A Hiring Scorecard Template For Startups: How To Make Logical Hiring Decisions
At one point in my career, I had an incredible opportunity to join an exciting company with a really cool product. They had a compelling story to tell and since I was going to be the one charged with building out the enterprise function, I was totally revved about it.
However, while they certainly packaged what they were trying to do and why they wanted me — the reality was, they weren’t ready for an enterprise sales team.
Unfortunately, I was so excited by the opportunity, the mission, the people, and the star treatment (they totally rolled out the red carpet through the interview process), I missed this key point (and with all good intentions, so did they).
As a result, everyone involved paid the price. They ended up disbanding the entire enterprise sales team from the CRO down (OUCH).
From that day on, it was clear to me: having a system to take the emotion out of decisions like this was critical to make sure I didn’t miss deal breakers that left me spinning my wheels.
Why a scorecard is my secret weapon for hiring the right people.
According to Harvard Business Review
“The validity or predictive power of a typical unstructured interview is around 20%.”
That means, if you’re not interviewing in a structured fashion, you only have a 1 in 5 chance of actually making a good hire (yikes).
But that also means salespeople entertaining a new gig only have a 1 in 5 chance of deciding to work with you once you deliver your exciting offer.
That’s why my go-to solution to address this problem is a hiring scorecard.
Whether you’re part of a startup looking to hire sales reps or a sales rep looking for a new role, working with a hiring scorecard helps you make level headed evaluations when emotions are involved.
And I’ve seen clients reduce churn by 50%+ simply by adopting a hiring scorecard.
Since my passion is making meaningful connections between the right people and the right opportunities, I want to give you a behind-the-scenes look into my process for creating a hiring scorecard that’s going to help you achieve your career or hiring goals.
In order to make this as useful as possible for everyone, I’ve it to split it into a two-part series — one for those who are hiring and one for those who are considering a new role (so stay tuned for part 2).
But, even if you’re considering a new role, keep reading.
This is valuable information (hint: this is what startups will be looking for).
What you should have on your scorecard if you’re hiring.
If you’ve defined your marketplace and your buyer profile, way to go! You’re ready to hire or scale the team. If not, you need to do that first. But once you’ve squared that away, the next step is defining what success means for you and how that relates to the role you’re hiring for.
“The most effective [interview scorecards] prompt the interviewer to choose a rating — ranging from poor to excellent — based on the candidate’s answers.”
To make the most out of your scorecard, it’s time to close your eyes for a second and visualize the ideal salesperson for your role.
If you’re looking 6–12 months ahead, and they’re crushing it, how would you define that and what would it look like? Why?
And even more importantly, if they were struggling, how would you define that and what would it look like? Why?
Write your answers down (everything that comes to mind). And once you’ve done that, go through your list and mark each “must have” or “must not have”.
These are the things that should go on your scorecard and what make up your candidate persona. I strongly encourage you to make this a group effort. Have anyone else in the hiring process go through the same exercise to make sure you don’t miss any important factors.
But, one thing to note: you need to be very specific. Otherwise, it’s not going to work.
The key here is making sure you can tangibly cross reference the things your ideal hire needs to have with the experience of the person you’re interviewing.
For example: saying you’re looking for a hunter, farmer, or hybrid isn’t enough.
Get into the details of what the person will actually have to do (because each organization’s definition of a these can vary).
“Do we have some sort of lead generation system in place? Or does this person need to find their own leads?”
Those are questions you can use to evaluate each person’s experience and arrive at a quantifiable answer.
Here are a few more key specific questions to ask yourself about the ideal person for your role:
- What’s our mission? Why are we doing what we’re doing? (you’ll want to make sure whoever you hire is on board with that)
- What specific KPIs do we need this person to achieve?
- What sales system do we use? Are we a Challenger Sales shop and does the person we hire need to know those methods?
- Do we need someone who can achieve results in a leadership position? (side note: this is a post all in itself)
- Do we need to have an executive level presence with a strategic thought process to boot? Does this person need to be a master social seller? Or a high-volume transactional closing machine?
