While interviews are an enormously popular selection practice, I am becoming increasingly aware that they are rarely used in a structured or standardized manner in organizations. Van der Zee et al. (2001), for example, suggested that structured interviews are underutilized for a few reasons:
- Because they hinder interviewers’ need for autonomy and power,
- Because they may not be aligned with organizational culture and norms,
- Because they require time and money to implement, and
- Because practitioners might not be aware of their practical usefulness.
I want to use this blog to convey the criticality of structured interviews as a selection tool.
First, a brief description of what is a structured interview: Compared to unstructured interviews, structured interviews use:
- Questions that are more sophisticated (i.e., the questions are based on job analysis),
- Consistent procedures (i.e., the same questions are asked to everyone, follow-up questions are limited), and
- Consistent evaluation procedures (i.e., the same interviewer or group of interviewers are used across candidates, interviewers are trained in administering and scoring structured interviews, and they utilize anchored rating scales).
Practitioners need to know that with more standardized processes like structured interviews, they are less likely to be challenged in court, and they exhibit less adverse impact. One of the reasons structured interviews are so successful in improving the quality of your hires is because they combat a host of interviewer biases. Some of these unconscious biases include:
- Similarity or similar-to-me bias (interviewers are likely to rate candidates more highly when they perceive them as similar to themselves),
- Pre-interview bias (interviewers, after reading a candidate’s resume or recommendations, develop preconceived ideas about the candidate and use this preconception to filter information during the interview), and
- Contrast bias (interviewers will judge interviewees based on their perception of previous candidates).
To combat biases in the interview process, evade legal troubles, and ultimately improve the quality of your employees, Harver suggests that you integrate more rigor into your selection interviews.
To learn more about standardizing your hiring processes, consider Harver’s Hiring Process Optimization. This comprehensive solution spans the TA lifecycle, including pre-hire assessments validated by our People Science team, video interviews that are inherently structured, and automated reference checking.