“Life is long. You can waste time at a job and company that you don’t believe in, doesn’t pay well, or fulfill you.” – No one, Ever
Have you ever accepted a new role that seemed promising, but sadly realized it wasn’t anything like you imagined just a few weeks later?
Unfortunately, I’ve seen this all-too-common situation hundreds of times. And I’ve even experienced it myself (more on this shortly).
A company with a great reputation woos you during the interview process with a lucrative salary, incredible benefits, and a role that seems perfect on paper. So you eagerly onboard and think you’ve finally found your dream role!
Fast-forward a few weeks later, and you come to understand that the job isn’t the right fit. You scratch your head and wonder what the heck happened when all the right components seemed to be in place.
But here’s the thing: jiving with the startup’s founders and negotiating a killer salary with a big OTE dangling carrot, and perks doesn’t make a role the right fit for you.
Sounds crazy, right?
I would agree if I didn’t see it so often.
Fortunately, I can help you avoid making this critical error in the future, and that’s exactly what I plan to do here.
You’ll learn how to create a job scorecard that objectively and effectively helps you determine and evaluate what a good fit really looks like for you.
So instead of getting blindsided by a company’s shiny salary, perks, and reputation, you’ll be able to laser in on whether this role really meets your career needs and job standards.
Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of a job scorecard before today. I’ll share everything you need to know about what it is, why it’s worth your time, how to create one, and how to use it successfully.
By the end of this guide, you might kick yourself for never using one before. But you’ll never make that mistake again.
What is a Job Scorecard, and Why Is It Worth Creating in the First Place?
A job scorecard is a rating system used to see how well potential roles stack up against your IRP (Ideal Role Profile). The stories we tell ourselves aren’t always rooted in reality. This totally customizable tool will help you uncover whether the sales role you’re eyeing is really all it’s cracked up to be while taking the emotion out of it.
Unfortunately, I had to learn this lesson the hard way.
I went in for a role that paid extremely well (and I mean, really well), and was enamored by the shiny objects presented to me in the interview process. Despite seeing a few red flags and feeling a bad gut instinct inside about the role, I pushed those aside because it paid so well.
Fast forward to day one and I called my husband balling (something I never do because I’m not a big crier).
As I was holding myself accountable for this mess I found myself in, I wanted to figure out a way to never make that mistake again, reduce the margin for error, and get out of my own way.
That’s where my job scorecard came in.
One reason it’s so helpful is because the stories we start to tell ourselves in the hiring process aren’t always rooted in reality, as I just mentioned. The job scorecard helps cut through those lofty visions that surface during the interview process. So you can clearly see a job for what it is, not what it could be or what it gives you in return.
I made it my mission to fix this issue permanently using a job scorecard every time and, since doing so, I’ve never found myself in that position again. It worked!
And it can work for you too.
Add a job scorecard to your evaluation process, and you’ll:
- Define your dream role. Once you identify what you’re looking for on paper, you’ll have an easier, faster time seeing which jobs fit your bill versus those that could work.
- Block out shiny distractions, so you only focus on the important details. While a killer salary and benefits may be enticing, companies may lead with them to cover up some unpleasantries of the role too.
- Evaluate roles objectively. A job scorecard removes emotions from your decision-making. An opportunity either fits your criteria or it doesn’t — there are no gray areas or second-guessing.
So as you can see, a job scorecard helps you make the best, most well-informed, and objective decision possible. See why I’m such a fan?
Now that you know what the heck a job scorecard is and the benefits of using one, let’s dive into how to build a good template.
How to Create a Job Scorecard that Works for You
Okay, before you’re tempted to skip certain steps or rush through them, I encourage you to read this section in its entirety. Each of these steps tackles one specific part of your job scorecard creation, and you may not see the bigger picture without going through the process from A to B.
So read and follow these steps to the letter, and you’ll be ready to go instead of confused or overwhelmed. You got this!
Step 1: Define Your Dream Job
There’s a quote that fits perfectly here:
“You don’t know what you don’t know.”
Oftentimes, we think we know what our dream job is, but in reality, we haven’t actually taken the time to define the ins and outs of it, which is a big mistake.
When you don’t get this personal definition out of your head, you’re more likely to be swayed by shiny offers that look like dream jobs when they’re not.
Put simply: How will you know when you’ve come across your dream job if you don’t actually know what you’re looking for?
Short answer? You won’t.
So the first step to creating a job scorecard is to get crystal clear on what you’re looking for. Then you’ll for sure know when it’s staring you in the face when the time comes.
Bonus: Being absolutely sure about what you want in a role is super attractive to hiring managers. They want a candidate with clearly defined goals, not someone who just thinks they can do the job well.
So how do you define your dream job? Answer these four questions:
- Where do you want to be in the next six to 12 months?
- If you were doing well in a role you loved, what would that look like?
- If you were doing poorly in a job you hated, what would that look like?
- Why to all of these answers?
Paint this picture as vividly as you can. You can use your imagination to fill in the specifics or your own experience in both awesome and terrible roles you’ve had before.
