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What is a structured interview? Definition, Types & Question Examples
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What is a structured interview? Definition, Types & Question Examples

Velents Team
Updated on:
July 20, 2022
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7 Min

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Using a structured interview to evaluate job prospects is a great method to identify the top candidates. Asking a set of questions in a specific manner during a structured interview can help you gather crucial facts about your candidates. This approach is almost twice as effective as the traditional interview.

What Is a Structured Interview?

Let's talk in detail about the structured interview definition.

It is a type of interview that uses a predetermined set of questions. This method is also known as a standardized interview, objective interview, or behavioral interview. The questions are designed to elicit behavior-based responses from the candidates.

The interviewer follows a specific format and order when asking the questions. This allows for easy comparison between candidates. It also eliminates the interviewer bias that can occur in unstructured interviews.

The questions asked in a structured interview should be based on the job requirements. They should focus on identifying the top candidates who have the necessary skills and abilities to excel in the role.

When should you use a structured interview?

There are several situations when using a structured interview is the best option. It depends on the hiring process you choose to follow. This approach can help you save time and energy in the long run.

When you have many candidates: Reviewing resumes and applications can be time-consuming. Conducting phone screens with each candidate is not always practical. Meeting with every candidate for an interview is also not feasible. Using a structured interview to narrow down the candidate pool is the most efficient way to identify the top candidates.

When you need to make a quick hiring decision: In some cases, you may need to fill a position quickly. A structured interview can help you make a fast and informed hiring decision.

When you want to compare candidates objectively: It can be difficult to compare candidates fairly when using an unstructured interview. Asking each candidate the same questions in the same order allows you to compare them objectively. This ensures that you are making a fair and unbiased hiring decision.

Examples of structured interview questions

Job-specific inquiries are used to find out more about a prospective employee's experience and skills relevant to the position. In a workplace interview, questions typically center on job requirements and responsibilities.

The goal is to gauge how the candidate has performed in similar roles in the past. The questions should be open-ended to encourage candidates to share detailed examples from their previous experiences.

For entry-level or inexperienced candidates, the focus of questions may be on finding out about their academic qualifications and what they can bring to the role. For more experienced candidates, the questions may focus on their work history and what they have accomplished in previous roles.

Here are some examples of structured interview questions:

General structured interview questions:

  • Can you tell me a little about yourself?
  • What do you know about us?
  • How would this position assist your long-term career plans?
  • What are some of the challenges you've faced while working under tight deadlines?
  • Do you enjoy working alone or as part of a team?
  • What are some of your favorite projects to work on?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses as a person?

Questions about experience and skills:

  • What made you decide to apply for the role?
  • How has your past experience prepared you for this role?
  • This role requires knowledge about X, could you tell me about your experience with it?
  • Could you walk me through some of your previous work relevant to the requirements of this role?
  • What would you say was your best project and what made it successful?
  • What do you think makes you stand out from other candidates?
  • Do you have any questions for me about the role or the company?

Advantages of a structured interview

The most frequent interview style employed by human resources professionals, according to LinkedIn, is the structured interview. While each interviewer has their own unique interviewing style, there are many advantages to using a structured interview.

  • It is efficient: A structured interview process can save time by helping you identify the most qualified candidates.
  • It is objective: Asking all candidates the same questions in the same order allows you to compare them fairly. This creates a fair and equal candidate experience.
  • It allows you to assess fit: A structured interview can help you assess whether the candidate is a good cultural fit for your organization.
  • It allows you to assess skills: By asking job-specific questions, you can get a better sense of the candidate's relevant skills and experience.
  • It supports a diverse workplace: It's essential to have a workforce that reflects the various cultures and perspectives of your customer base.

Disadvantages of structured interviews

While there are many advantages to using a structured interview, there are also some potential disadvantages.

