Interviews are a necessary part of your hiring process. And yet, determining whether a candidate is right for a role can be challenging. Can a one-hour interview truly tell you everything you need to know before hiring a new team member?
Which questions hiring team members ask and how they assess whether a candidate is the right fit ultimately informs who gets passed on and who gets an offer. But the structure of this process matters just as much as the Qs asked and post-interview evaluation.
Ensuring everyone involved in the hiring process is aligned is critical to running successful interview processes and, at the end of the day, employing the right individuals and providing a stellar experience to each candidate engaged.
This is where structured interviews can help.
What is a structured interview?
A structured interview is a method of assessment that measures how competent a candidate is for a role by asking each prospect one interviews the same set of questions and comparing them against the same criteria.
Moreover, it includes a rubric or scorecard of some kind that helps interview panelists assess answers to each question. This means all candidates are asked the same predetermined questions (and in the same order) and their responses are evaluated using the same scale.
Why are structured interviews better?
Conducting job interviews can seem pretty straightforward:
Upon second glance, however, you’ll find that a brief interview and a “gut feeling” aren’t enough to make the most effective hiring decisions — especially when other stakeholders or influencers are involved.
Rather, you need an organized approach to speaking with prospective hires. Fail yo implement such a process, and you could very well end up employing the wrong person.
Hiring the wrong candidate can be costly. Studies have shown that, on average, a bad hire can cost a company upwards of $15,000. Meanwhile, 74% of managers say they’ve hired the wrong person for a position at one time or another.
This makes having a structured interview process crucial.
The advantages of using structured interviews
Many recruiters consider structured interviews to be more effective, as they’re based on a clearly defined role and its core objectives: a hiring team uses a rubric and deliberate set of questions that foster data-driven hiring decisions.
Let’s dive deeper into the specific, key advantages of structured interviews:
Benefits of leveraging structured interviews for both candidates and employers
The intention of structured interviews is to help hiring teams make objective, intelligent hiring decisions, which ultimately benefits both the candidate who gets hired and the org.
In other words? It ensures they don’t have semi-structured interview processes (or, worse, unstructured interview processes) that prevent panelists from comparing candidates and discerning the strongest-fit individuals.
The structured interview is ultimately a type of interview approach that ensures:
There aren’t just pros for prospects, though. Structured interviews help employers:
Why you should use a structured interview framework
If structured interviews are more effective, why don’t all hiring teams use them when recruiting and nurturing candidates? Well, it could have a lot to do with comfort.
But interviewing can quickly become an informal, almost casual process if you’re tasked with interviewing candidates often or at scale. This can lead to ineffective interviews that hinder hiring teams from properly assessing candidates — and can lead to the ‘interview effect.’
In short, the “interview effect” occurs when an interviewer unintentionally influences the interviewee. For example, an interviewer’s body language and responses can influence how a candidate answers questions.
In this sense, having a structured interview framework enables your hiring team to conduct more productive, unbiased interviews — and help employers like yours extend offers to and hire top talent more efficiently and effectively.
Download our Structured Hiring 101 guide to learn how your talent acquisition team can implement a highly structured interview process that leads to smarter hiring.
Structured Interview explained
A structured interview is a type of interview in which the interviewer asks a predetermined set of questions to each candidate, in order to gather data that can be objectively analyzed. The questions are typically designed to assess specific skills or qualities that are relevant to the job in question.
The structured interview is often contrasted with the unstructured or "free-flowing" interview, in which the interviewer does not have a set list of questions and instead relies on his or her own intuition and observations to guide the conversation.
There are a number of advantages to using a structured interview. First, it allows for a more objective comparison of candidates, as the same questions are asked of each person. This can be especially helpful when interviewing a large number of candidates.
Second, a structured interview can help to reduce the potential for bias, as the interviewer is less likely to be influenced by personal factors such as appearance or mannerisms.
Third, structured interviews can be less time-consuming than unstructured interviews, as the interviewer does not need to come up with new questions on the spot.
Finally, structured interviews can be more reliable than unstructured interviews, as they are less likely to be affected by interviewer error or bias.
However, there are also some disadvantages to using a structured interview. First, the interviewer may not be able to probe deeper into a candidate's response if he or she feels that the answer is incomplete or unsatisfactory.
Second, the interview may feel less personal and more like an interrogation, which can make candidates feel uncomfortable.
Third, the interviewer may not be able to get a sense of the candidate's true personality or potential as he or she would in an unstructured interview.
Overall, the decision of whether to use a structured or unstructured interview will depend on the specific needs of the organization and the type of job being filled. If a job requires a high degree of accuracy and objectivity, then a structured interview may be the best option. If a job is more creative or requires more interpersonal skills, then an unstructured interview may be more effective.