Jot down everything that falls under each question’s umbrella. These details will make it much easier for you to start defining what you want and don’t want in a role.
Then, these items will become the basics of your must-have and must-avoid characteristics on your job scorecard. Eventually, these traits will help you evaluate each role.
Since they’re so crucial to our process, take your time as you go through these three questions. Once you have a high-level overview of your dream role, you’ll need to roll up your sleeves and dive deep into the specifics.
Before you take one more step, make sure you’re really able to identify what your dream role looks like otherwise you won’t be able to tackle the rest of these steps properly.
If you’re feeling stuck or you’re struggling to pinpoint what your next dream role could be, then I encourage you to use my secret sauce to success: journaling.
This tool, while it’s often not the first one we pick up in times of need (although, it should be) can help you tap into your thoughts and subconscious to really discover what matters most to you and what you should be avoiding.
I encourage you to pause and switch gears to journaling if you’re unsure of your next move so that you can hone in on what you’re looking for before you waste time targeting the wrong role.
I’ve personally seen with my clients who are struggling to nail down these specifics that journaling is the key to unlocking what they want next. And it isn’t until they journal that they realize what that really is.
Journaling is even helpful if you know what you’re looking for because it can help you get super specific, which comes in handy in this next step.
Step 2: Uncover The Specifics Of What You’re Really Looking For
Those three questions in step 1 are just a scratch on the surface. They kick off your career brainstorming and prompt you to think about what you really want.
Most of us don’t have time to ponder this question so deeply. For many, finding a job is simply about accepting the offer with the highest salary or best route for career advancement.
But we all know those don’t always lead to job satisfaction or career fulfillment.
So answering the following questions can help you further uncover what it is you’re truly searching for:
- What are you really good at? Consider this something you could do successfully even with your eyes closed.
- What brings you happiness in a role?
- Where do you struggle? Think about aspects of your job that you don’t enjoy doing or don’t look forward to tackling daily, weekly, or monthly.
- What does the next move ideally look like? Or, what does a better role look like to you? Are you or are you not managing a team, a department, or leading the way as a salesperson?
- Why do you want to leave your current job? Is it no longer challenging? Are your co-workers or department heads difficult to work with?
- What have you learned from this current role that you’d take with you? What would you leave behind?
- Are there patterns or issues that you’d like to avoid in this next role?
- What kind of leadership are you looking for? Do you prefer hands-off leaders or some guidance to help you crush your goals?
- What kind of company would help you do your best work? A reputable company with several decades of experience or a startup willing to try new things?
- How do you like to work with buyers? Are you better at full-board sales pitches or one-on-one lunches and personal meetings?
- What industries do you prefer to sell in?
- What kind of products or services do you like to sell?
- Do you prefer to work in-house, remotely, or a flexible mix of both?
- What type of team do you work best with?
- How soon do you expect to make money? And, are you up for how long that could take?
- What do you need to be successful? Autonomy? Lead generation software?
These questions are by no means the only ones you should be asking yourself. However, they can help jumpstart your train of thought and allow you to hone in on your strengths, weaknesses, and what you’ll accept or not accept in your next role.
Give yourself ample time to think about and write down answers to these questions. They’ll ultimately serve as the backbone of your job scoreboard (i.e., they’re priority #1).
And, remember, if you’re having trouble here, don’t try to force it. Instead, turn to my secret sauce to success, journaling, which I mentioned a step ago.
This will help you get crystal clear on what you’re really looking for so that you can build a job scorecard template that works for you.
So if you’re stuck, give journaling a try before moving onto this next step.
Step 3: Build Your Job Scorecard Template
You can start to build out your physical job scorecard only when you have a collection of answers to the questions from steps 1 and 2.
Why? Because we’re going to take those answers and turn them into evaluating characteristics.
So, for example, if you prefer to work remotely, you can add that as a category on your scorecard. And if you want a startup or well-established company, that would also qualify as criteria to add.
To build your job scorecard template:
- Open a blank spreadsheet. You’ll want to save a version of your job scorecard as a template later on, so you can use it whenever you’re considering something new in the future.
- Populate the top row of your scorecard with your key objectives. Each column in the top row should contain something you’re looking for or avoiding in a new role. These answers will come from what you uncovered in our first two steps.
- In the first column on the left side, add each potential role to its own row. You can use each company’s name or the specific job title here.
That’s it! That’s how you create a basic job scorecard. Pretty easy, right?
Now, when it comes time to use your scorecard, you’ll rate how each company matches your key objectives on a scale of one to 10. Then, you’ll be able to calculate an average score for each company you interview with.
For example, let’s say you want to work remotely.
You’ll list working remotely as a key objective in your top row. Company A says you can work remotely whenever you want, so you put a 10 in their row under this column heading (i.e., a perfect score). Company B says remote working is a no-go, so you’ll then need to decide how important this is to you on a scale of one to 9 (i.e., less than perfect).
Here’s a peek at the exact job scorecard I use, so you can get a better idea of how this all looks on paper:
To download a copy, click here.