  • It can be less personable: Because you are asking the same questions to each candidate, the interview may feel less personable and more like an interrogation.
  • It can limit creativity: If you only ask closed-ended questions, you may not get to hear about the candidate's unique skills and abilities.
  • It can be time-consuming: If you have a large pool of candidates, it can take a long time to interview everyone using this method.
  • You may miss out on key information: If you don't ask the right questions, you may not learn everything you need to know about the candidate.

While there are both advantages and disadvantages to using a structured interview, it is generally seen as the most efficient and objective way to assess candidates. If you're looking for a personable conversation, however, you may want to consider a different interviewing style.

Types of a structured interview

When conducting a structured interview, there are several different types of questions you can ask. Here are some examples:

  • Behavioral Questions
    Behavioral questions are designed to assess how the candidate has behaved in past situations. These questions usually begin with phrases like, "Tell me about a time when..." or "Describe a situation where...". behavioral questions can be useful in predicting future behavior, but they should not be the only type of question you ask.
  • Situational Questions
    Situational questions are similar to behavioral questions, but they focus on what the candidate would do in a hypothetical situation. These questions begin with phrases like, "What would you do if..." or "How would you handle a situation where...". Situational questions can be helpful in assessing what the candidate knows and how they would react under pressure.
  • Skills-Based Questions
    Skills-based questions assess the candidate's knowledge and ability to perform certain tasks. These questions usually begin with phrases like, "Can you tell me about a time when you..." or "What is your experience with...". Skills-based questions are useful in determining whether the candidate has the necessary skills for the job.
  • Competency-Based Questions
    Competency-based questions assess the candidate's ability to perform certain tasks and meet certain standards. These questions usually begin with phrases like, "What are your thoughts on..." or "How would you approach...". Competency-based questions are useful in assessing the candidate's ability to think critically and solve problems.
  • Closed-Ended Questions
    Closed-ended questions are questions that can be answered with a yes or no, or a specific piece of information. These questions are typically used to gather factual information about the candidate.
  • Open-Ended Questions
    Open-ended questions are questions that cannot be answered with a yes or no, or a specific piece of information. These questions are typically used to elicit more detailed responses from the candidate.
  • Probing Questions
    Probing questions are designed to elicit more information from the candidate. These questions usually begin with phrases like, "Can you tell me more about..." or "What do you mean by...". Probing questions can be helpful in getting the candidate to elaborate on their answers.
  • Follow-up questions
    Follow-up questions are designed to further explore the candidate's answer to a previous question. These questions usually begin with phrases like, "Can you give me an example of..." or "What happened next?". Follow-up questions can be helpful in clarifying the candidate's answers and getting more information.

How to conduct a structured interview

Now that you know what types of questions to ask, it's time to learn how to conduct a structured interview. Here are some tips:

1. Prepare your questions in advance.

2. Greet your applicant verbally and with a handshake

3. Ask each question on your list in order as written

4. Ask all candidates the same questions.

5. Give each candidate an opportunity to answer each question.

6. Listen carefully to the candidate's answers.

7. Take notes on the candidate's answers.

8. Ask follow-up questions as needed.

9. Thank the candidate for their time.

How to analyze a structured interview

When you are looking to hire someone, it is important that you analyze their structured interview in order to ensure that they are the right fit for the job. There are a few steps that you can take in order to do this:

1. Look at the overall structure of the interview. This includes things like the length of time each question is asked for, the number of questions asked, and the order in which they are asked.

2. Look at the content of the questions. This includes things like what topics are covered and how in-depth each question is.

3. Look at the way the interviewee responds to the questions. This includes things like their body language, their tone of voice, and the words they use.

4. Look at the overall impression that the interviewee makes. This includes things like their level of confidence, their level of preparedness, and their general attitude.

5. Take all of this information into consideration and make a decision about whether or not the interviewee is the right fit for the job.

6. When analyzing a structured interview, it is important to look for patterns or themes in the code that the interviewee gives. This can help you to better understand their level of knowledge and experience in the field.

Sign up to Velents and find out how the Interview builder will help you determine the perfect interview to find top talents.

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