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Subconsciously or not, interviewer bias is a big issue that creeps its way into the hiring process. Of course, this is only natural – humans are biased creatures; it’s part of our instincts.
When it comes to technical hiring, though, minimizing interviewer bias is necessary for guaranteeing fair evaluation.
This is where structured interviews come in strong – they act as a potential gateway for recruiters to reduce bias and collect meaningful information about candidates.
This interview type brings a lot to the table beyond minimizing interview bias – it also provides the interview process with clear direction, ensuring that candidates are appropriately evaluated.
Additionally, having a preset, predetermined framework prevents recruiters from going in blind.
A structured interview is an interview that operates on a predefined template; the interviewer questions the candidate from a prepared list of questions in a defined order. Thus, it is also known as a planned interview.
They are quantitative in nature, paving the way for companies to perform statistical analysis and compare candidates accurately and fairly.
For example, in a planned interview, a candidate’s response to each question can be scored with the help of a rating scale. Let’s take a five-point scale – a response that shows awareness is awarded a 1, whereas one that showcases expertise gets a 5. This scoring tactic provides a quantitative means of comparing the competency of various candidates.
So, what sort of questions do tech recruiters actually ask during these interviews?
Well, here are some standard structured interview questions:
There are three core types, all conducted through different mediums. They are as follows:
1) Structured face-to-face interviews: This type of planned interview involves the physical exchange of information between the interviewer and interviewee through direct communication.
Face-to-face interviews pave the way for more thorough evaluation – interviewers can assess the candidate’s body language, expressions and use visual aids to help conduct the interview.
However, this type of interview is time-consuming and resource-exhausting, so there is a trade-off in choosing it over other types.
2) Structured video interviews: As the name suggests, these are conducted via a high-definition video call and offer some key benefits over face-to-face interviews. Structured video interviews, especially in the case of asynchronous video interviews are less time-consuming and are not subject to geographical constraints – making them ideal for remote hiring.
Structured video interviews are also cost-effective as they are less resource-demanding.
3) Structured tests: A structured test or questionnaire is a type of structured interview that acts as a quantitative research method.
In this type of interview, a series of standardized questions are presented in sequence. The test questions are usually closed-ended and can be in the form of MCQs, short answers, or longer responses.
Structured tests are both time and cost-effective, and they make data collection and analysis convenient.
We have mentioned a few of many advantages already. Here’s a quick run-down of the key benefits of planned interviews:
While there are many benefits, this type of interview format is not without fault. Their drawbacks include:
Using an online tool to conduct structured tests and video interviews, however, can solve the aforementioned.
Sold on this idea but don’t know where to start? Maybe you’re thinking, “hey, exactly what is the first step in constructing a planned interview?” Well, let’s take a look at how you can put together one yourself.
In the previous section, we took a quick look at the general framework for conducting a thoroughly planned interview. But how can you optimize the process and make sure it’s well-executed? Well, here are some golden structured interview tips:
Structured interviews are not the only type of interview – there are also unstructured interviews and semi-structured interviews that are more of a middle-ground between the other two.
As the name gives away, unstructured interviews have no underlying structure; there are no pre-prepared questions, grading scales, or sequences.
Instead, the interviewer asks spontaneous questions, and the interview progresses. More questions arise from responses, and the interviewer has free reign.
While unstructured interviews clearly offer more freedom and creative scope than structured ones, this is seldom a positive aspect. They often lack direction, and candidates may not be adequately screened for their competency without predefined questions to evaluate specific skills.
Moreover, with unstructured interviews, each candidate’s interview will vary significantly, making comparing interviewees difficult and fairly impossible.
So while the lack of restrictions makes unstructured interviews appealing, we advise against them.
A semi-structured interview, also known as a hybrid interview, fuses elements of structured and unstructured interviews. Semi-structured interviews include pre-set questions but additionally grant the interviewer flexibility to deviate and ask unplanned questions.
This way, interviewers can engage the candidates more personally while keeping the interview focused. Semi-structured interviews typically adhere to the same grading scales as structured ones, using rubrics or five-point scales to rank responses.
Semi-structured interviews combine the best of both worlds, but there is a cost.
While a planned process minimizes bias commendably, interviewer bias may creep into semi-structured interviews. In turn, this may affect the scoring of candidates and result in a somewhat unfair evaluation.
Of the three types of interviews, unstructured ones offer the least merit. While they guarantee flexibility, unstructured interviews are prone to biased evaluation and typically lack direction. Moreover, the lack of quantitative results makes them difficult to analyze and compare.
This is why we advise tech recruiters to take their pick from structured and semi-structured interviews.
Planned interviews minimize bias; thus, their results can be reliably interpreted, analyzed, and compared. Semi-structured interviews grant more flexibility than wholly structured ones, at the cost of possibly introducing interviewer bias.
The choice of which to go for depends on your company’s needs –
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