How to Add Structure to Unstructured Interviews

Last week I shared a blog about some of the differences between structured and unstructured interviews. As I mentioned before, unstructured interviews are the most commonly used, but they aren’t necessarily the best. The problem with unstructured interviews is that they tend to be biased.When interviews lack structure and don’t have a guide to follow, final decisions are more likely to be based on biased decisions. One way to avoid this and improve your interview process is by adding structure. Adding structure to your interview process ensures candidates have equal opportunities to provide information and are assessed accurately.
Here are some ways you can add structure to your interview process:

Train Your Managers

Managers need to be able to identify their own biases. [1] This occurs when subconscious factors influence the interviewer’s perceptions. These factors may be differences between the interviewer and the interviewee, applicant’s attractiveness, first impressions, similarities and more. By being able to identify their own biases, the interviewer can focus on the questions being asked and the responses that are received.
Managers also need to be able to ask specific job-relevant questions. Stick to the guide. Interviewers should always have a guide with questions prepared before beginning each interview. As mentioned before, in structured interviews the exact same questions should be asked to every candidate in the same order so the process is fair.
Be sure to also train your managers to listen, probe, rate, and master other interview skills.

Have a Rating Scale

Determine a rating scale that you will use to evaluate candidates’ responses. The scale can be as simple as a 1-5 scale, where 1 is low and 5 is outstanding, for example. Rating scales should include detailed descriptions of what low and high scores look like to make scoring easy and consistent. Immediately after the candidate leaves the room, the interviewer should review his or her notes as well as the ratings given to the candidate for each question.

Document the Interview Process

For every interview, specific information should be recorded for future reference. These records should include  date, time, place, interview length, name, job title, questions, scores, notes, guides, and rating scales, and any other materials used during each interview. Even though unstructured interviews are very common and can do the job, research shows that structured interviews are twice as effective in predicting job performance. An organization’s interview process can be improved just by training the hiring managers and adding some structure.