A structured interview is defined as a standard interview that has been researched in advance and includes a set of same questions and that too in the same order at every interview. A quantitative research method is followed to ensure that a set standard procedure can be maintained.
It is now easy for the interviewer to aggregate and compare the answers and decide on the result.
Meaning of structured interview
A structured interview is a planned one where the interviewer prepares all the questions in advance, and he follows the predetermined set without any changes. Other names like also know structured interviews-
- Formal interviews
- Planned interviews
- Patterned interviews
- Standardized interviews
Structured interviews can be conducted face-to-face, over the phone, over the internet and using live programming through computer and laptop with the help of video-calling and Skype and video-phone in an app like WhatsApp.
It also can be conducted by a single interviewer on a one-on-one basis or via a panel or group of people.
Structured interviews include job-specific, situational as well as behavioral questions that are designed to assess interviewees on a range of qualities like-
- Critical thinking
- Behavioral characteristics
- Attention to detail
Types of structured interview questions
There are two types of structured interview questions –
1. Open-ended questions
When the interviewer asks an open-ended question, the interviewee can answer it thoughtfully. The answer is not limited to a single syllable; instead, he can elaborate and explain his point.
Suppose an interviewer asks you about your previous experience then you can elaborate and tell him about the companies you have worked in and the job profile you have held.
2. Closed-ended questions
In this type of questions, the interviewer sticks to specific information and asks his questions accordingly. He expects a precise answer; for example, if he asks you whether you have any work experience you will just have to answer him in yes/ There is in scope for elaborate details.
Common questions of a structured interview
Some common questions that are asked during a structured interview are as follows-
- Tell me about yourself?
- Tell me about your greatest achievement?
- What are your academic qualifications?
- Why did you choose this career?
- What are your strengths?
- Tell me about your weakness?
- What do you think will be your biggest challenge in this job?
It is important to clarify the objectives and goals of your interview and then focus on the type of interview you want to conduct, for instance, is it face-to-face or over any device. Now develop your interview schedule and prepare your questionnaire that includes personal as well as job-related questions.
It is vital to stick to the basic schedule during a structured interview. Remember these are standardized and must follow a fixed format in a specific order.
It means that same set of questions in the same manner and the same order is asked to every interviewee. A structured interview increases the consistency and reliability of an interview.
Advantages of a structured interview
Some of the advantages are as follows-
- The process of a structured interview is very easy and can be checked upon quickly
- Structured interviews can be replicated as a fixed set is used for every interviewee.
- It is easy to test for reliability in a structured interview as all the questions are repeated
- It is a quick process and takes a very short period
- It is easy to generalize a large number conveniently because the answers give you a comprehensive view of the whole issue
- Proper training is not required during this type of interview as the questionnaire is already predetermined and the interviewer just has to follow it diligently
- The interviewer has the option to expand the line of questioning by asking open-ended questions. This will felicitate detailed and better response
- It offers an authoritative assessment
- The structured interview gives equal opportunity to every candidate as every one of them faces the same set of questions
- It allows for better objectivity
- The data collected is quantitative
- Positivists conduct this type of interviews
- The characteristics evaluated in a structured interview is explicit
- Structured interviews are legally protected and are defensible in court. It has been proved that only 13% of the structured interviews were considered discriminatory.
Disadvantages of a structured interview
The disadvantages o structure interview is as follows-
- A structured interview is not considered personalized as it is for masses and not a single candidate
- Structured interview lacks flexibility. The interviewer cannot ask any new questions even if he thinks it an important one.
- The answers generally lack detail as mostly closed-ended questions are asked in an interview.
- There is very little rapport between an interviewer and interviewee
- This is an intense process with limited scope
- The internal disconnect results in failure of communication
- Questions are subject to interpretation
- The structured interview seems intimidating, as the questions are complex. They are not meant for personal details but are conducted to gain a general opinion about the interviewees
- Experts are required to go through the answers and come to a definite result
- Assessment is limited as the standard set of questions does not permit in-depth inquiry
- There is a chance of a leak of your questionnaire, and the future candidates can come prepared in the interview
Conducting a structured interview
Follow these simple steps to conduct a structured interview
- Predetermine the soft and hard skills that are needed for the job
- Develop your questionnaire and write down the set of questions in the proper order that you want to ask an interviewee
- Create role-specific questions
- Develop your scale and write it down that you will be using to grade the answers of interviewees
- Train your hiring manager
- Remember to print the questionnaire and carry it with you to the site where you will be conducting your interview
- Distribute the questionnaire if there are other members in your panel
- Decide beforehand how everyone is going to proceed
- Take notes in detail of the answers
- Schedule feedback meetings in advance
- Grade the answers as per the predetermined scale
Why use a structured interview?
Beneficial for an employer because
- It improves the likelihood of finding an employee that will be best for the job. As everyone is answering the same set of questions, it becomes easier to know and zero in the right candidate
- It lifts the burden from the interviewer to find various questions for different candidates
- It removes any bias as every one of the candidates goes through the same process
Beneficial for an interviewee because
- The interview assesses the qualities, knowledge, and skill of all the interviewees similarly for a specific job
- Demonstrates the commitment of a company to be fair during the hiring process
- Do not ask repeated questions and saves the time of a candidate