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How to Use an Applicant Appraisal Form When Hiring

An applicant appraisal form is the foundation for objectively comparing candidates for your company's job opening. This enables your organization to hire the best candidate based on evidence collected during a behavioral interview and establish the employment practices you will use in the hiring process, removing subjectivity.

This is especially useful if your company is ever audited or faces a lawsuit. Using an Applicant Appraisal Form reduces your exposure to employment practice liability because your company was objective throughout the hiring process and you can document what led to your hiring decision.

In this article, we will show you how to use an applicant appraisal form. You can also view a completed applicant appraisal form that captures an objective, measurable candidate profile. Both forms are available for free by clicking on the links to download.

You will see that when your company uses an applicant appraisal form, hiring decisions will become uniform based on a process. No longer will the internal discussion center on: "I think this candidate might be able to do the job." Instead, the conversation will be "I know this candidate has a high likelihood of success in the job."

How? Because of the answers given in their behavioral interview, evidence collected about the candidate, and scoring their core competencies in the applicant appraisal form. Here's how it comes together to determine which candidate is the best fit for your organization.

How to Implement the Applicant Appraisal Form

1. Set the parameters for who you are looking to hire. Before conducting an interview, your hiring team will select the 3-7 most important competencies that will translate to success in the position. These competencies include, but not are not limited to:

  • Skills and knowledge

  • Communication

  • Leadership

  • Initiative

  • Team Building

  • Motivation

  • Customer Service

  • Creativity

2. Set the weights for each competency. Interviewers will set the weights of each competency on a scale of 1-5 as they relate to success in the position.

For example, your company determines that the core competency of motivation is very important to a sales opening. The interviewer would weigh motivation heavily as a 4 or 5 on the applicant appraisal form.

3. Calculate the weighted average of each competency. Once all of the interviewers have assigned weights to the competencies you selected in Step 1, you will calculate the weighted average.

To calculate the weighted average of an individual competency, total each interviewer's weight assigned to the competency and divide by the number of interviewers.

For example, if you have 10 interviewers, you total each interviewers' weight assigned to the core competency of motivation and arrive at 40. Then, you divide 40 by 10 to get a value factor of 4.

Now you have a value for each competency and can objectively measure each candidate's ability against this value.

4. Interview Each Candidate and Assign Scores. Each interviewer will walk into the interview prepared to determine whether the candidate best fits the job opening.

This is achieved by asking behavioral interview questions related to each competency. Then, the interviewer will base their rating on the evidence collected about the candidate from their answers to the interview questions. It's important that the interviewer craft questions that correspond to the competencies in order to judge the candidate's answers.

After completing the interview, each interviewer will assign a score to the applicant's ability as it relates to the core competency based on the evidence collected in the interview.

If the value factor for motivation is 4, but the candidate's ability is 2 based on the evidence in the interview, then you have measurable information to help make a hiring decision. You go through the same process for each competency.

5. Total All Scores to Determine Best Fit. You set the parameters, identified the core competencies, weighed the value of each competency, and collected evidence about the candidate's core competencies. Now, you can objectively measure which candidate is the best fit for your job opening.

First, each interviewer will multiply the value factor by the candidate's ability for each core competency. In our motivation example, the value was 4 and the candidate ranked 2, so the category total is 8. [See an example of this calculation in the completed applicant appraisal form.]

You will complete this calculation for each of the core competencies that you are measuring for the job opening. Each candidate's scores will then be totaled. If Candidate A totaled 60 and Candidate B totaled 70, then you know that Candidate B is the better fit for the role.

This removes subjectivity, speculation, and biases about candidates by exclusively using the evidence in the interview and numerical values to make hiring decisions.

This also addresses scenarios where one person in your organization believes Candidate A should be hired for a subjective reason such as the person "had a better interview."

But, because you have a process and used the applicant appraisal form, everyone else in your company can point to the measurement that says Candidate B is most likely to be successful because they demonstrated mastery of the competencies that were vital to the role.

How to Get the Most out of the Applicant Appraisal Form

To get the most value out of the applicant appraisal form, you need total buy-in from your organization. You cannot have two or three interviewers using the form and the other seven or eight loosely referencing it while still depending on subjective factors.

Mixed use of objective and subjective factors leads to ambiguity in the hiring process, exposure to legal risk, and potentially hiring a candidate who is not the best fit.

Establishing a process that everyone is required to follow will ensure objectivity and accountability. This leaves no gray area, achieving three key purposes:

  • Creating consistency within your organization.

  • Documenting why you made a particular hiring decision.

  • Removing subjectivity from the hiring process.

This way, you can hold decision-makers accountable if they try to go rogue hiring Candidate A with the so-called better interview. Then, when it's time to review who was hired for each position, your team can look at the total scores for each candidate, ask questions about why the candidate with the highest score was not hired, and refine your process to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

We know it can be difficult to make this cultural change when individuals have relied on "gut feelings" or "a sense about someone" to make hiring decisions in the past. But, take advantage of the free applicant appraisal form to ensure an objective measurement of each candidate to hire the best fit for your company.


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