Stop Picking Favorites: Hire Skills, Not Likeability

Jan 03, 2017

Stop Picking Favorites

You just interviewed a candidate for an open position at your company. You felt like the interview was a great success! The individual was very pleasant and conversations throughout the interview flowed naturally. Even though this person is your favorite candidate, should you really hire someone just because you like them? No. You're not picking a new friend on the playground; you're hiring someone for a specific job at your business. Likability does not always translate to the perfect skill set for any position.

Instead of making hiring decisions based on hunches, a gut feeling or whether or not you had "good chemistry" with a candidate, consider using an Applicant Appraisal Form. This valuable candidate evaluation tool will help you effectively hire the right talent by comparing a candidate's skills and qualifications to job requirements, and allows for easy comparison between candidates. An applicant appraisal form also ensures interviewers fully explain the job description and ask the appropriate questions to each candidate, adding objectivity, consistency, and accountability to the hiring process.

How do you use an applicant appraisal form?

Prior to conducting any interview, determine what the open position requires. Study the job description and assign weighted values accordingly (value factor rating). Categories could include:

  • Skills and knowledge
  • Leadership
  • Communication
  • Initiative
  • Team Building
  • Motivation
  • Customer Service
  • Creativity

For example, if the open position requires strong communication skills, but leadership is less important, the category of communication should have a higher value factor rating. It is important to realize that applicant appraisal forms can be tailored to specific positions, so the categories could differ from one job to another.


1=No value to the job

2=Minimal Value

3=Average value

4=Very important

5=Most important

Once you have determined the necessary competency areas for the job, you can objectively determine if candidates have those same qualities. Tailor interview questions to correspond to the various competency areas, and judging by a candidate's answers, rate the candidate's ability accordingly (applicant's ability ratings). For example, a behavioral interview question about teamwork includes:

"Describe a situation in which you had to arrive at a compromise or help other to compromise. What was your role? What steps did you take? What was the end result?"

Based on the candidate's answer, you would then rate the candidate's teamwork ability.



2=Barely satisfactory


4=Above Average


Value Factor:










Applicant’s Ability:








X Total



CATEGORY TOTAL (Value X Ability):


When you complete an applicant appraisal form for each candidate interviewing for the job opening, you can efficiently compare the candidates to each other based on the requirements of the position. By objectively evaluating how well a candidate is equipped to succeed in a given role, you will more easily determine the best person for the job.

Adding consistency, accountability, and objectivity to your hiring process will help ensure the person you hire is someone who will truly thrive in the open job position. Following your gut is not always a good thing; avoid hiring someone simply because you like them. Hire someone because you have carefully considered what they are capable of doing and how they will add value to your company.

Download your copy of an Applicant Appraisal Form.

ZERORISK helps organizations build great cultures by identifying, developing, and retaining top talent. The ZERORISK Hiring System blends a revolutionary behavioral science with state-of-the-art technology to reduce unwanted turnover and improve employee performance. For more information contact us at (800) 827-5991.

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