the business objectives for the role and defining the skills, traits and qualifications (collectively referred to as attributes) that would make someone successful. It’s after this important step that a scorecard is created.

By defining these attributes and assigning them to different interviewers throughout the process, a recruiter can ensure that candidates are screened efficiently for what’s important. For more tips, be sure to check out this blog post on how to leverage Greenhouse Recruiting to design winning scorecards.

Scorecard attributes will vary between companies and roles, but the key advice remains the same:

  1. Keep it simple. The more attributes you have, the more interviews you’ll need to cover them.
  2. Be realistic. Make sure your attributes are absolutely necessary for success. Define your must-haves separately from any want-to-haves.
  3. Be mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive. Be sure that attributes don’t overlap and together they paint a holistic picture of the ideal candidate.
  4. Don’t be afraid to adjust. The process and scorecard can have iterations. It’s a work in progress. And that’s okay.

So now that you’ve created a winning scorecard, let’s dive into what this series is all about: driving company-wide behavior change. 


Driving behavior change: Candidate scorecard adoption

Process change is the byproduct of a healthy growing company. But to manage change successfully, you must overcome the perception that it’s being forced by making the value clear to the individuals who are adopting it.

Hiring is something that affects all employees in a company. Whether you’re a hiring manager or an individual contributor, we all win when we hire and work with individuals who are equipped with what’s needed to be successful. Adopting a structured hiring process, therefore, has definitive value to us all.

Here are a few tips that can help set your candidate scorecard adoption process up for success: 


Define your objective

Communicating a defined objective helps those adopting a new process or system understand its value. For example, a well-defined objective statement for candidate scorecard adoption might look a little like this:

Candidate scorecard adoption ensures that as our company scales, we’re intentional in making objective data-driven hiring decisions – ensuring that it’s the right hire for what’s next. Every time.

Define it. Communicate it. Come back to it often. 


Identify your drivers

Make sure there’s a clearly defined driver for the change. Ideally this would be someone at the executive level who can successfully drive adoption with other cross-functional leaders, lead by example and possibly even incorporate adoption into performance metrics. At Greenhouse, we call these people, talent leaders


Provide training

It’s always good to provide thoughtful and thorough training and support during times of change. Here at Greenhouse, all new employees go through Interview 101 training as part of their onboarding. This is the perfect time to introduce the structured hiring process and use of candidate scorecards.

We also hold additional hiring manager trainings to equip managers with what they need to successfully run a structured hiring process, as well as to reinforce established SLAs. 


Monitor. Adjust. Improve.

Remember – this is all a work in progress. Continue to monitor results and solicit feedback from employees across all levels. Gather and analyze data often, and don’t be afraid to adjust and improve. After all, the process won’t stick unless the value of your objective shines through. Happy hiring!

Maria Culbertson

Maria Culbertson

is a Senior Recruiter at Greenhouse. She has been working to connect the right people to the right opportunities for over ten years across multiple industries. Outside of the office, she’s launching a blog that blends her passions of fitness (over 450 classes across 100+ studios) and travel (20+ countries). Keep the conversation growing with Maria on LinkedIn and Instagram.