Interviewing job applicants is one of those responsibilities of a small business owner that’s murky and imprecise. It’s not like looking at your financial statements to check on last month’s profit or how many receivables are 90 days past due. Job applicant interviews don’t yield those kinds of exact results, and that can make some business managers uncomfortable.

Fortunately, there is a way to make the interviewing process more precise and manageable. That way is to create your interview evaluation form that organizes the questions and quantifies the results.

Here’s how you can construct one for your business.

Why Should You Use an Interview Evaluation Form?

An interview evaluation form gives you and your managers a structured tool to conduct interviews. Managers are not usually trained in human resource procedures, so standardized evaluation forms make it easier for them to conduct interviews. They allow you and your managers to prepare questions in advance and cover the areas of essential information without overlooking something.

It’s easy to train managers to use the forms. They just have to follow the list of questions and make a numerical grade for each one.

After the interviews, you put the findings in a scorecard. This method scores all applicants’ interviews in a consistent way to get a fair, side-by-side comparison of all of them. In addition, following a structured interview form helps to reduce any unconscious hiring biases that the interviewers might have.

An evaluation form will score applicants on their skills, motivation, values and anything else you feel is vital for the job. You can review the evaluation forms in advance and modify them to suit the job you’re looking to fill and the requirements you’re looking for in a candidate.

Employees waiting to be interviewed, and a candidate sitting at a desk being interviewed by a manager who's using an interview evaluation form. 

Sample Job Interview Evaluation Form

This is a basic interview form that covers the necessary areas for most job positions. A simple, structured interview evaluation form has three sections:

1) Basic data:

  • Applicant’s name
  • Name of interviewer
  • Date
  • Role of job

2) Evaluation criteria

The rating system should define each point on the scale. This makes sure that interviewers have a clear understanding of how to rate a candidate. The following scale is an example:

  • 5 – Exceptional
  • 4 – Above average
  • 3 – Average
  • 2 – Below average
  • 1 – Unsatisfactory

Explore the following areas about the candidate:

Relevant experience: Has the candidate acquired and used the necessary job skills in previous work experiences? Does the candidate’s previous work experiences match the skills needed for this job?

Educational background: Does the candidate have the relevant education or training for this job? Does the candidate have any specific required licenses or certifications?

Strengths of specific role skills: Does the candidate have the required technical skills for the job?

Verbal communications: Does the candidate have effective communication skills?

Candidate enthusiasm: Did the applicant seem enthusiastic about the job and working for your company? Did the candidate seem interested in getting the job?

Knowledge of company:  Has the candidate shown evidence of having done his homework and researched your company before coming to the interview?

Match to company values and culture:  Considering the applicant’s personality style and temperament, do you think the applicant will fit in with other employees? Will the candidate be able to develop a working rapport with other employees?

Interpersonal skills/ working with others:  Is the candidate friendly, outgoing, smiling and at ease answering questions? Will the candidate be able to work with other employees comfortably? Is the candidate a good listener, and is he or she paying attention?

Initiative: Did the candidate show instances of taking individual initiative to solve problems?

Customer focus: Did you get the impression that the candidate places a high value on providing quality customer service?

3) Overall impression, comments and recommendations

This portion of the form should have room for interviewer’s impression and suitability of the candidate for the job. It should ask for three options: recommend to hire this applicant, hold for further interviews or not recommended.

Internship Interview Evaluation Form

Even though an internship is typically an unpaid position, the interview process is the same as the above sample job interview evaluation form.

While an intern probably will not have the required educational requirements and previous work experiences, an intern should demonstrate suitable personality, skills and work ethic to become a future full-time employee.

Therefore, the questions during the interview process should be the same as interviewing for a permanent position. The most important issue with interns is to determine their enthusiasm for the opportunity to learn about your business.

Technical Team Member Evaluation Form

Interviewing for technical positions can be a little tricky when you don’t have a technical background. Not having a degree in computer science makes it more challenging to identify the best candidates.

Nevertheless, adding the following questions to the sample interview form will help you to assess the merits of a candidate better.

Education: What computer-related degrees and certifications does the candidate have? The applicant needs, at a minimum, to have computer-related degrees. What courses does the candidate take to stay up-to-date on technology?

Technical: Does the candidate have the educational training for the software used in your business? How will the candidate ensure that program revisions will run smoothly?

Work experience: Review the applicant’s resume and look for past projects that have utilized the candidate’s knowledge and expertise. Determine if the candidate used creativity and innovation to solve problems. How did the candidate identify the problem areas and find solutions?

Behavioral: Explore how the candidate will bring something new to your company that you don’t already have. What is the degree of the candidate’s work passion, and will that passion get applied in your business? What kind of work environment does the candidate prefer? The answer to this question will give you some insight into the candidate’s ability to fit into your business.

Even though you may not have the in-depth technical knowledge, you can get a feel for a candidate’s abilities by evaluating the answers to these questions. Did the candidate respond confidently? Did you get the impression that the applicant was comfortable with your questions?

Interview Evaluation Form for Executives

Interviewing for executive and managerial positions is more complex and requires broader questions. These areas should be added to the sample interview form:

Leadership skillsManagers must have the ability to inspire and motivate employees. Has the candidate demonstrated positive leadership skills in previous positions? Does the candidate have the ability to grasp problems and make timely, informed decisions? Can the candidate balance workloads, resolve conflicts, direct other employees and maintain a productive work environment?

Approach to problem-solving: Can the candidate find solutions to ambiguous situations with incomplete data? Is the candidate able to organize issues and come up with pathways to solve problems?

Setting and tracking goals: Is the candidate familiar and comfortable with setting goals, meeting timelines and monitoring results?

Communication: Are the candidate’s answers concise, clear, well-organized and easy to follow? Was it difficult to get information from the candidate?

Questions Not to Ask

Some questions are simply illegal to ask and can get you in legal trouble if you do. Avoid any questions about the following areas:

  • Any questions about race, sex, gender, religion
  • Special needs for days off for religious reasons
  • Arrest records
  • Disability or work restrictions
  • Status of day-care for kids
  • Expectations of becoming pregnant
  • Intentions to change marital status

In all candidate interview evaluation forms, the goal is to quantify each issue on a scale of 1 to 5. This method puts questions into perspective and creates a basis of comparison with other applicants, showing the ones that stand out above others.