How to Use a Point System for Interviews

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The human resources aspect of your business (be it a complete division or just a hiring manager) is responsible for staffing your business with, ideally, the best and most qualified individuals. Prior to interviewing applicants, consider using a point system to grade the applicants. Point systems, backed by the interviewer’s justification for the score, can help the interviewer remember applicants and better differentiate between which applicants are qualified for the position.

Identify key characteristics applicants should possess. Tailor the characteristics to specific aspects of the job. For instance, if the position requires traveling, you must ask questions about the applicant’s driving history, willingness to travel, and ability to meet deadlines.

Organize the list of characteristics in sequence of importance. Place critical components at the top and components of lesser importance at the bottom.

Create a third grid, listing details such as first impression, preparation, attitude, and responses.

Choose a scoring rubric. It can be numerical (1-10) or alphabetical (A-F). During the interview, use the characteristic list and the detail-grid. Ask questions designed to illicit certain responses that correspond to the characteristics in the job. Score the applicant’s answer and write your justification for the score.


  • Be wary of using a scoring system in interviews. According to, purely using an arbitrary scoring grid may put you at risk for a discrimination claim. You must always back up your scoring system with a reason as to why the applicant received the scores.



About the Author

Based in Traverse City, Mich., George Lawrence has been writing professionally since 2009. His work primarily appears on various websites. An avid outdoorsman, Lawrence holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in both criminal justice and English from Michigan State University, as well as a Juris Doctor from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, where he graduated with honors.

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