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Mastering Structured Interviews Process: A Quick Guide

  • By Ankush Jhawar
  • December 19, 2022
  • 7 mins read
Mastering Structured Interviews Process_ A Quick Guide
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    An unstructured interview doesn’t necessarily mean the hiring manager didn’t prepare for it beforehand. However, not having a structured interview process lets personnel invite extraordinary inquiries to every candidate. That could be a possibility for personnel to choose applicants primarily based totally on who they get alongside nicely with, instead of whether or not the candidate is certified for the role. An interview gives candidates a chance to showcase their abilities. It helps limit biases or personal preferences that might otherwise influence a hiring manager’s decision to move forward with a candidate. A structured interview is a process set up by HR where all candidates are asked the same predetermined questions in the same order. The group will then rate each candidate using a standardized scoring system. Structured interviews are more reliable, valid, and legally defensible compared to unstructured interviews. They also make it easier to give feedback to candidates after the interview.

    Also Read: What are differences between a structured interview and an unstructured interview?

    If you want to implement a structured or semi-structured interview at your company, keep reading. You may know that 67% of companies use structured interviewing during the candidate selection process. If you’re among the remaining 33% of companies, don’t worry. BarRaiser has prepared a guide on how to run a structured interview with all the necessary questions to create an effective interview process.

    What is a structured interview?

    A structured interview process is a systematic way of evaluating candidates through a standardized. There are three types of interviews: structured, semi-structured, and unstructured. Before conducting a structured interview, you need to come up with questions that focus on the skills and qualities you’re looking for in your next hire. For example, a retail store hiring a cashier might ask questions about customer service experience and communication skills.
    During a structured interview, you ask all candidates the same pre-determined questions in the same order. Then, you evaluate the candidates on a standardized numeric scale. Using a standardized interview process helps you accurately and efficiently assess candidates.

    What are the advantages of structured interviews?

    One of the biggest structured interview process benefits is that they create less pressure on the interviewer. Hiring managers have enough to think about and plan for, and having a set of predetermined open-ended questions can take some unnecessary prep work off their plate. Structured interviews also provide quantitative data, making it easier to make a hiring decision based on facts, experience, or skills rather than a general “feeling” about the candidate’s personality. When you’re dealing with multiple or even dozens of candidates, structured interviews provide consistent data and results that can be easily scored or compared.

    Another notable structured interview advantage is that it gives all candidates the same interview experience. It doesn’t depend on the interviewer’s personal preferences, reducing the likelihood of bias. Structured interviews are also more likely to follow equal opportunity guidelines and discourage discrimination in employment practices. For those looking to minimize legal complexity, the benefits of structured interviews can’t be ignored. Plus, structured interviews are scalable, and interviewers can quickly adapt to them, which is helpful when you need to hire fast and want to prevent bad hires.

    Also Read: Best Software to conduct structured interviews

    How should a structured interview be designed and conducted?

    There are several things to consider when creating an effective structured interview. You can use BarRaiser free structure tool to implement some of these. First, you should create a standardized rubric for a particular role and stick to it in all candidate interviews for that role. A simple structured interview process template should include:

    • The name and a brief description (day-to-day activities) of the role
    • Attributes like if the role is an individual contributor or a people manager, a member of a large team or a small team, and if they’ll be working on an existing product or innovations. (All of these factors will help you understand what soft and hard skills the role requires.)
    • An introduction from the interviewer about themselves, the company, and the team before starting to ask structured interview questions.
    • An introduction of the candidate for them to talk about their past and highlight relevant parts of their resume

    [PRO TIP! Listen carefully to their experience, it’ll help a lot in formulating the next set of questions.]

    • Skills that need to be evaluated (the WHATs) and how they should be evaluated (the HOWs). For example, for an inside sales rep:
      • WHAT: Conflict handling
      • HOW: Ask a situational question about their experience (remember the pro tip!) and dive deeper. Observe
        • how the candidate handled a difficult situation and
        • their ability to reflect and identify areas for improvement.

    It’s a good idea to meet with other interviewers to make sure they’re on the same page and using the same scale for each question. You should also make sure you have a clear understanding of the job requirements and what you’re looking for in a candidate before you start the interview process. Finally, make sure you provide feedback to candidates after the interview, regardless of whether they were selected for the role or not. Access BarRaiser’s interview planning tool allowing hiring managers to create structured interview process, and templates and generate relevant questions using AI.

    Structured Interviews Question Examples

    Structured interviews are a more standardized way of interviewing candidates, and they typically include behavioral, situational, and hands-on questions. It’s helpful to have a set order for the questions and stick to it as much as possible so that interviewers can be better trained in conducting effective interviews. Implementing structured interview training can further enhance the interviewer’s skills in asking the right questions, assessing candidate responses, and making informed hiring decisions. Here are some examples of different types of structured interview process questions:

    Confirmation questions

    These are simple yes or no questions that you might ask at the beginning of an interview, especially when meeting a candidate for the first time. Examples:
    “Have you ever used the Adobe Creative Suite?”
    “Have you ever led a team member that was spread out?”

