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How to Conduct Structured Interviews for Consistent and Fair Hiring Decisions

  • By Ankush Jhawar
  • March 28, 2023
  • 4 mins read
How to Conduct Structured Interviews for Consistent and Fair Hiring Decisions
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    Structured interviewing is the usage of the same interviewing methods to assess candidates applying for the same job post. Structured interviews can be an indicator of candidate performance. It involves using the same interview questions, grading the candidate responses on the same scale and making the recruitment decisions based on predetermined qualifications. In structured interviews, you ask the same predetermined questions to all the candidates. Post that, using the interview scorecards, the candidates are rated with a standardised scoring system which reduces the likelihood of a bad hire.

    Take a minute to contemplate your usual interview process. Does it consist of a common set of interview questions? Has your procedure ensured the following of the correct hiring process steps? Also, does it lead to fair hiring practices, or do you let biases seep in leading to discriminatory hiring practices? Without preparation or a predetermined scoring system, your interpretation of the candidate’s answer can often lead to miscommunication and a loss at the chance of fair employment. Moreover, a loose flow of questioning can also lead to litigation risks as questions asked spontaneously without any predetermination will not have been assessed for their legality in advance.

    Structured interviews are usually twice as effective at predicting job performance than unstructured ones. Choosing the best candidate for a position in your company culture is hard, but integral. Through structured interviews, you can significantly improve the validity as well as reliability of your job performance. It also further reduces hiring biases and discriminatory hiring. Thus, the following are the steps to conducting structured interviews and how they ultimately benefit interview training and hiring practices.

    1. Establish key competencies

    The first thing to establish before developing any structured job interview is to establish a clear-cut understanding of what exactly you are looking for in the candidate. What key competencies must they have for filling in the position that you are looking for? Thus, in order to accurately answer this question, we turn to job descriptions. Ensure that you have a list of the integral skills, abilities, behaviours and talents needed for the person to successfully manage the tasks required. This will lead you to end up with a list of necessary attributes and qualities that would make the candidate successful in the particular job role that you are looking to fill. These are the competencies necessary to evaluate in the structured interview process.

    2.Develop interesting questions

    Structured interview questions are very necessary, and must be developed with the help of the hiring team. It is important to segregate the questions that you will be asking and categorise them on the basis of the requirements that you seek to evaluate. Probing questions aims to seek more information about the candidates answers, and therefore must be predetermined to avoid discriminatory hiring practices. This will lead to fair employment and equitable hiring practices.

    The US Department of Personnel Management uses the STAR method to ask questions. (Situation, Task, Action, Result)

    Competency: Interpersonal Skills — Shows understanding, friendliness, courtesy, tact, empathy, concern, and politeness to others; develops and maintains effective relationships

    Initial Question: A very angry client walks up to your desk. She says she was told your office had sent her an overdue check 5 days ago. She claims she has not received the check. She says she has bills to pay and no one will help her. How would you handle this situation?

    Probing questions: Why do you believe this situation occurred and what are you supposed to do? (Situation and Task), What factors would affect your course of action? (Action), How do you think your action would be received? (Result).

    Read also: How to measure interview quality?

    3.Determine an interview scorecard and grading scale

    It is important for the establishment of a scoring system in structured interviews to ensure the making of objective decisions. The key takeaway is to accurately define the scoring levels. The presence of a scoring system is very important to ensure objective decisions for candidate rating. You can choose the common scale of five or seven points ranging from low to high. The key here is to accurately define the scoring levels. The grading scale can range from low, average to high based on the question asked for the purpose of candidate rating. Moreover, it is also helpful to test the reliability and the validity of the grading scale and interview scorecard with the interview questions by utilising the help of subject matter experts.

    4.Provide interview training to evaluate candidates

    It is imperative to ensure that the interviewers are trained on how to conduct well-structured interviews, how to rate the candidates, how to avoid bias etc. Interview training must also cover the organisations hiring policies, especially those related to legal requirements. Moreover, this interview training will help in the objective evaluation of the candidate to ensure fair employment and avoid discriminatory hiring practices. Thus, interviewers should focus on evaluating candidates objectively based on their qualifications and merit. Interviewers should also avoid making judgements based on personal biases or stereotypes to avoid discriminatory hiring practices. This will help in conducting structured interviews.

    5.Documentation of interview feedback

    Interviewers should document their feedback for every candidate, including the candidate rating and any comments/observations made. This particular documentation will help in fair employment for supporting hiring decisions and to basically defend against any legal issues.

    Thus, conducting structured interviews is crucial for consistent and fair hiring decisions. Conducting structured interviews required meticulous planning, preparation and training. By following the  above steps, you can ensure that your hiring decisions are consistent and fair based on objective data. BarRaiser is committed to ensuring that your interviews and hiring decisions are fair and effective for the candidates.

    Read also: How BarRaiser improves your interview quality

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