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Why Structured Is Better When It Comes To Interviews

Sonia Varkey
Published January 4, 2016

structured interviews


Interviews are a necessary part of the hiring process, but can be frustrating with trying to coordinate schedules, finding time to review a resume thoroughly and trying to determine within an hour long discussion how will they actually perform once in the role. What if you have a team of people interviewing a candidate who all have different reasons they want to hire or pass on someone? It’s even more difficult as your team grows and you have different hiring managers involved in the hiring process, to know if everyone is evaluating the candidate on what it is that you want in the next employee. Interviewing itself is an art for hiring managers: with time they have experience and judgement that leads to the selection of the right candidate. But really it’s subjective – like interpretation of art, some people try to interpret who the candidate is.


During the interview, more often than not, different questions are asked of each candidate and very few notes are taken. What’s more, when it comes to interviews, bias is everywhere and we often don’t notice that it slipped in. One way to reduce bias is to move away from these unstructured interviews. Because unstructured interviews are the easiest to implement when you’re busy, they do not provide the best results in selecting the candidate that is right for the job/. This is because the questions are not consistent across candidates and can change given how the conversation flows with different people, making it harder to draw comparisons. There is, however an objective way to interview by using structured interviews. Structured interviews take more time to prepare for but have years of research behind them to support their results.


Here’s why behavioral structured interviews will help identify the right candidate:


  1. They provide more objectivity: each candidate is asked the same questions based on what is required for the role. This provides candidates with the equal opportunity to showcase their abilities. If there are several managers involved in the interview process, then each manager’s detailed notes help to reach agreement in who to select.
  2. Predictive: research shows that structured interviews are up to twice as effective at predicting job performance as unstructured ones. The questions chosen more accurately reflect behaviors needed on the job and the candidate’s responses indicate how they will perform once in the role.
  3. Legal compliance: 100% of legal challenges against structured interviews survived. The courts look at the consistency of the interview across applicants, the job relatedness of the questions and the extent that the interview was designed to be objective.


When trying to identify the right candidate for the role, structured interviews allow for a level playing field and help reduce bias. The conversation can take off on it’s own, but the key questions that need to be answered regarding what is critical to the role are accounted for. The detailed notes taken by the hiring managers can be referred back to and there’s more objective data to base a decision on. If you used a psychometric test in your hiring process, then you’ll see the behaviors expected are validated through the candidate’s responses.


Contact Plum to obtain Structured Behavioral Interview Guides to use for your next hires and watch how much easier it is to really know who someone is and how they will behave once in the role. Plum will help save you time by providing guides with questions directly related to the attitudes and behaviors required in the role you’re looking to fill.


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