Definitive Guide to Structured Interviewing

Updated by Amy Thomas

Interviews are one of the most common methods for evaluating job candidates. For many employers, the job interview plays an extremely pivotal role in deciding who to hire. In other words, the stakes of a job interview are very high.

Interviews can be defined as structured or unstructured.

  • Structured interviews: Structured interviews ask all candidates applying for a role the same questions, in the same order, by the same interviewers, with each answer evaluated against predetermined criteria.
  • Unstructured interviews: Unstructured interviews are more like free-flowing conversations with little to no structure. There is often no specific set of predetermined questions.

Research over the past several decades clearly indicates that structured, job-relevant interview questions that assess job knowledge, job-relevant past behaviour, or intended behaviour in job-relevant scenarios are the best predictors of performance.

Despite this, in the absence of specific prompts to write structed questions, 75% of the interview questions written by both inexperienced and experienced interviewers are unstructured in nature. This leaves too much room for gut-level reactions and unconscious bias, leading to less predictive hiring decisions and less successful outcomes.

Creating a list of potential structured questions, so your interviewers can select the best questions for the job they are hiring for, increases their confidence in the questions and belief in their validity, compared to just giving them a final set of questions they have to ask each candidate.

To learn more about structured interviewing, please download our definitive guide.

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