When selecting new talent for their company, an employer must first interview all the prospective candidates in order to get to know more about them and find out if they are a good fit for the job. Job interviews can contain different types of questions - open ended and close ended, brief or descriptive. Depending on the job description and the company’s policies, specific questions are chosen for the interview process and both structured and unstructured interviews can be conducted by the employer.
These types of interviews are the most traditional and most used tool for assessing job applicants. Unstructured interviews are sometimes referred to as “discovery interviews” or “informal interviews” and are more of a guided conversation rather than a structured interview. Unstructured interviews mostly consist of open-ended questions that can be asked in any order. These questions may change based on what and how the applicant responds. Even though there may be a list of questions prepared for the interview, there is no need to follow them. Because of their nature, unstructured interviews are more conversational and can cover a variety of topics. During an unstructured interview, the interviewer lets the conversation flow freely and asks questions that make the interviewee think and analyze a particular situation.
These are also known as “directive interviews” or “formal interviews”. In structured interviews, questions are asked in a specific order and remain the same for every applicant. This is done in order to ensure fairness and avoid biased questions. The questions are close-ended, not flexible, and the interviewer should not deviate from the schedule or expand on the answers he or she receives. The questions should be straightforward and allow the conversation to be easily controlled. Structured interviews tend to focus on past experiences and assets the candidate can bring to the company.