What Is a Structured Interview, and How Do You Conduct Them
Interviews play a massive process in assessing candidates for your workforce. This is why the interviews are conducted towards the end of the recruitment funnel. Each job role requires a different approach to assess the candidate and check if they are the right fit. But, how about making the interview standardised? This is precisely what a structured interview is all about.
For a hiring manager, the questions that they ask the candidate might vary based on many factors. This can make it more difficult to score the candidate based on their answers. This is especially the case when many candidates are competing for a job role.
Assessing all these candidates without room for errors can only happen if they undergo the same interview process. Standard standardisation is needed to ensure that it is also easier to spot the perfect candidate for your job.
What Is a Structured Interview?
A structured interview is when all the questions the manager asks a candidate are pre-determined through various methods to ensure that all candidates are asked the same questions in the same order.
The interview panel then scores the candidate based on their answers. This makes it easier for the panel to assess the candidate. The scoring system might vary based on the organisation.
An unstructured interview is where there is no preparation beforehand. This makes it hard to judge the answers and pick a suitable candidate since none of them are asked the same questions.
A semi-structured interview is where the interviewer has a set of questions planned for the interview, but they also tend to ask a few follow-up questions based on the candidate’s answers. This gives a more flexible way for the interviewer to assess the candidate.
Steps to Conduct a Structured Interview
1. Perform a Job Analysis
Each job role requires you to create a different set of questions. To make the best questions suitable for the job, you first need to understand the nature of the role.
For instance, a marketer and a programmer have different requirements. The candidate persona of each of the job roles differs to a great extent. Understanding this can help you hear the interview toward them.
Performing a job analysis is the only way to ensure that you prepare the best questions for the structured interviews. This can also help you to create a more informative job ad.
2. Define the Requirements of the Job
Now that you understand the job. You need to define the requirements of the employee performing the job. This includes all the skills required for the job and other soft skills that make the candidate more desirable.
The requirements could be programming skills, communication skills, or even interpersonal skills. Understanding the role’s needs can help you develop a proper grading system.
3. Develop the Questions
After analysing the role and the skills you expect from a candidate, you can now start to develop the questions you will ask the candidate. Use the attributes you require from the job role and form questions around them.
Build questions around the traits you want to assess. If you already have a list of questions, check them for compatibility and change them accordingly.
It is also essential to prepare specific follow-up questions if you feel that certain trends are being repeated in the interview process. This will help you develop for the possible pitfalls in an interview and plan accordingly for the future.
4. Develop a Grading System
It is crucial to come up with a scale for your grading system. It can either be a scale of 1-5 or 1-10. The length of the scale is irrelevant. The main factor is that the panel must accurately define each point on the scale.
In the case of an interview panel, ensure that everyone in the interview panel understands the scaling system. This will help you to avoid any confusion in the grading part.
5. Conduct the Interview
After preparing for the interview, it is finally time to conduct the interview. The structured interview is best handled by someone who understands all the questions related to the job role and the company’s requirements.
To keep things more accessible, it is good for the interviewer when they understand the questions along with the answers the candidates are expected to give. Something like a template will work for that. Someone new to structured interviews will need training.
Advantages of Structured Interviews
The following are the advantages of structured interviews that make them the best way to approach interviews in the recruitment process.
- The interview process is made much more efficient when all the candidates are asked the same questions. Scoring them based on the answers is easier. This helps reduce the interview time.
- The interview panel can repeat the same interview questions with future candidates. It will be necessary to add or remove some questions for those interviews. This can reduce the time the interviewer needs to prepare for their interviews.
- A structured interview minimises the risk of a bad hire since the interview panel takes the time to answer the questions required for the job role.
- Since all the questions are preplanned, the interview can expand their questioning to ask the candidate questions specific to understanding more about them.
- It is easy to modify the questions of a structured interview. This will ensure that each candidate gets to have an interview process that suits them, which can provide a positive candidate experience.
Limitations of Structured Interviews
Although there are advantages to structured interviews, it is necessary to understand their disadvantages. The following are the limitations of a structured interview:
- Preparing the questions for the interview does make the interview process more manageable. But, this can also put restrictions on the interviewer.
- Coming up with the right questions for the interview can take a long time, with meticulous research. Even though this is a one-time process, it is vital to stay updated on the questions and stick to the ones that work well.
- The interviewer might come across as a bit strict when sticking to the questions. When they have the interview planned out, they may be so focused on the questions that they may not spend much time having a friendly chat before they get started.
- Some interviewer bias can find its way into the interview process, even in structured interviews.
Just as with any tweaks in recruitment, it is necessary to understand the structured interview to ensure that you properly implement them for your organisation. You must test out all the questions and analyse them properly before implementing them in the interviews. Change the interview questions according to the trends you observe with the candidate.
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