A Guide to Structured Interview Questions

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A Guide to Structured Interview Questions

A Guide to Structured Interview Questions

Being in the Talent Acquisition space for what may seem to be eons, I have realised the importance of structured interview questions. Yeah sure, having a free flow conversation with the candidate might be more fun and create a casual atmosphere, but it also means that there is an increasing likelihood of succumbing to confirmation bias. This would lead to the recruiter measuring who they get along well with, as opposed to whether the candidate is actually qualified for the role. That’s why creating a structured interview questionnaire is the key to interviewing candidates consistently while minimising biases or personality preferences from the hiring process.

What Is a Structured Interview?

A structured interview is carefully designed to best assess a candidate against the criteria for a specific job. Following a structured interview format means that the hiring team has defined a clear purpose for each interview, outlined specific questions for interviewers to ask in each portion and provided a framework to enable interviewers to assess different answers. This means that the hiring team can now take a data-driven approach to hiring decisions instead of just relying on their instincts and feelings.

A structured interview is a process established by HR in which all candidates applying for a particular role are asked the same set of questions in the same order. The team will then rate each candidate using a standardized scoring system.

Structured Interview Framework

Why Use Structured Interviews?

By focusing on the skills and qualities a candidate will need to be successful in a role through a structured interview, the hiring team is taking a more objective approach to the hiring process, which benefits both candidates and your company.

Structured interviews are beneficial to employers because they:

  • are more objective and help reduce bias in the interview process
  • reduce the time spent on the interview process
  • take the burden off interviewers to come up with good questions on the spot
  • improve the likelihood of finding a candidate who’s a great fit for the role
  • They’re more legally complian

Why Companies Are Not Using Structured Interviews

The first step to writing solid structured interview questions is defining the skills and qualities a candidate will need to be successful in the role. Once the hiring team has zeroed in on the requirements for the role, you can plan which questions will best elicit this information from candidates.

Generally, you can break questions into categories and types basis the job profile. The table below is an example of the categories and the type of questions that can be created for a structured interview process.

Question Type Role Specific General
  Job Knowledge Soft Skills Company Knowledge Soft Skills /Culture Fit
Generic How would you rate your knowledge of Excel? What is your leadership style? Who all are our competitors? Tell us about a time when you helped one of your direct reports grow professionally?
Behavioral Tell me about the time you implemented GDPR regulations in your organization? Tell me about the time you had to deal with a difficult customer? A prospect you’ve been pursuing goes dark and then eventually tells you they chose a competitor. What do you do? Tell me about a time when you were asked to do something you had never done before. How did you react? What did you learn?
Situational While factors would you consider when you are evaluating a new product launch campaign? Tell me about a time when you had to juggle several projects at the same time. How did you organize your time? What was the result? If our competitor comes out with a new product, how would you plan to tackle this situation? Tell me about the last time something significant didn’t go according to plan at work. What was your role? What was the outcome?

Having a structured interview process necessarily doesn’t mean that the interaction with the candidates need to be boring and formal. You can still have a fun / casual interview, but just need to make sure that the questions that you have created are covered during the conversation. You now have all the essential ingredients for preparing a perfect structured interview. Ready to give it a go?

Incase you need help with setting up a structured interview process in your organization or have any questions regarding the sam, drop me a mail at [email protected]

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