firstPRO logo
A hiring rubric mitigates bias and helps employers narrow down the pool of applicants to land on that one special new hire.

Many staffing agencies use rubrics in interviews with candidates to be thorough in the hiring process. These rubrics provide a measurable system for “scoring” candidate interview responses and capabilities. A scoring rubric is a great tool for decision-making because it breaks down abstract skills and qualities into concrete numbers that can be added together and compared.¬†

Hiring rubrics create a fair process based on the most important hiring criteria and they help interviewers stay organized throughout the interview. We’ve provided a breakdown of how to make an interview rubric so you can use one in your company’s hiring process.

What is a Hiring Rubric?

A hiring rubric is a spreadsheet table that is usually created with Excel or Google Docs. The rubric can be set up in many different ways depending on the nature of the interview and the company. Some interviewers will use one rubric per candidate and other interviewers will have all of the candidates on one spreadsheet with their names listed in columns at the top of the page.

The categories are determined by the skills or qualities that are ideal for the new hire. These categories will be listed in the left-hand column and each skill will have its own row. Employers often want to weigh these skills or qualities because some are more important than others, so the second column is a list of the weighted percentages for each quality.

In the column all the way to the right, each row will have the interview question that pairs with the respective quality. At the top of the page, there will be a scale that usually ranges from 1-4 or 1-5 with 1 being the lowest score and 5 being the highest.

In the last row, the totals are added up for each job candidate and the candidate with the highest total score would be the ideal pick. 

Here is a sample rubric: 

Rating System: 1= Poor  2= Okay  3= Good  4= Very Good  5= Excellent

Based on this hiring rubric, Malik would be the ideal candidate for the open position because he had the highest weighted score with a 4.2. However, this is just one interviewer’s rubric and if the other interviewers had higher candidate scores for Malcolm, then he has a solid chance at being the final pick, too. The chosen new hire will be the candidate with the highest average score from all of the interviewers.

These rubrics are used for interviewers to remain organized throughout the interview and “score” each member of the candidate pool. Multiple interviewers can use this scoring tool to compare the candidate’s interview performances to determine which person is the best fit for the position. This assessment tool helps to remove bias and come to a collective decision when multiple team members are conducting interviews.

Hiring rubrics may also take different forms when they are used in the applicant screening process. Criteria and rating systems will be similar, but they will be based on applicant’s cover letters, resumes, and responses to application questions.

You can find some hiring rubric templates online, but I would encourage you to create your own so that is more tailored to your unique company and personalized to the qualities that are ideal for your new hire.

Rubric Categories 

When you are creating rubric categories, you should start by brainstorming the top qualities and skills that you want to see in a new hire. Part of this process will begin when you write the position description for a job opening post.

Great job descriptions are one of the best ways to attract top talent. Your job postings should include a comprehensive list of the skill requirements and expectations for the role. If you have a vague job description, you risk losing candidates and setting yourself up for failure in the interview process.

Create a list of skills, experience, personality traits, and character expectations based on your job description then narrow it down to five to seven qualities that best exemplify the ideal employee for your company. Try to be specific to the role and your company’s core values.

Some examples of these categories can include:

  • Communication Skills
  • Motivation
  • Relevant Experience
  • Culture Fit
  • Teamwork
  • Technical Skills
  • Organization
  • Problem-Solving
  • Creativity
  • Self-Awareness
  • Leadership Experience
  • Sociability
  • Writing Ability
  • Education Requirements
  • Punctuality
  • Evidence of Commitment

These are just some of the many categories that you can use in your rubric. Once you have narrowed down your list of categories, you can determine their weight by how crucial they are to the role. 

Every company’s evaluation rubric will look different and even vary from position to position, but when your business creates a rubric, you should make sure that it is a team effort. Talk to department heads, employees in that role, the hiring team, and the contributing interviewers to make sure that you aren’t missing any of the job-related skills that are a must for the new hire.

The Interview Questions

Once you have the top skill categories together, you can begin to draft some interview questions based on these skills. Each question should pertain to the skill that you chose. For example, if the skill is Leadership Ability, you could ask the candidate “What was your last leadership role? Tell me how you lead the team to success.”

Use the skills categories and job-based criteria to help you brainstorm some questions and get creative! You should also write down the right answers to the questions or the sort of response that you are looking for. Some questions may be open-ended and require a creative candidate response, but determine what types of things you are looking for them to mention.

Once the questions are narrowed down and placed into the rubric, the entire hiring team should review the questions, qualities, and evaluation criteria to ensure that each interviewer understands the questions and the ideal responses. This is one of the key steps to avoiding interviewer bias because it gets everyone on the same page and removes unnecessary room for interpretation.

Rating the Candidates

Rating the candidates with numerical values may be tricky, but the key is to stay consistent on your detailed assessment rubrics. Each interviewer has their own definition of poor or excellent but this must also be discussed before conducting interviews to remove any hidden biases in the assessment process. The collective group must determine what a poor response is and what an excellent response is so that they know what to look for.

Impressions of candidates based on observable behavior like eye contact, mumbling, and fidgeting can play a role in candidate ratings so this is an aspect to discuss in advance. Each interviewer will still use their own judgment, but this conversation beforehand ensures a consistent candidate evaluation.

Some candidates may exemplify some of their leadership qualities in a question about communication. When this happens it may be difficult to score their response to the most applicable criteria. Always use your discretion and keep your collective scoring agreements at the forefront of your mind throughout the interviewing process.

Analyzing Results

The last step of the hiring rubric process is to analyze the results. To prevent potential bias, hiring teams often opt to give their scored candidate rubrics to a staff member who wasn’t part of the physical interview process. This third party did not have any interactions with candidates so they are a fair final judge in the analysis of candidates.

The third party will read through the feedback about candidates and determine their average scores before making candidate selections. The candidate who has the highest average score is then chosen as the new hire.

Hiring rubrics have an established track record for helping employers or recruiters organize their interview process for consistency and fairness. When the key success factors are broken down in this spreadsheet, interviewers can concretely score each candidate based on job expectations. 

Staffing agencies like FirstPRO use hiring rubrics to be thorough in the interview process and remove bias. For more information on staffing agencies and the hiring process, read our blog Why Recruiting is the Most Important Business Strategy.

Check out our Recruitment Services and Contact Us today to begin your recruiting process.