What is a Structured Interview

Structured interviews follow a step-by-step assessment process that ensures an unbiased and reliable performance review of the interviewee
Structured interviews follow a step-by-step assessment process that ensures an unbiased and reliable performance review of the interviewee

A Structured interview is one where candidates go through a hiring process involving a set of predetermined tasks to test their competence levels for the job. It could relate to answering questions or going through a case study interview. 

Some companies may also ask candidates to play role-based games or participate in group tasks. Their performance on these tasks gets evaluated on a fixed scale. 

This standardized interviewing process (be it face-to-face or virtual hiring) helps the most when multiple interviewers are interviewing for a similar set of roles. For example, a consulting company may be looking to hire Analysts. 

They may have 10 open positions for which they are interviewing 100 candidates. To conduct the process smoothly, the company will need multiple interviewers. In the absence of a standardized interviewing process, the interviewers’ preferences and biases will influence the objectivity of the recruitment process. In such cases, a structured interview is more reliable when compared to an unstructured interview.

Structured interviews follow a step-by-step assessment process that ensures an unbiased and reliable performance review of the interviewee
Structured interviews are more reliable and concise

Steps Involved in a Structured Interview

A Structured interview follows a standardized procedure. It involves specific steps that we should discuss to understand the process.

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Conduct a Job Analysis

Job analysis is a comprehensive process to match skills to specific job tasks. It helps in developing a detailed job description for the role. It also assists in designing a proper questionnaire and payscale structure for selected candidates. Job Analysis is essential for developing training modules and related organizational needs.

Determine the Must-Haves for the Job

A candidate needs specific skills and qualifications to perform their job. It serves as a criterion for rejecting aspirants who do not fulfill the requirements. These requirements need to be well defined in advance. 

It will help interviewers assess the competency of the interviewee. For example, consider the role of a Data Analyst. It would be mandatory for the candidate to have a flair for numerical analysis methods. 

They would also need to be fluent in standard analysis software. These then become “must-have” requirements for the role. For the same position, something like written communication skills could be a “good to have” requirement.

Determine the Interview Format

The interview format must focus on their past as well as anticipated behavior. It helps in developing structured interview questions for the candidates. It could be behavioral, situational, or a combination of both. 

It helps to assess many aspects of an individual’s performance. You can watch interview videos in both formats for better clarity on this issue.

A structured interview must contain the right questions for determining an individual’s performance
The interview format must be precise that include relevant questions

Develop an Interview Schedule 

An Interview Schedule is essential to conduct the entire process without any glitches. Companies should decide on the timing as well as the interview methods beforehand. The interview format depends on the convenience of both the interviewer and interviewee. 

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Determining the Rating Scale

A well-defined rating scale is an integral part of a structured interview. It helps assess all the candidates who have applied for the job role. The rating scale is different for behavioral assessment and situational interviews. This method helps to assess the different skillsets required to clear those tests.

Conduct the Interview

Interviewers conducting a structured interview need proper training and guidance. They must go through several mock interviews (both behavioral and situational) for preparation. 

They must take detailed notes about the interview. They should be mindful of their body language and exercise control over their biases.

Top 10 Structured Interview Questions:

Some examples of structured interview questions are as follow:

  1. Tell me/us about yourself 
  2. Give one or more instances of a challenge that you found difficult to overcome
  3. What do you like/dislike about your current role?
  4. Was there ever a situation of conflict within your team. How did you handle it?
  5. Where do you see yourself 5 years from today?
  6. What are your top strengths?
  7. What are your top weaknesses?
  8. What environment helps you perform better?
  9. What are some of the mistakes that you have made in your career?
  10. Which leader do you admire and why?
Structured interviews result in unbiased and reliable hiring decisions as they follow a consistent procedure for all candidates
Structured interviews are a consistent process that ensures reliable hiring

Why Conduct Structured Interviews

There are several advantages of conducting a structured interview for a job position. They are as follows:

Consistent Process

Structured interviews are consistent for all candidates. They get the same questions and are evaluated using the same rating scale. It also tends to reduce the role of bias while evaluating an interviewee. A candidate’s performance gets judged by their scores and not by how the interviewer sees them.

Time Efficient

Structured interviews tend to be faster because they follow a standardized procedure. There are no deviations from the interview pattern, which makes it easier to conduct. The speed is not affected much, even if it is a physical or a virtual interview.

Easy to Analyse and Compare Multiple Candidates

The performance of all candidates gets measured using the same rating scale. Thus it becomes easier to analyze and compare their scores. 

The assessment interview of candidates doesn’t change much across different modes. Whether a live face-to-face interview, digital interview, or recorded video interview, the method stays the same.

Fair and Effective 

The element of bias becomes less relevant in a structured interview. A candidate’s performance gets measured using a standardized method. The hiring decision is based on this evaluation. Thus, the interviewer’s personal bias becomes irrelevant.  

Helps the Employer to Comply With the Legal Requirements

The recruiter needs to adhere to the legal requirements of conducting an interview. It is easier to follow them if the format is standard across multiple interviews. Be it a physical or an online interview, a structured layout helps employers comply with the legal formalities.

How Does an ATS help with the Interview Process

By implementing an ATS, you can eliminate paper-based processes and streamline your human resources function. The use of an ATS will help to reduce the time and cost associated with interviewing and recruitment activities, as well as the time spent on compliance and reporting.

PyjamaHR is one such ATS that stores every piece of information about each applicant, as well as collects data from multiple sources. The result is a comprehensive system that streamlines the overall hiring process, while at the same time providing broader insight into candidates’ qualifications, personalities, and compatibility with your company.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is a structured interview example?

There are many ways in which you can conduct structured interviews. For example, you can run them over the phone, face-to-face, over the Internet, using computer programs, such as Skype, or using a videophone.

What are the types of structured interviews?

Structured interviews are also known as:
Standardized interviews.
Patterned interviews.
Planned interviews.
Formal interviews.

How does a structured interview differ from a situational interview?

Unstructured interviews are casual in approach. The interviewers often rely on their knowledge, skills, and experience to ask questions. Many times, they interview candidates with questions created on the fly. 
Structured interviews are more systematic, and the questionnaire is prepared in advance.

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