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What is Structured Hiring and Recruiting?


Hiring the right people is essential to the success of your business, but many businesses report that they struggle with finding the right candidates. Businesses often hire people only to learn later that they weren’t a very good fit at all. Structured hiring is a process that can help you approach hiring from a different position to be sure that the people you offer positions are the most likely candidates to succeed at your business.

There are a lot of businesses that report being dissatisfied with new hires once they’ve been onboarded and their skills and experience are put to the test. Workers can be equally frustrated when the scope of the job they’ve applied for doesn’t match the initial job listing. If you’re experiencing high turnover and finding it difficult to keep employees who perform well in key positions, evaluate your recruiting process. A structured recruiting process can help when you’ve found a revolving door at your workplace, guiding you towards candidates who are both compatible and qualified.

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What is structured hiring/recruiting?

One pitfall many recruiters face is their own judgment. A candidate might be likable and communicate well during an interview but lack the experience or skills to perform the desired job functions for his or her position. Structured hiring requires all candidates to undergo a thorough vetting process that takes into account past work experience, performance, education and other key metrics that are used to predict their job performance at your company.

Rather than leaving it up to a manager to make a decision based on how they feel about a candidate, this process requires that all hiring decisions be based on a data-driven approach. Your company’s goals and needs define the perfect candidate. The hiring process is calculated to eliminate applicants who are incompatible with those goals.

When there isn’t a structured hiring process in place to vet candidates, your applicants with the most potential can actually be turned away. This reduces your pool of potential hires to the ones you don’t want. You can fix this by making sure that you’re communicating properly with job seekers about things such as the job role and requirements, how the hiring process works and your business culture.

Pros and cons of structured hiring/recruiting

Personal bias is one of the greatest diminishing factors companies face when hiring new employees. The person in charge of making hiring decisions may simply like one candidate over another due to positive personal interactions. This can cloud your manager’s judgment and deliver disappointing results. When you have a structured hiring process, all of your applicants need to go through the same process, answer the same questions and be evaluated by the same standards. Here are the benefits and drawbacks of structured recruiting.


  • Less bias in hiring decisions: You’re following a clear process prior to narrowing your pool of candidates, and this takes bias out of the equation for the most part.
  • A quicker approach: When you use a structured recruiting process, it’s possible to review applicants much faster. This means you can review more applicants before coming to a decision. Having the ability to process applications quickly leads to less frustration among your pool of candidates and helps you get to the right people for the job within a reasonable timeframe.
  • Easier to compare responses: Because all of your applicants need to answer the same questions, it’s much easier to analyze everyone’s responses and filter out the candidates who don’t align with the job requirements or your business ideals.
  • Legal defense: If you’re ever accused of discriminatory hiring practices, being able to refer to a structured recruiting process can show that your managers weren’t biased in favor or against any particular candidate.


  • Human judgment is removed from decisions: Your recruiters or managers may feel more restricted and less autonomous when reviewing potential hires.
  • Some information is left behind: By restricting the interview process to predetermined questions, you might not learn as much about your candidates. In some cases, this means that you won’t know a candidate as well as you’d like.
  • Misinterpretation of questions and answers: Some of your candidates may have a different interpretation than you do when you bring up certain concepts or questions. The result could be that their responses reflect their own interpretations and understanding of what you’re asking.

Steps to the Structured Recruiting Process

Before you can hire the right candidate for a position, you need to set clear expectations for the role. The very first step to this type of hiring process is to focus on the skills you’re looking for in addition to the personality traits your ideal candidate will possess. Most businesses want candidates who have written and verbal communication skills, are self-driven, are able to learn new things, are dependable and have ethics that align with the company culture.

Just because a candidate has the personality traits you’re seeking doesn’t mean they can meet the expectations for your job listing. You need to define what skills and education are required for the position and evaluate why each requirement is necessary. It’s possible to eliminate potential matches by requiring that your candidates meet too many specifications, so consider which skills and traits are must-haves and what attributes are deal-breakers.

Once you’ve created a clear scope of what the position entails, you can create your job posting. Make sure you make these expectations known in your post so you attract applicants who feel they can meet your demands. Follow these steps once you’ve begun to review applications.

Perform a skill assessment

One of the most effective ways to tell if a candidate has the skills needed to perform the functions required of them is to give your candidates a skills test. Having candidates travel to your business to complete these assessments can waste their time and yours if they’re not a suitable match, so many businesses have started creating online tests for their candidates to take. One of the most significant drawbacks to this is the possibility that a candidate will cheat on an online skill assessment.

There are remote tools available that can assist you in detecting cheating during a test. This step can eliminate many of the candidates from your pool who wouldn’t perform well by requiring them to put their skills to use during the test.

Develop a set of effective interview questions

The most effective interview questions are the most direct. Don’t leave anything up to interpretation when you’re asking a candidate a question. You should create a set of questions that you intend to stick to for each interviewee to better compare answers later on. These questions should cover each applicant’s knowledge of the job, your industry in general and the specific requirements of the positions.

You can also ask questions that reveal information about your applicants’ ethics, behavior and how they’d respond under different circumstances. Once you’ve conducted your interviews, it’s time to create a shortlist of potential hires.

Grade your recruits on a set grading system

Successful businesses create a grading scale to assess candidates that allows them to determine how well they’re likely to perform. A grading scale is key to eliminating bias because recruiters have specific metrics to grade potential hires against. Make sure that when you create the grading system that you have clear definitions for what traits and skills add to or detract from a person’s score.

You may want to create separate scores for each of the skills you’re evaluating. Every candidate has unique strengths, experience and weaknesses, so grading your recruits on each of the metrics that are important to you lets you see which candidates have the most consistent scores across multiple skills and traits.

Perform your last evaluation of your shortlist

Once you’ve graded all of your candidates, you’re now ready to narrow the list to the candidates you wish to offer the job. At this point, you’ll know which applicants have the skills, personality and personal ethics that align best with your position and company culture. From there, you can reach out to the candidates who scored highest and offer them the position.

Structured recruiting isn’t without drawbacks, but it’s an effective approach for businesses that are struggling to fill positions with people who can meet expectations and perform well. It removes a lot of the guesswork and bias that can lead to recruiters and managers hiring people who end up leaving or being fired due to job dissatisfaction and poor work performance. If you’re experiencing a revolving door with your new hires, you may want to try a more structured and defined hiring strategy to find the candidates who suit the roles you’re looking to fill and who are likely to remain on your team for a long time to come.

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