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How to Conduct a Structured Interview

July 30, 2012

Hiring decisions are important. Using a structured interview can help.

Why is using a structured interview important when hiring? You invest a lot in an individual when you make the decision to hire them, and you need to make sure you’re making the right choice. From application to hire, there is a lot to consider when choosing your next employee.

structured interview can be substantially more effective than unstructured interviews when it comes to hiring an individual who is a good fit for your company. By using a structured interview, you’ll be asking questions that are tied to the job requirements, and you’ll be posing the same questions to all candidates. This will help you avoid making misguided and sometimes biased decisions.

The Structured Interview Process

Here are a few things you need to do to enhance the effectiveness of a structured interview.

  1. Make the candidate comfortable. Interviewing can be very stressful and can sometimes alter their performance. Don’t dive right into the interview questions. Start with small talk and naturally progress from there.
  2. Give the applicant an agenda for your structured interview. This will help keep the flow of the meeting moving and keep the candidate from being surprised by anything.
    1. Start with a brief description of the job before you move into the questions.
    2. Take notes! These will be very important to refer back to when considering candidates after the interview. Reserve any judgment or decisions until after the interview is over and you have time to review the notes.
  3. Ask open-ended questions and provide ample time to answer. The candidate should be doing most of the talking in the interview. Don’t try and direct their answers or ask them questions that will only require short answers. Ask them about specific work contributions and outcomes. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Try to focus on the candidate’s actual role in the project, not what the project team accomplished.
  4. Allow time at the end for the candidate to ask questions. 10-15 minutes should be plenty.
  5. Before the applicant leaves, let them know your next steps and be sure to follow through with those actions.

Selecting your employees is not a process that should be taken lightly. Asking the right questions and standardizing your structured interview process will help you make decisions that will be beneficial to you and your company.

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