Structured Interview

In general, there are two types of interviews that are used in organization settings unstructured and structured interviews. Traditionally, organizations tend to use an unstructured interview to select their employees. In an unstructured interview, the interviewer and the candidate start up a conversation more or less follow a free flow. The questions asked or topics discussed largely depend on the interaction between the two parties, the interviewers' personal preferences, and the information supplied by candidates in their job applications. Thus, what information is collected from such an interview session can vary significantly.

Unstructured interviews have other problems, as listed in Taylor and O'Driscoll (1995)

  • Different importance weightings are given to the same information by different interviewers.

  • Interviewers often make their decision about an applicant within the first four to five minutes; the remaining time is spent on looking for evidence supporting the decision.

  • Frequently the interviewers believe that their task is to eliminate the "unsuitable" candidates; interviewers are frequently influenced by negative information rather than by the positive information of the candidates.

  • Interviewers often talk more than the candidate during an interview.

  • Interviewers pay more attention to non-verbal cues such as eye- and hand-movements rather than information that is given by the candidate verbally.

In contrast, a structured interview is a preplanned interview with a standard set of questions and an organized structure of how the interview is to be carried out. That is, the flow of each interview will be the same, the questions asked and the topics discussed are also the same (or at least very similar) for each candidate, and candidates' answers are rated systematically. As a result, the information collected will be comparable across different interview sessions.