Discover what a structured interview is and learn how to effectively conduct one in this comprehensive guide. Improve your hiring process and find the best candidates for your team with these expert tips and techniques.
A structured interview is a type of job interview where the questions are pre-determined and standardized. This means that every candidate who is being interviewed for the same job position will be asked the same set of questions in the same order.
The goal of a structured interview is to create a fair and consistent process for evaluating candidates and to reduce the impact of personal biases on the hiring decision. By asking all candidates the same questions, employers can more easily compare their responses and make an objective hiring decision.
Does that make sense to you?
Yes and No.
It makes sense to the people who already know about it, but for others, it is still a black box. Let’s demystify the whats, hows, and whens of structured interviews left, right, and center.
A structured interview is a type of job interview that uses a standardized set of questions and a predetermined scoring system to evaluate candidates fairly and objectively. Unlike unstructured interviews, which allow for more spontaneous and free-flowing conversations, structured interviews are highly organized and focus on specific job-related skills, knowledge, and abilities.
Structured interviews typically involve asking every candidate the same questions in the same order, and evaluating their responses based on a set of predefined criteria. This approach helps ensure that all candidates are assessed using the same criteria and that personal biases and subjective impressions are minimized.
There are several advantages that structured interviews entail, such as – reduced bias, objective comparison of candidates, higher reliability, and less time consumption, but let's discuss them in detail in our next sections along with disadvantages.
Structured interviews are commonly used in the hiring process to help companies identify the most qualified and suitable candidates for a job. They are particularly useful for roles that require specific skills or qualifications, as they can help assess a candidate's fit for the job and the company culture.
To conduct a structured interview, interviewers typically begin by developing a set of job-related questions and criteria. These questions should be designed to elicit specific information about the candidate's skills, experience, and qualifications, and should be based on the job requirements.
Once the questions have been developed, interviewers typically administer the same set of questions to every candidate in the same order and evaluate each response based on a predetermined scoring system. This approach helps ensure that all candidates are evaluated using the same criteria and that personal biases and subjective impressions are minimized.
In essence, a structured interview is a valuable tool that brings the most demanded advantages to an employer’s table. Let us peek further into the details of how to conduct a full proof structured interview. Read on!
With a 44% increase in interviews from 2018 to 2021 at the workplace, there has been a new buzz among recruiters to find a sane method of interviewing their candidates.
There are four types of interviews: Structured, Semi-structured, Unstructured and Focus group interviews. For today let's focus on the difference between structured and unstructured interviews.
Structured interviews typically involve a predetermined set of questions that are asked in a specific order, while unstructured interviews are more free-form and allow for greater spontaneity and exploration. Structured interviews are often used in situations where the interviewer is looking for specific skills or competencies, while unstructured interviews can provide a more holistic view of the candidate's personality and communication skills.
In other words, structured interviews are like following a script, while unstructured interviews are more like having a conversation. Structured interviews can be useful for evaluating candidates in a systematic and objective way, while unstructured interviews can reveal a candidate's ability to think on their feet and engage in meaningful conversation.
Ultimately, the choice between a structured or unstructured interview depends on the goals of the interview and the preferences of the interviewer. Some interviewers may prefer a more structured approach, while others may prefer a more open and exploratory conversation. By combining elements of both approaches, interviewers can create a customized interview that meets their specific needs and goals.
Till now we talked about what are structured interviews. But what’s next?
Why should you use structured interviews? What advantages does it bring in the hiring process? Is it solving all the problems that other interview techniques cannot? Are some questions that we bring answers to in this particular section.
Have you ever conducted a job interview and felt like the questions were all over the place? Or maybe you had no chance to prepare and ended up asking different questions to candidates who applied for the same job. This can be frustrating and make you feel like the hiring process is unfair.
Structured interviews can help solve this problem by providing consistency in the hiring process. With a structured interview, all candidates are asked the same questions in the same order. This means that all candidates would be evaluated based on the same criteria, making it easier for the hiring manager to compare and evaluate your qualifications.