    Behavioral questions

    These questions help give insight into a candidate’s past job performance. Examples:
    “Can you give me an example of how you prioritized certain projects over others and how you managed them?”
    “What was the most difficult decision you’ve had to make, and how did it affect your team?”

    Contextual questions

    These questions are designed to dig deeper into a candidate’s problem-solving and analytical skills. Examples:
    “How do you handle a project with a scope of work that requires multiple contributors from different teams?”
    “How do you support a difficult or frustrated customer?”

    Create scorecards based on the rating system

    When crafting interview questions, it’s important to consider the core competencies you’re looking for in a good hire and how they align with the role the candidate is being interviewed for. You might also want to create scorecards with a rating system and a key to help understand why a candidate’s answer is rated a certain way. For example:
    8-10: Uses checklists and planning tools to understand what needs to be done.
    4-7: Needs guidance, but works with some planning tools if appropriate.
    1-3: Doesn’t write down the tasks they need to complete for the day or use available tracking systems.
    It’s important to complete the evaluation process for all candidates, even if you think they’re not performing as well as other candidates. The final scores are important for comparison.

    Advantages of Structured Interviewing

    Structured interviews offer several benefits to recruiters and their organizations in their hiring process.

    Good candidate experience

    Structured interviews ensure that all candidates are asked the same questions and evaluated based on the same criteria, which helps create a fair and unbiased interview experience. This can make a good first impression on candidates and show them that your organization values fairness in the workplace. A positive candidate experience can also influence their decision to accept a job offer, especially if they have other offers from other companies.

    Also Read: How interviewer training improves the candidate experience?

    Diverse and inclusive teams

    Structured interviews can help eliminate biases and ensure that candidates are hired based on their skills and abilities for the job, not on what the interviewer thinks of them. This can help build a diverse and inclusive team, which can drive innovation, better decision-making, and increased profitability. It can also lead to happier and more productive employees.

    Also Read: How BarRaiser can help improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in technical hiring.

    Objective comparison among candidates

    When you have multiple candidates applying for a position, it can be tough to identify the best fit. Structured interviews make it easier to compare candidates because everyone is asked the same questions, and their answers are rated using the same scale. This can help you select the best candidate for the role.

    Faster hiring process

    In today’s competitive job market, it’s important to be efficient in the hiring process. A structured interview process can help speed things up because you can ask predefined questions to each candidate and rate their answers right after the interview. This can save time compared to coming up with questions on the spot and trying to remember and compare candidates’ responses later. Developing the questions and rating scale can take time upfront, but it can save time in the long run, especially if you’re interviewing multiple candidates.

    Reduce bias in hiring

    Structured interviews can help break down biases and prejudices that might influence an interviewer’s decision. To minimize personal biases, interviewers might utilize a consistent scoring system to focus on the replies offered by applicants. Reducing hiring bias is important for any organization, as it can lead to discrimination and legal issues, and it may also cause valuable candidates to be rejected. Structured interview process are the norm for data-driven professional HR teams. Remember that candidates are human. Use a warm tone and active listening in conjunction with these standardized questions. This way, you can create a welcoming experience for every candidate, even if it’s her 100th question.

    Also Read: Practical ways to reduce bias in your interview process

    Example of a structured interview

    •  Position: Software Developer

    Question: “Tell me about a challenging project you worked on and how you overcame obstacles during the development process.”

    Evaluation Criteria:

    1. Problem-solving skills: Assessing the candidate’s ability to identify and address challenges.
    2. Technical knowledge: Evaluating the candidate’s understanding of relevant technologies and programming languages.
    3. Communication skills: Observing how effectively the candidate explains complex concepts and collaborates with team members.
    4. Adaptability: Assessing the candidate’s flexibility and ability to adjust to changing project requirements.
    5. Attention to detail: Evaluating the candidate’s meticulousness and commitment to delivering high-quality work.

    Scoring Scale:

    1. Poor: The candidate demonstrates a lack of problem-solving skills and struggles to articulate their experiences.
    2. Fair: The candidate shows some understanding of the project challenges but lacks depth in their explanation.
    3. Good: The candidate effectively communicates their experiences and demonstrates solid problem-solving skills.
    4. Excellent: The candidate provides a comprehensive and insightful account of their project experience, showcasing exceptional problem-solving abilities and technical expertise.


    In conclusion, conducting a structured interview process can help ensure fairness and consistency in your hiring decisions. You may make more objective recruiting judgments by designing a set of standardized questions and scoring criteria. Also, remember to provide clear instructions to interviewers and train them on the process to ensure it is followed consistently. Overall, a well-planned and executed structured interview process can lead to better hires and a stronger team.

    Also Read: How to conduct structured interviews for consistent and fair hiring decisions

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