HR Defined: What Is A Structured Interview?

What is a structured interview? 

A structured interview is when the interviewer asks candidates the same set of questions in the same order and evaluates each applicant against the same criteria. By structuring the interview process this consistent way, all candidates have a standardized experience that enables a fairer evaluation of their fit for the role at hand. As such, structured interviews are a key piece of fairer hiring that supports diversity initiatives. 

How do structured interviews help employers? 

Structured interviews can take a bit more upfront work to ensure all interviewers are aligned on the competencies related to the role. However, this prep work pays dividends by helping to improve quality of hire overall by improving the consistency and objectivity of how individual candidates are evaluated and scored.  

Without this standardization, you risk making hiring decisions based on inconsistent and subjective criteria that can result in costly poor hires. Keep in mind that structured interviews are 2x as predictive as unstructured interviews. 

By implementing structured interviews as part of your hiring process, your organization gains benefits that include: 

  • Hiring fairer by standardizing process to mitigate unconscious bias  
  • Expanding candidate pools by not allowing bias to artificially shrink them 
  • Comparing candidate responses more easily by asking the same questions  
  • Maximizing relevant insight into candidates by focusing on job-related topics and skills 
  • Leveling the playing field for all candidates by standardizing interviews and evaluations  

Fairer hiring starts with mitigating bias
Steer clear of these 15 unconscious biases that commonly trip up recruiters and hiring managers.

What are best practices for structured interviews?  

Determine the role-specific competencies 
Start by identifying the critical hard and soft skills needed for day-one success in the role. Everything else, like the standardized list of questions candidates will answer, flows from this. 

Create a set of questions to ask each candidate 
Draft a list of behavioral and/or job-specific questions to assess fit based on the competencies identified above. Not sure where to start? Harver customers have access to sets of role-specific interview questions.  

Structure all interviews the same way 
Provide all candidates for the role with the same structure to their experience. This consistency requires asking the same set of questions in the same order. 

Establish and follow a consistent rating system 
Gathering information on candidates the same way is only half of the goal. The other half? Evaluating all candidates based on the same criteria and the same rating system.  

Use tech to help add and preserve structure 
Tech-driven solutions, like Harver’s 1-way video interviewing, can enable asking all candidates the same set of questions in the same way. Tech can also streamline recruiter effort with automated scheduling. 

Taking the next step to fairer hiring 

Learn more by reading 9 tips for fair hiring practices, from standardizing interviews to training to interviewers on how to mitigate bias. 

You can also connect with one of Harver’s experts to ask any questions about structured interviews, tech solutions for fair hiring, and more: schedule a chat

Keith Leong

Keith Leong

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