Consistency is especially important when there are multiple candidates being interviewed for the same position. Without a structured interview, the hiring manager may inadvertently ask different questions to different candidates, making it harder to compare and evaluate them objectively. With a structured interview, all candidates are evaluated based on the same criteria, which makes it easier to compare their qualifications and make more informed hiring decisions.
Have you ever heard of the saying "practice makes perfect?" Well, that same principle applies to structured interviews. By using a standardized approach to evaluating candidates, structured interviews ensure that the evaluation process is consistent and objective, which helps to increase the reliability of the interview process.
Reliability is important because it means that the same interview conducted multiple times with the same candidate should produce similar results. Imagine if you were a hiring manager and you conducted an unstructured interview with a candidate. Then, a colleague of yours conducted a completely different unstructured interview with the same candidate. The evaluation process would be inconsistent and potentially unfair to the candidate.
With structured interviews, all candidates are asked the same questions in the same order, ensuring that the evaluation process is consistent and objective. This means that if the same interview was conducted multiple times with the same candidate, the results should be expected to be similar.
74% of HR managers prefer structured interviews. Reliability in structured interviews also helps to increase the validity of the hiring process. This means that the interview process accurately measures what it is intended to measure. For example, if a structured interview is designed to evaluate a candidate's communication skills, then the results of the interview should provide a reliable measure of those skills.
Objectivity is like the referee of the hiring game. Just like a referee needs to be unbiased and fair when making calls, structured interviews help to ensure that the hiring process is free from personal biases or emotions that could impact the hiring decision.
Structured interviews use a standardized approach to evaluate candidates, which means that all candidates are asked the same questions in the same order and their answers are evaluated based on a standardized set of criteria. This standardized approach helps to eliminate personal biases or emotions that could impact the hiring decision. It's like a level playing field for all candidates, ensuring that each candidate is evaluated based on the same objective criteria.
The objectivity provided by structured interviews promotes fairness and transparency in the hiring process. It helps to ensure that the hiring decision is based on the candidate's qualifications and skills, rather than on the interviewer's personal opinions or preferences. This is important because it means that all candidates have an equal opportunity to showcase their skills and qualifications, and the hiring decision is based solely on their merits.
Validity is another important aspect of structured interviews and is a key advantage of this approach in the hiring process.
In the context of structured interviews, validity refers to the degree to which the interview questions are relevant to the job and the skills required to perform it. Structured interviews are designed to be job-related, which means that the questions asked during the interview are directly related to the job being filled.
By asking job-related questions, structured interviews help to ensure that the hiring decision is based on the candidate's ability to perform the job, rather than on irrelevant factors. This makes the interview process more valid because it is focused on the skills and qualifications required to perform the job.
Moreover, structured interviews help to ensure that all candidates are evaluated based on the same criteria, making it easier to compare candidates and make informed hiring decisions. This helps to increase the validity of the hiring process by ensuring that the best candidate for the job is selected.
One of the main advantages of structured interviews is that they are designed to be fair and objective. By using standardized interview questions and evaluation criteria, structured interviews help to ensure that all candidates are evaluated based on the same factors, regardless of their background, race, gender, or other personal characteristics.
This helps to reduce the impact of bias in the hiring process, which can be a major problem in traditional, unstructured interviews. Unstructured interviews are often more subjective and can be influenced by personal biases or preferences, leading to unfair or discriminatory hiring decisions.
According to a recent review, the proportion of structured interviews that were deemed discriminatory was only 13%, while for unstructured interviews, the same ruling was given in half of the cases.
Structured interviews, on the other hand, are designed to be as objective as possible, which means that they can help to reduce the impact of personal biases and preferences. For example, structured interviews use job-related questions and evaluation criteria, which are based on the skills and qualifications required to perform the job. This helps to ensure that the interview process focuses on the candidate's ability to perform the job, rather than on irrelevant factors such as personal characteristics.
Structured interviews are designed to be efficient, which means that they are intended to save time and resources during the hiring process. This is achieved by using a standardized approach that focuses on job-related questions and evaluation criteria, which makes it easier and faster to evaluate candidates.
Because structured interviews use a standardized approach, they can be easily replicated and used to evaluate multiple candidates for the same position. This means that the interviewer can evaluate a large number of candidates efficiently and effectively, without having to spend a lot of time developing customized interview questions for each candidate.
