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How to Conduct a Structured Interview


If your business is growing, and it’s time to bring on a new employee, using structured interviews can help you make the right hiring decision.

Here are some helpful tips to help you conduct a structured interview, as well as multiple sample structured interview questions.

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What is a structured interview?

A structured interview is an effective method for assessing candidates across a standardized baseline.

Before conducting a structured interview, you should develop questions that focus on the skillset and experience you’re seeking in your next hire. For example, a retail store hiring a cashier would ask questions about customer service experience and communication skills.

During each interview, you’ll ask candidates the same structured interview questions in the very same order. From there, you may compare the candidates on the same numeric scale. Creating a standardized interview process will help you assess candidates more efficiently and effectively.

Why should you conduct structured interviews?

When interview questions are standardized, it’s easier for employers to make more effective hiring decisions. Structured interviews are also helpful in eliminating bias, helping hiring managers remain objective and ensuring your organization’s hiring practices comply with legal regulations.

Additionally, using this interview format provides clarity and streamlines the candidate comparison process. Instead of varying interview styles misguiding you to inaccurate comparisons, structured interviews provide you with the information necessary for thorough analysis. This way, you can award the job to the candidate with the highest score.

How should a structured interview be created and executed?

When creating an efficiently structured interview, there are a few things to keep in mind.

First, you’ll need to develop a standardized rubric and adhere to it for every candidate interview. A simple structured interview template should contain a few core elements:

  • The candidate’s name
  • The interviewer’s name
  • The date of the interview
  • An employer introduction (This should take place before you begin asking the structured interview questions.)
  • A candidate introduction (This allows the candidate to discuss their background and explain relevant sections of their resume before you begin asking questions.)
  • List of structured interview questions

Additionally, you’ll need to create a scale for each question. Many employers use a scale of 1-5 or 1-10, with the low end of the scale indicating a low-quality response and a high rating indicating a high-quality response.

Before beginning the hiring process, you should meet with any other interviewers to ensure you’re on the same page.

What are a few samples of structured interview questions?

To make sure your structured interview is successful, you need to include a standardized list of questions that will help you evaluate behavioral characteristics, critical thinking skills, attention to detail, integrity and the ability to work as part of a team.

  • What three adjectives describe you best?
  • Why are you interested in this job?
  • How do you stay organized in the workplace?
  • Would you rather create a plan or execute it?
  • What did you read about our company online, and how did that influence your decision to apply?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to make a decision while under pressure. How did you handle the situation, and what was the outcome?
  • How do you handle workplace conflict? Please provide an example.
  • Tell me about a time when you struggled to meet a deadline. How did you handle the situation?
  • What is your definition of success? How are you living up to that goal as of now, and how do you plan to continue your pursuit of it?
  • Why did you choose this career?
  • What is one thing you want to learn to do better?
  • What strength do you believe best qualifies you for this position?Please explain.
  • What tools do you use for self-improvement?
  • What is the biggest mistake you’ve made, and how did you handle it? What did you learn from the experience?
  • If you had the authority to change one thing about your last work environment, what would it be?

When deciding between structured and unstructured interview formats, it’s important to consider the administrative, legal and time-saving benefits of using structured interview questions.

Keep in mind that structured interviews can still be conversational, and you should feel free to include follow up questions that prompt candidates to elaborate on their answers. However, it’s critical you adhere to your standardized format to ensure interviews remain consistent. By following a structured interview process, you can quickly evaluate candidates and choose the best new hire for your team.

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