When it comes to the recruitment process, the interview stage has a big impact on the final hiring decision making. Can you imagine hiring someone without conducting any interviews? Probably not.
Interviewing candidates gives the recruiter the opportunity to further assess the selected candidates’ motivations towards the position and the company as well as their skills and cultural fit and, ultimately, identify the right candidate. But interviews can turn into a big waste of time if you’re not doing it right. And by that we mean if you’re not following a structured interview process.
Many interviewers conduct unstructured job interviews based on their biased first impressions of a candidate. Without realising it, they ask questions with the sole purpose of finding evidence that supports that initial impression instead of objectively assessing the candidate.
These goes either way, whether that first impression is good or bad. But it definitely isn't a good way to assess if a candidate is fit for your company.
What are structured interviews?
According to a research on how well assessments predict performance by Frank Schmidt and John Hunter, unstructured interviews can explain only 14 percent of an employee’s performance. While structured Interviews can predict employee’s performance by 26%.
In a structured Interview, all candidates are asked the same consistent set of questions and there is clear criteria to assess the quality of their responses.
In an unstructured interview what happens is just the opposite. Candidates are asked different questions and are evaluated on different criteria, which can lead to an unequal evaluation. Recruiters that use an unstructured interview process frequently end up making hiring decisions mostly based on their instinct (influenced by unconscious bias).
And the fact that you don’t properly assess important skills or values makes it much more likely for you to make a bad hire, which can bring long-term, negative consequences for your company.
Who is leveraging the structured interview process benefits?
Google is. And its former Senior Vice President of People Operations, Laszlo Bock, explains why and how on his book Work Rules. According to Laszlo Bock, Google started using structured interviews several years ago and has ever since been monitoring the outcome of their hiring decisions.
And guess what? He firmly states that structured interviewing highly improved the quality of hire of the tech giant. So, if one of the world leading companies is vocal about a recruitment technique that brings good results why do we see so many companies still conducting unstructured interviews?
On one hand, this may be because designing a structured interview is hard and requires a lot of effort. On the other hand, experienced interviewers tend to trust their “gut feeling” when it comes to assess candidates and can be resistant to the need of sticking to a script. Nevertheless, as far as Google goes it’s totally worth it.
How can structured interviews help you hire the right candidate?
Even though it can take you some time and effort to build a structured interview process, the truth is that once it is done you will be much more confident about your recruitment process and your hiring decisions. So, you need to have everyone on your team aware of the job requirements and provide them with a specific set of questions and set criteria for correct and incorrect answers.
You will then be able to evaluate candidates equally against the required and desired criteria. Of course, it’s mandatory that every candidate is asked that same set of questions and be given the same assessment, so the recruiters must stick to the script. This also means that you cannot ask irrelevant, open-ended questions like "What's your greatest weakness?" or "If you could have a superpower, what would it be?".
By using the same script and evaluating all answers with the same criteria you have a better chance at objectively identifying the candidates that best fit in terms of skills and culture, ensuring a more diverse recruiting process as well.
In addition to help you making better hiring decisions, a structured interview process also improves candidate experience. Candidates are capable of noticing if they are being subjected to a planned assessment and may even compare their experience with other candidates to see if the process was the same for everyone or not. Of course, being given the same opportunity and treated fairly has a major impact on candidate satisfaction, especially when the outcome is not getting hired.
Thanks for reading and see you next time!
Your team here at skeeled