In addition, structured interviews can also help to reduce the time and resources required for training interviewers. Because the interview process is standardized, it is easier to train multiple interviewers on how to conduct the interview and evaluate candidates. This helps to ensure consistency in the evaluation process, which is important for ensuring fairness and objectivity.
While structured interviews have many advantages, there are also some potential disadvantages that organizations should be aware of. Let us look at some of them.
One significant disadvantage of structured interviews is their lack of flexibility. Unlike unstructured interviews, which allow for open-ended questions and free-flowing conversations, structured interviews are more rigid in nature. The interviewer must adhere to a pre-set list of questions, which may not cover all the relevant topics or allow for the interviewer to follow up on important details that emerge during the interview.
The standardized nature of structured interviews means that interviewers cannot deviate from the script, even if the candidate provides interesting or insightful information that may be relevant to the position. This lack of flexibility can also make the interview feel impersonal, as the interviewer may not have the opportunity to build rapport with the candidate or tailor the interview to their individual background or experience.
Furthermore, the standardized questions used in structured interviews may not accurately capture the nuances of a candidate's qualifications or experiences. For example, a candidate may have relevant experience or skills that are not directly related to the questions asked in the interview. In such cases, the interviewer may not be able to explore these areas, potentially missing out on important information that could be relevant to the hiring decision.
Another potential disadvantage of structured interviews is their lack of spontaneity. Unlike unstructured interviews, which may allow for more natural, free-flowing conversations, structured interviews are more regimented in nature. Interviewers must stick to a predetermined list of questions, which can make the interview feel formulaic and less authentic.
The standardized nature of structured interviews may also make it difficult for candidates to demonstrate their communication skills, personality, or other important qualities that may be relevant to the job. Candidates may feel pressured to give short, standardized answers that do not fully reflect their capabilities or experiences, rather than engaging in a more organic conversation with the interviewer.
On top of that, structured interviews may not allow for follow-up questions or clarifications, which can limit the ability to fully explore a candidate's qualifications or experiences. In some cases, this may lead to misinterpretations or misunderstandings that could impact the hiring decision.
To be effective, interview questions should be specific, relevant, and aligned with the job requirements. However, designing such questions can be a challenging task, especially for complex or technical job roles.
The questions used in structured interviews must be carefully crafted to elicit the desired information from candidates. The interviewer must ensure that each question is clear and unambiguous and that the response options are exhaustive and mutually exclusive. The questions must also be relevant to the job and avoid any potential biases that may disadvantage certain candidates.
Designing effective questions may require significant time and resources, and even then, there is no guarantee that the questions will accurately capture the candidate's qualifications or experiences. Furthermore, there may be situations where the standardized questions used in structured interviews are not able to capture the nuances of a candidate's experiences or skills, which can limit the ability to fully evaluate the candidate.
When interview questions are leaked, candidates may have an unfair advantage if they receive the questions in advance or if they have prior knowledge of the questions. This can lead to candidates being evaluated based on their ability to memorize and recite answers, rather than their actual qualifications and job-related skills.
Furthermore, if interview questions are leaked, it can compromise the integrity of the entire interview process. It can create a perception of unfairness and bias among candidates who did not have access to the leaked questions. This can lead to a loss of trust in the hiring process and negatively impact the reputation of the organization.
Another issue that can arise from the leaking of structured interview questions is the potential for candidates to share the questions and answers with others, which can impact the validity of future interviews. If candidates have access to previous interview questions and answers, they may be able to prepare better and present themselves in a more favorable light, even if they are not the best candidate for the job.
88% of HR managers rate both behavioral and structured interviewing methods as the most effective. With such big numbers, I am sure you are now excited to learn how to conduct a structured interview. Read on to know the details.
When it comes to conducting a structured interview that is effective and identifies the best job candidate, developing a clear job description is a crucial first step. Think of it as laying the foundation for the entire interview process.
By developing a detailed job description, you're not only giving potential candidates a clear understanding of the position and its requirements, but you're also giving yourself a roadmap for creating job-related questions that will accurately assess each candidate's suitability for the role.
