Rhona Barnett-Pierce


Image of Rhona Pierce, a Black woman, and the words: Are we evaluating candidates correctly? Newsletter #013

Hire Top Talent: Ditch Excitement Bias with Scorecards

Does excitement really translate into motivation, and is it an indicator of future performance?

We’ve all been there. The candidate looks great on paper, gives all the right answers during interviews, and then you get to the dreaded: “Do you have any questions for me?” portion of the interview…

The candidate either doesn’t ask questions or asks very “basic” questions.

As the interviewer, you start questioning whether they’re interested in the role. You’ve been conditioned to believe that top talent shows excitement, researches the company beforehand, and asks “great” questions during interviews. In the words of a hiring manager I spoke to recently: “Their lack of excitement makes me think that they won’t stick around for long…”

The Problem with Evaluating Excitement

The truth is, having an expectation of what a candidate should be asking during an interview is biased. As Talent Acquisition professionals, our job is to coach hiring managers on these biased beliefs.

Instead of focusing solely on the questions candidates ask, consider the following:

  • Assess the Entire Interview: Look at the candidate’s overall performance in the interview, specifically the responses to your questions.
  • Understand Different Communication Styles: Recognize that not all candidates may feel comfortable asking questions in an interview setting, and this doesn’t necessarily reflect their interest in the role.
  • Evaluate Based on Role Requirements: Focus on evaluating candidates based on their qualifications and how well they match the role requirements rather than their ability to ask impressive questions.

It’s important to shift your focus from the questions candidates ask to a more holistic view of their interview performance.

The Power of Scorecards in Objective Hiring

That’s why I like scorecards—they provide a structured and unbiased way to evaluate candidates. Scorecards help us focus on the skills and experiences that are truly important for the role rather than being swayed by a candidate’s level of excitement.

Here’s how you can start using scorecards in your recruiting efforts:

Step 1: Identify Key Competencies

Start by identifying the core competencies and skills required for the role. These should be based on the job description and the qualities of successful employees in similar positions.

Step 2: Create a Scoring System

Develop a scoring system for each competency. For example, you can use a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 indicates a lack of proficiency and 5 indicates exceptional proficiency.

Step 3: Develop Interview Questions

Create interview questions that are directly tied to each competency. This will help you assess the candidate’s abilities in a structured manner.

Step 4: Train Interviewers

Make sure that all interviewers are trained on how to use the scorecard and understand the importance of consistent scoring.

Step 5: Use the Scorecard During Interviews

Interviewers should use the scorecard to rate candidates’ responses during the interview. This helps ensure a fair and objective evaluation.

Step 6: Review Scores Collectively

After the interviews, bring together all the interviewers to review and discuss the scores. This collective review process helps ensure a well-rounded evaluation of the candidate and can lead to a more informed hiring decision.


By using scorecards, you can ensure that you’re assessing candidates based on their potential to succeed in the role rather than their ability to perform in an interview. This approach not only helps you make more objective hiring decisions but also reduces the risk of overlooking great talent simply because they didn’t display the expected level of enthusiasm.

While excitement can be a positive sign, it’s not always a reliable indicator of future performance. As Talent Acquisition professionals, we are responsible for looking beyond surface-level impressions and focusing on the qualities that truly matter for success in the role.

Talk to you next week!

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