Benefits of a Structured Interview

Benefits of a Structured Interview

Has anyone in the history of hiring ever employed anyone without conducting some type of interview? Seriously doubt it! Interview is an important process when you decide whether to allow the “outsider” into the “family” or not. There have been volumes written about how the first five minutes of an interview decide whether you get the job or not. Instead of collecting objective data, the hiring decisions are influenced by gut feelings of the interviewer.

…“the first five minutes” of an interview are what really matter, describing how interviewers make initial assessments and spend the rest of the interview working to confirm those assessments. So, if they like you, they look for reasons to like you more. If they don’t like your handshake or the awkward introduction, then the interview is essentially over because they spend the rest of the meeting looking for reasons to reject you. –  Lazlo Bock, Google’s Senior Vice President of People Operations

Let’s understand the goal of interview process. It is to achieve a good fit between the people and the jobs.  The interview process determines how the candidate will perform once they join the team.  So it is important that the selection process is based on a scientific approach and not on gut feelings. Scientific approach involves administering a structured interview where the knowledge, skills and abilities required for the job are assessed in a systematic manner across candidates.

“The interview structure, an interviewer’s experience and the number of people being interviewed in succession all play a role in the decision making on a job candidate,”  said Patrick Raymark, psychology department chair at Clemson University.

A good interview process involves collecting unbiased data on the candidates that enables the hiring manager to make the right hire. To make such critical decision, the interview process should aim to collect data that assures that the person is the best fit. Unfortunately, most interviews predict an applicant’s actual ability only between 1% to 4% accuracy.  This can be minimized and almost eliminated by adopting a structured interview approach.

What is a Structured Interview Process?

  • Before the interview – Plan end to end. Post the job and source the candidates. Before interviewing, define the evaluation criteria and rating scales. Put together a set of appropriate interview questions for assessing the candidates.
  • During the interview – Conduct an engaged interview session. Ask each candidate the same set of questions in the same order if possible. Take detailed interview notes for each question. Use the evaluation criteria and scale to rate the candidate’s response.
  • After the interview – Compare all the candidates interviewed by all the interviewers. Analyze the interviews and ratings and normalize the evaluation data across interviewers. Then, make a data-driven decision on who best fits the role.

On the onset, structured interviews seem tedious but in reality it is a highly effective hiring process. Adopting an end-to-end structured approach shortens the overall hiring time.

The best part of the structured interview is that it is effective, consistent and fair. All candidates go through the same process, are treated objectively and asked the same set of questions. Each interviewer is focused in asking the relevant set of questions and evaluates the candidates based on the job criteria.  Since the hiring managers have the same set of  information for every candidate, the hiring decisions are made faster and with greater confidence.