A clear job description should be like a story - it should paint a picture of what the job entails, what the company culture is like, and what the candidate can expect if they're hired. It should be informative and engaging, highlighting the key skills and attributes needed for success in the position.
Imagine you're talking to a potential candidate and trying to describe the job to them. What would you say? What aspects of the job would you emphasize? What skills and qualifications are essential? By answering these questions, you can create a job description that not only attracts qualified candidates but also helps guide your structured interview process.
Think of these standardized questions as a set of road markers that guide the interview process, keeping it focused and relevant to the position being filled. They should be designed to elicit specific information that is important for the job and should be asked in the same way, in the same order, and with the same wording for each candidate.
When developing your standardized questions, it's important to consider the essential functions of the job, the qualifications needed, and the skills required for success in the role. For instance, if the job requires strong communication skills, you might ask questions related to how the candidate handles difficult conversations or communicates with colleagues and clients.
In addition to job-specific questions, you can also include behavioral and situational questions that help assess the candidate's problem-solving abilities, decision-making skills, and interpersonal aptitude. For instance, a behavioral question could ask the candidate to describe how they have handled a difficult situation in the past, while a situational question could ask how they would handle a hypothetical scenario relevant to the job.
It's essential to test your standardized questions before the interview to ensure that they're effective in eliciting the desired information. This can be done by having a group of people (such as HR professionals or hiring managers) review and evaluate the questions, ensuring they are clear, concise, and focused on the job requirements.
The first step in training interviewers is to ensure that they understand the goals of the structured interview. They should know that the purpose of the interview is to assess the qualifications and suitability of candidates for the position, and that the goal is to identify the best candidate based on objective criteria.
Next, interviewers should be trained on the importance of objective evaluation. They should understand that their personal biases and preferences can impact their evaluation of candidates, and that it's essential to focus on job-related criteria when assessing candidates. Interviewers should be encouraged to ask the same standardized questions to each candidate and to rate their responses using a consistent scale.
It's also important to train interviewers on the role they play in the selection process. They should know that their evaluation of candidates will be considered alongside other evaluation criteria, such as resumes, references, and assessments. Interviewers should be aware that their input is important and that their evaluations will be used to make hiring decisions.
To ensure that interviewers are comfortable with the structured interview process, it's a good idea to provide them with practice sessions. These sessions can include mock interviews, where interviewers can practice asking standardized questions and rating candidate responses. This can help interviewers become more familiar with the process and more comfortable evaluating candidates.
A rating system typically involves assigning a numerical score or rating to each candidate's response based on a set of predetermined criteria. The criteria should be relevant to the job requirements and reflect the essential functions, qualifications, and skills needed for success in the role.
For example, if the job requires strong communication skills, the rating system may include criteria such as clarity of expression, ability to listen actively, and effective use of language. Each criterion can be rated on a scale, such as a five-point scale, where a rating of 1 indicates poor performance and a rating of 5 indicates excellent performance.
Using a rating system ensures that each candidate is evaluated on the same criteria and that the evaluation process is fair and consistent. It also provides a clear and objective way to compare candidates and make hiring decisions based on the candidate's qualifications and skills.
When developing a rating system, it's essential to ensure that the criteria are job-related and reflect the skills and qualifications required for success in the role. The rating system should also be easy to use and understand, and interviewers should be trained on how to use the system effectively.
It's also important to ensure that the rating system is used consistently throughout the interview process. Interviewers should be instructed to use the rating system for all candidates and to follow the same criteria and rating scale for each candidate.
Finally, it's essential to ensure that the rating system is applied objectively and without bias. Interviewers should focus on the job-related criteria and avoid making evaluations based on personal biases or preferences.
Before the interview begins, the interviewer should review the job description, the standardized questions, and the rating system to ensure they are familiar with the criteria for evaluation. They should also review the candidate's application materials, including their resume, cover letter, and any relevant work samples or certifications.
During the interview, the interviewer should greet the candidate and make them feel comfortable. They should begin with an explanation of the interview process, including the goals of the interview, the types of questions they will be asking, and the rating system that will be used to evaluate the candidate's responses.