- Do we need someone who is a lone wolf? Or do we need a team player?
- Do we need this person to come into the office? Or can they work from home?
Once you have defined your answers to each of these questions (and others that are important to you), it becomes easy to evaluate the people you interview based on tangible parameters you know are critical to success. No emotion required!
Make sense? Fantastic. To make this process quicker and easier for you, here is my free hiring scorecard template you can steal, use, or build off of for each role you hire for:
Once you’ve got your scorecard, the rest is pretty simple.
For an interview, rank each category on a scale of 1–10 and calculate the average, determine your realistic threshold for a minimum acceptable score, and voila! You’ve got a clear cut, non-emotional evaluation that you can easily compare to others who are interviewing too.
Hiring scorecard do’s and don’ts…
A word to the wise: this scorecard won’t be very useful if you don’t implement it correctly as well as build it correctly. So if you want to make sure you get the most out of yours when you put it into service, here are a few do’s and don’ts to keep in mind.
Get really specific about what success and failure look like for your ideal salesperson. I discussed how to do this above, and it is absolutely essential that you do this well if you want your scorecard to be useful.
Make sure everyone in the interview process uses the same scorecard and that the results are discussed in detail. This way, you can avoid sticky situations like a client of mine who made an offer to a prospective employee, but had to pull it the day before he was due to start (their selection had lied to members of the interviewing team about some very critical points…which they caught, but only at the very last minute when they sat down to have a more detailed discussion due to his inconsistent behavior pre-start). The good news is, we created a custom scorecard to help them circumvent any potential issues in the future, and the next two sales hires they made were very successful.
Review your scorecard regularly to make sure it’s up to date and accurate. It’s important to not think of a scorecard as a one and done ‘thing’ if you want to get the most out of it. You’ll want to refine it over time. I recommend scheduling a fixed time every quarter to evaluate your scorecard based on the performance of your current team and insights from the hiring process if you’re hiring regularly. But if you’re only hiring from time to time, reevaluating it before the hiring process for each new role should be plenty.
Forget to tally your results and store the data to compare against the performance of your team over time. Being able to tie the results on your scorecard back to the performance of your team is an essential part of keeping your scorecard up to date and as relevant as possible. This is how you know which things most closely correlate to your team’s success.
Change your scorecard while you’re filling a particular sales position or too frequently. You’ll want to do the updates before you start the interview process and keep it consistent throughout. But you don’t want to update it too regularly, or you won’t have a sense for what is really helping you. Once you’ve made a hire, monitor the progress of the individual you hired against the rest of your team to know if your scorecard is helping you improve your hiring process.
Change too many things on your scorecard at once. If you change too many variables in one go, it’s hard to know what made the difference if you see a step change. The goal is to be able to track progress so you know which aspects of a sales candidate are most important to the position you need to fill, so you can make better hires over time.
If you do/don’t do these things, you’ll be squeezing every last ounce of performance out of your scorecard and making sure you hire the best person each time you need to fill a vacancy.
The 4 steps to take to implement your scorecard.
I went into a lot of detail on this to break it down for anyone who wanted to see the underlying process. But in reality, this is pretty simple.
To recap, here’s what you need to do:
- Create your scorecard. Use the template above to start from, or create your own with the process I outlined above.
- Depending on how regularly you’re hiring, schedule time each quarter (or before you initiate the hiring process for a new role) to review your scorecard against your sales team’s performance to make sure it’s up to date.
- Make sure your entire team is using it and be sure to schedule a team debrief to discuss the scores when they interview to prevent gaps in communication.
- Keep a record of the data from each round of interviews to review against your team’s performance and adjust according to your revision schedule.
Considering a new sales gig, and want to apply this methodology to your search? Stay tuned. Part 2 is coming up where we’ll do the same thing for you.
If you are already using a scorecard during your hiring process, what things do you have on yours and why? Drop a comment below and let us know!
Think using a scorecard could help remove some of the angst from your hiring process? Share this with your team!
Note, this was originally featured in Sales Hacker.