Go through all your job evaluation points to fill out your scorecard. Save this template and walk away. You’ll probably think about more points to add later when you’re brushing your teeth or in the shower. So add them and save your scorecard again.
Now you have a finished job scorecard you can use when evaluating any opportunity that comes your way! But before you start using this powerful tool, there are two more vital steps to consider:
Step 4: Put In Some Extra Work Before Your Interview
A job scorecard gives you a roadmap for what to listen for and ask during interviews. So while you’re preparing for your meetings, specifically go over the categories you’ll be grading each company on.
Research each company beforehand to see if you can find answers to your questions ahead of time. Then, jot down notes about what you’d like further clarity on, and be sure to ask this during your interview.
Once the time comes, make sure to bring a notebook to your interview session. You can fill in your job scorecard as you get answers to your questions, or you can simply take notes and rate the answers you receive later.
This will help you properly assess each role during your interview and maximize your short one-on-one time with each potential company.
Now, you don’t want to make things awkward by saying, “Hey, I’m using a scorecard to evaluate you, so tell me more about your remote work policy,” or something along those lines.
Instead, ask about the category in question. So for example, you might want to try, “Can you tell me if you allow remote work for this position?”
Framing your sleuthing this way allows you to discover what you’re looking for without raising red flags. From there, you’ll be ready to move on to:
Step 5: Understand How to Use Your Job Scorecard To Your Advantage
Okay, so how does this scorecard help you make a decision about which job to take? It all comes down to the scoring.
Think of yourself as an Olympic judge scoring each company as if they were competing for you, which they technically are. Your job is to give them an objective assessment of how their offer satisfies each of the requirements/traits you listed.
Rating each category on a scale of one to 10 gives you an easy, unbiased way to assess each company’s strengths and weaknesses.
You should also consider setting up a minimum acceptable threshold. I prefer a 7.5, which means a company meets 75% of my ideal in that category. Anything lower than a 7.5 means a company has more than 25% of what I’m not looking for, and I should probably walk away.
It’s important to rank where a company misses the mark against your deal breakers and dealmakers. After all, you don’t want to compromise on a must-have in favor of a nice-to-have.
So going back to our earlier example, if working remotely isn’t a deal breaker, you may be able to tolerate a 7.5 score without issue. However, if the type of sales or leadership duties you’d be responsible for is a 7.5, this role is probably not a good fit for you.
Once you complete all your interviews, tally up the scores for each company (i.e., add up all the numbers in the same row), just like the judges do for the Olympics. Now you should have a much clearer picture painted in black-and-white numbers.
You might see that your front-runner only scores a 68, while your second choice actually comes in stronger at an 83.
And if you have a tie score between companies, you’ll need to rate your must-haves and must-avoids with even more weight to see which one comes out on top.
No matter the outcomes, you’ll have an unbiased way to evaluate your choices and make a well-informed decision.
See why a job scorecard makes such an effective tool for determining which opportunity is truly the best fit for you?
I know you’re probably eager to click out of this screen and make your very first scorecard on your own right now. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t go over a few more essential tips to remember as you do:
8 Job Scorecard Best Practices to Keep in Mind
Follow these eight dos and don’ts to ensure that you use your scorecard wisely and effectively, every single time:
- Do spend enough time getting specific on what you want and don’t want. Racing through this won’t do you any favors; getting this right always helps your scorecard work best for you.
- Do run your scorecard by an unbiased third party, such as a peer or family member who understands your strengths and weaknesses and what you’re looking for.
- Do keep your scorecard up-to-date with your current and future career goals. Save this template so it works to find you a position now and later down the road.
- Do use your scorecard for every interview, even if you think you already know how a job will score. Guesstimations won’t help you here. And a scorecard is only useful if you actually use it.
- Don’t skip categories in your interview. Otherwise, you won’t be able to properly score and compare roles on the same playing field.
- Don’t update your scorecard mid-way through your interview process. You can change it after a round of interviews has finished, but doing so mid-way will make it challenging to compare jobs fairly.
- Do ask for a second opinion after you score all your offers. We all have certain biases, and sometimes others can see things better than we can in the moment. Having an outside view will help you consider things you may not have initially thought of.
- Don’t quit your job before you have something else lined up. There’s that saying of not counting your chickens until they’re hatched… Even if this scorecard has you jazzed up (woohoo! I’m right there with ya!), it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll land your dream role tomorrow. It will help you see whether that dream role is right in front of you, but it cannot magically will it into existence (I wish!).
Final Thoughts on Creating and Using a Job Scorecard
If you’ve made it to this point in my guide, congratulations! You have a secret, powerful tool most job candidates only wish they knew about.
But knowledge is only power if you use it to your advantage. So now’s the time to roll up your sleeves and get to work!
Follow the steps in this guide to create your own job scorecard template, and be sure to use it during all your subsequent interviews. You’ll finally have the confidence to accept an offer that’s right for you instead of just right on paper.
And, if you need more help, my hotline is always on!