How do you run your job interviews – unstructured or structured?

How do you run your job interviews – unstructured or structured?

This is a four-part series that discusses structured interviews. The upcoming articles in the series are “Pitfalls of unstructured interviews,” “Benefits of structured interviews,” and “How can help you run a structured Interview.”

Interviews without a specific format are referred to as unstructured interviews. Unstructured interviews are unplanned. They tends to be free flowing with the interviewer asking questions spontaneously based on the candidate’s responses and proceed like a friendly conversation.  As a result they vary across candidates and are inconsistent in the way the candidates are evaluated.

At the other end, structured interviews are based on thorough analysis of the job requirements and in-depth understanding of knowledge, skills and abilities (KSA’s) required to perform the job. On the basis of the analysis, interview questions and scorecards are crafted. The candidates are asked the same questions and their responses are assessed in a standardized manner against job-specific criteria using a predetermined scorecard.

Structuring the interview selection process reduces the magnitude of interviewers’ biases, enhancing the reliability and validity of the interview decisions. Overall, structured interviews help in establishing a clear link between performance as a candidate at the job interview and performance as an employee on the job.

The table below compares the two approaches. Use the table below to determine if your interviews are unstructured or structured.

Unstructured Interviews

  • Little or no planning of the interview session.
  • The evaluation criteria used by interviewers vary across applicants.
  • The interview questions are not pre-planned. They are spontaneous and free flowing.
  • Interview sessions are not consistent across applicants of the same job.
  • Little or no control over the type or amount of information collected across applicants.
  • Irrelevant information influences the direction of the interview.
  • There is no emphasis on note-taking or maintaining interview records.
  • No standardized metric is used in rating the applicant.
  • The interviewer’s personal biases influence the evaluation of the candidate.
  • No formal training is provided to the interview team.

Structured Interviews

  • There is careful planning of interview objectives and evaluation criteria.
  • The factors evaluated by the interviewers are based on a thorough job analysis and are consistent across candidates.
  • Interview questions are pre-determined and linked to job criteria (Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities).
  • The applicants of a particular job are asked the same questions.
  • Questions are planned and controlled. Same sets of questions are asked across applicants.
  • Irrelevant information is disregarded.
  • Detailed notes are taken during the interview session that is shared, analyzed, and stored.
  • Applicants are rated and scored based on a standardized metric created for the job.
  • The interviewer’s personal biases have less influence than the ratings across different job related parameters.
  • The talent acquisition team is provided with the interview template and rating metric before conducting the interviews.

Research shows that structuring the interview process reduces the influence of interviewer’s personal biases in the selection process. It also increases the reliability and validity of the interviewer’s judgement. In other words, structured interview results improve the quality of hire in the organization. platform provides all the elements for conducting a structured interview.  Plan your interviews ahead by choosing a series of question from question bank and crafting the scorecard attributes. Run an efficient interview using’s Interview Room – it features video, code editor, and scorecards all in one place. Record and track the interviews for a data driven decision making.