AvatarPrashant Shringarpure | March 24, 2020

Interviews are usually of two types; informal or unstructured and structured. But if you decide to conduct a structured interview, then you will first have to determine what questions you will ask the candidate.

Structured interviews need to have a set of predetermined questions. All candidates are asked those same questions. Each of their responses is then assessed to select who is suitable for the job.

What Should You Do Before Setting The Questions For A Structured Interview?

If you want your structured interview process to be a success that allows you to find your ideal candidate without much hassle, then there are certain things, that as the interviewer, you should be clear about. The following points will help you understand these requirements.

  • You will have to be sure about what kind of candidate you are looking for. Each job demands a different skill set and as the interviewer, you will have to determine what skill set you to need. This will help you form better questions when you conduct the interview.
  • It is important to identify a few qualities that a new employee should have. This will depend on the environment of your workspace. If the new hire has the qualities you are looking for, it will help him or her to settle in quickly. These qualities include communication skills, certain ethics, a healthy and natural curiosity to know and learn and the ability to take responsibility and initiative within the office.
  • While the interview will reveal a lot about a potential employee, you should also have other methods to assess a candidate. These methods include conducting written tests, background checks, and analyzing previous work samples.
  • One candidate might not have every skill in the box. For example, one person might lack social skills but can be extremely efficient while working. So, before you exclude the candidate, check if the skill that he or she is lacking is necessary for the position you are looking to hire.

Types Of Questions To Ask In A Structured Interview

Structured interviews will need to have several different sets of questions. You will not be able to conduct a structured interview properly if you just have a list of basic questions, usually related to the job you are hiring for or the qualifications that the candidates are required to have. While these remain important, questions in a structured interview should also be aimed at understanding the personality and overall potential of the candidates.

Generic questions

Generic questions usually determine how much knowledge a candidate has about the job. These questions are often constructed by the HR department and they test hard skills. To test how much hands-on experience a candidate has, generic questions can be set in a way that will require him or her to complete a short assignment, given a presentation for few minutes or utilize the whiteboard to explain a particular concept.

Behavioral questions

Behavioral questions will determine whether or not the candidate is suitable to work in your office environment. You will also be able to predict how the candidate will perform, especially when there is a deadline. Behavioral questions make it easy to understand a candidate’s ethical maturity and professionalism.

Situational questions

Situational questions will allow you to understand how the candidate will handle his or her work and deal with problems, should they arise. If you think that your situational questions are becoming too predictable, think about certain dilemmas that one faces while working and use those to base your question on. Such a question will demand the candidate to think for himself and therefore you will get an original response.

When asking questions in a structured interview, make sure that they are:

  • Specific to what the job requires
  • Based on real situations
  • Relevant and brief
  • Not too simple
  • Not filled with jargon

If you find that the candidate is giving vague answers then ask to follow up questions. Identify which of the predetermined questions can receive such answers and keep your follow up questions ready. The follow-up questions should be unique and not non-specific.

The Process Of Conducting A Structured Interview

A structured interview can be conducted in simple steps.

  • Develop the questions and print them to carry to the interview site.
  • Create a scale that can be used to grade or rate a candidate’s responses and answers.
  • Record and take notes of the candidate’s answers.
  • Ask someone who was not involved in interviewing or developing questions, to review and analyse.

Structured interviews help you find the right employee quite easily. But remember to not make the process too monotonous or the questions too predictable. There is also a risk of questions being leaked. Therefore, take proper precautions. If you can develop relevant yet unique questions, you will be able to get the desired response from candidates.