The Eight-Point Success Matrix™

By Barry Deutsch

To eliminate interviewers’ ingrained tendency to focus on superficial criteria and miss substantive evidence, we developed a structured tool to help each interviewer evaluate each candidate—objectively, fairly, and comprehensively.

The Eight-Point Success Matrix is the tool or scorecard we have our clients use to rate “fit” based on the examples, illustrations, specifics, results, accomplishments, and patterns of behavior that emerge in candidate interviews.intw blockstyle

It is quick to use, easy to understand, and focused on the job itself. Perhaps most importantly, it calibrates interviewer ratings, keeping everyone on the same page. Built around the five key predictors of success in our SUCCESS FACTOR METHODOLOGY™, the Eight-Point Success Matrix forces interviewers to ask the right questions and probe until they have enough information to complete the form. To use this scorecard in the interviewing process, we are assuming the interviewer is well-versed in our 8-step SUCCESS FACTOR METHODOLOGY, particularly the steps involving defining success for a particular role, the process of how to interview for success by using the 5 core questions, and the approach of uncovering the truth behind candidate responses by applying the magnifying Glass Technique. These 8-steps are explained in more depth on our website or in our book titled, You’re Not the Person I Hired. You can also download the Eight-Point Success Matrix from our site.

Accountability to the interviewing group is vital. When interviewers know they will have to justify the ratings assigned to each candidate to the entire group of interviewers—especially if they’ve designated Candidate A’s Team Leadership ability “1” while everybody else assigned her a “2”—the whole process is taken more seriously.

Because each member of the interviewing team fills out an Eight-Point Success Matrix form after each interview, by end of a long interview cycle a candidate’s file may contain twenty or more. The full file allows the person with final hiring power to evaluate full-spectrum of evaluation on all Success Factors. Skimming the right column helps the hiring executive to rapidly compare the same candidate interview-to-interview, and also to evaluate candidates’ qualifications against each other, on equal footing.

How to Use the Form

The most important consideration in using the matrix is this: Do Not, Under Any Circumstances, Put Off Completing the Form After Each Interview. Human memory fades rapidly four to six hours after an event. Once details are gone from short-term memory, they are lost forever.

biz timeYou absolutely must ensure that your hiring process does not fall victim to procrastination and memory loss (“Er, gee, I think this was the guy with the orange tie who used to work at Enron, yeah? Or was that Exxon? Shoot, I don’t remember…”) The hiring team leader must make sure each interviewer sits down immediately after the interview (or by that same day’s end, at the latest) to complete the sections for which they have gathered enough information.

It is almost certain that no interviewer will be able to fill out an entire matrix after just one interview. That’s fine—they should leave blank any sections that require more information, and make notes regarding what questions to ask in the next interview in the “Comments” area.

We highly recommend that somebody on the interviewing team—preferably the hiring manager him- or herself—be charged with distributing and collecting the Eight-Point Success Matrix forms before and after each round of interviews. When people know they’ll be held accountable at the end of the day, they won’t put off what needs to be done. While there are few rules about using the Matrix, there are several tips to keep in mind:

  1. The form should be explained and discussed fully among the team before interviews begin.
  2. Each interviewer should understand the difference between a score of 0, 1, 2, and 3.
  3. Each interviewer should understand what each of the Factors is intended to measure.
  4. A candidate who rates Zeros in any category is probably not the best choice for the job.
  5. The “sweet spot” on the Eight-Point Success Matrix form is a ranking of “2.” Not too hot or too cold—just right.
  6. Depending on the job, it is possible that a candidate with one or two ratings of “1” might still be up to the job.
  7. A candidate whose Matrix scores are consistently “3” across the board is likely overqualified. At a minimum you might encounter a fair level of difficulty retaining this individual. He or she would probably become bored with the job and is therefore NOT always a good choice.
  8. Your hiring team should discuss their rankings of the final candidates in great detail to make sure no questions or concerns are left un-addressed.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2014

Barry Deutsch, MA is a well-known thought leader in hiring and peak performance management. He is a frequent and sought-after speaker for management meetings, trade associations, and CEO forums, such as Vistage International, formerly known as TEC, a worldwide CEO membership organization of more than 15,000 CEOs and senior executives. Many of his clients view him as their virtual Chief Talent Officer. Vistage International named Barry “IMPACT Speaker of the Year”… Barry is also frequently asked to present IMPACT Hiring Solutions award-winning programs on hiring, retention, and motivating top talent and leverages a vast knowledge base of 25 years in the executive search field, with a track record of successful placements in multi-billion dollar Fortune 100 companies, entrepreneurial firms, and middle-market high-growth businesses. He has worked closely with thousands of CEOs and key executives to help improve hiring success, leverage human capital, and raise the bar on talent acquisition. Barry earned his BA and MA from the American University in Washington, D.C. Prior to his executive search career, Barry held positions of responsibility in Finance and General Management with Mattel, Beatrice Foods, and Westinghouse Cable. Barry is a co-author of the book, You’re Not The Person I Hired. You can reach him at

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• Master five techniques to inspire others to perform like champions
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If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, & our website:

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching. Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.

To order the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code” please go to