The interviewer should then proceed with the structured interview questions, asking the same questions to each candidate and using the predetermined criteria and rating scale to evaluate their responses. The interviewer should encourage the candidate to provide detailed and specific examples of their experience and qualifications and should follow up with additional questions if necessary to gain a deeper understanding of the candidate's suitability for the role.
Throughout the interview, the interviewer should remain neutral and objective, avoiding any personal biases or opinions. They should focus on job-related criteria and ask follow-up questions that are relevant to the position. It's important to note that the interviewer should not make any promises or commitments to the candidate during the interview, as this can compromise the fairness and objectivity of the selection process.
At the end of the interview, the interviewer should thank the candidate for their time and provide them with information on the next steps in the selection process. They should also ensure that they have recorded their evaluations and notes on the candidate's responses to the structured interview questions.
Once you've conducted the structured interview, it's time to dig into the data and analyze the results. This is where you review all the ratings and notes from each interview to see which candidates are the best fit for the position. It's a critical step because you want to ensure that you're selecting the most qualified candidates and that the selection process remains fair and objective.
During the analysis stage, you'll be comparing candidates' qualifications, skills, and experience to determine who stands out from the pack. You'll also be looking at how they responded to the standardized questions to see if their answers align with the criteria you've established for the role.
Once you've made your decision on which candidates to move forward with, it's time to provide feedback to those who weren't selected. This is an important part of the process because it helps the candidates understand why they weren't selected and what they can do to improve their performance in future interviews.
When giving feedback, you want to make sure that you're honest and respectful. You should focus on specific job-related criteria and avoid any personal opinions or biases. You'll also want to provide constructive criticism and suggest ways for the candidate to improve, such as recommending additional training or experience.
It's important to note that giving feedback can be tough, but it's worth it. The candidates will appreciate the time and effort you took to give them feedback, and it will help them improve their skills and be better prepared for future interviews.
Structured interviews typically involve a set of standardized questions that are asked to all candidates. These questions can be divided into several categories based on the type of information they seek. Here are some common types of questions you might want to ask in a structured interview.
Behavioral questions are commonly used in structured interviews to gain insights into how a candidate has handled specific situations in the past. These questions can help interviewers assess the candidate's skills, experience, and behavioral patterns that are relevant to the job. Here are some examples of behavioral questions:
Situational questions are another type of question that can be used in structured interviews. These questions are designed to test a candidate's ability to think critically and make decisions in hypothetical scenarios that are relevant to the job. Here are some examples of situational questions:
These questions are designed to test a candidate's knowledge and understanding of specific concepts or procedures related to the job. Here are some examples of knowledge-based questions:
Apart from these, structured interview questions can also be categorized into open-ended and close-ended questions.
Open-ended questions, on the other hand, are designed to encourage the candidate to provide more detailed and nuanced responses. They often begin with phrases like "Tell me about a time when..." or "Describe your experience with...".
These questions allow candidates to elaborate on their experiences, skills, and knowledge and can provide interviewers with more in-depth insights into the candidate's abilities and potential fit for the role. For example, "Can you tell me about a project you led and the challenges you faced? How did you overcome them?"
Close-ended questions are those that typically require a short, specific answer, such as "yes" or "no." They are often used to gather factual information quickly and efficiently. For example, "Have you ever worked in a team environment before?" or "Do you have experience with Microsoft Excel?" These types of questions are useful for getting a quick read on a candidate's qualifications or experience.
In conclusion, structured interviews are the not-so-secret weapon for savvy employers in the hiring game. By sticking to a well-crafted game plan that includes developing a clear job description, creating a standardized set of questions, training interviewers, using a rating system, conducting the interview, analyzing results, and giving feedback, employers can elevate their hiring decisions to a whole new level.
Whether you prefer to use behavioral questions to suss out a candidate's past experience, situational questions to test their critical thinking skills, or knowledge-based questions to assess their understanding of job-related concepts, structured interviews can be a game-changer in selecting the right person for the job.
So, if you want to attract top talent and build a dream team, take a structured approach to interviews and watch the magic happen!