Top Structured Interview Questions and Answers

Conducting a structured interview is an excellent approach to screen job prospects and select the top ones. Setting questions in a structured interview style allows you to acquire important information from each interviewee that you can compare to the replies of other applicants.

structured interview questions

What is the definition of a structured interview?

A structured interview is a dialogue in which an interviewer asks a series of questions to an interviewee in a predetermined order. The interviewee gathers the candidate's replies and assesses them using a scoring system. Interviewers can collect comparable information provided in a uniform context by asking the same questions in the same sequence.

The following are some of the advantages of a structured interview versus an unstructured one:

The interview process is more reliable and less prone to mistakes.

Because questions get prepared ahead of time to obtain the most crucial and relevant information, the interview experience is more successful.

Because interviewers follow a script, the interview experience is less skewed.

structured interview questions

It's much easy to compare interview replies.

The interviewer asks predefined questions meant to acquire meaningful information and evaluates the same question replies for each interviewee, making interviews and assessments more efficient.

Structured interviews were initially designed for qualitative research, but they are now increasingly used in the employment process.

Structured interviews can help firms experiencing rapid expansion since they are more efficient and successful. By decreasing prejudice, they can also assist firms in finding the most refined individuals. Human resources personnel and other professionals participating in their firms' recruiting procedures should learn how to conduct and assess structured interviews as they become more popular.

Benefits and drawbacks of an unstructured interview

Unstructured interviews can have significantly different beneficial outcomes than structured interviews therefore, it's crucial to assess the advantages and disadvantages.

The following are some of the benefits of unstructured interviews:

Dive deeper into the debates. An unstructured interview format allows you to go deeper into a topic or spend more time learning about a candidate's skills and characteristics.

Adapt to new issues as they arise. Unstructured interviews are more adaptable, allowing questions to be modified and adjusted in response to the candidate's answers.

Make up some exciting interview questions. It might help create a more casual atmosphere if the interviewer is adept at coming up with questions on the fly and making the candidate feel at ease.

Unstructured interviews have the following drawbacks:

Getting sidetracked in the middle of an interview. You can forget anything or miss learning about quality or talent that's important for the job if you don't have questions prepared ahead of time.

The interviewee got misjudged. It's far more difficult to "compare apples to apples" when examining replies because your questions may differ substantially from one applicant to the next. It's also possible that prejudices or quick judgments may become more prevalent.

The candidate's employment performance is unpredictable. If the right questions aren't asked, unstructured interviews can be less reliable at predicting job success, depending on the person conducting the interview. This might make it more challenging to choose the best candidates.

Structured interview questions

In the workplace, structured interviews often include job-specific, behavioral, and situational inquiries. They assist employers in determining if candidates possess the technical skills, education, experience, and personality attributes necessary to succeed in the open job and workplace culture.

Questions to ask in a structured interview for a specific job

Candidates get asked job-specific questions on the tasks and responsibilities of the available position. Incorporating questions like these into a structured interview might assist a hiring manager in determining if candidates have the necessary skills and experience to succeed in the role. You can adapt the following structured interview question samples to fit your open positions:

  • What were the benefits and drawbacks of the accounting software you utilized at your previous job?
  • Are you confident operating a phone with many lines and a high call volume?
  • What aspects of working in advertising do you enjoy and dislike?
  • What is your favorite type of coffee to brew and consume?
  • What method do you use to remember a huge order?
  • What makes you want to work at this restaurant?
  • How do you advise customers on new treatments and skin therapies?
  • What programming language do you prefer and why?
  • When you start a new project, what are your first actions?
  • Do you have the ability to work a flexible schedule?

Example behavioral interview questions for a structural interview

Candidates get asked to discuss their professional experiences through behavioral questions. Ask a variety of questions to learn about each candidate's professional accomplishments and obstacles, as well as their interactions with clients, coworkers, and superiors. Including behavioral questions in a structured interview can help recruiters figure out what the applicants have done well in the past and what they have struggled with.

  • What are you most proud of in your professional life?
  • What was the most significant accomplishment you made throughout your career? How did you manage to accomplish this?
  • Can you tell me about the best boss you've ever had?
  • What has been your most difficult professional challenge?
  • Can you tell me about a time when you saw an issue in your department and how you dealt with it?
  • Do you recall a moment when you made a blunder at work? How did you deal with it?
  • Can you tell me about a time when you and a coworker disagreed? What steps did you take to deal with the situation?
  • What has been the most gratifying experience you've had working in a group?
  • Can you tell me about a moment when making a solid first impression on a customer was critical? What steps did you take to accomplish this?
  • Could you tell me about a period when your department or organization went through a transition? How did you deal with the shifts?

Example questions for a structured situational interview

Candidates get asked to consider what they would do in various circumstances while working for a firm via situational questions. Include situational questions that might assess candidates' critical-thinking and problem-solving abilities. You may ask a range of questions to determine how applicants would interact with clients and coworkers and how they would handle workplace issues.

  • How would you deal with a consumer dissatisfied with the service they received?
  • What would you say to consumers about our new lipstick?
  • What would you do if you had many assignments from various clients to prioritize?
  • How would you deal with a disgruntled employee?
  • What adjustments would you make if you were in charge of our company?
  • What would you do if you were halfway done with a project when the scope was changed?
  • How would you respond to a line manager's criticism?
  • How would you manage a situation if you couldn't finish a job on time due to a lack of information from coworkers?
  • What actions would you take if you needed to make a critical choice at work?
  • What would you do if you were given a demanding customer to work with?

What is the best way to prepare for a structured interview?

You may prepare organized interviews by following a defined set of steps. These processes may be scaled for both big and small hiring operations.

  • Determine the role's critical hard and soft talents.
  • To evaluate essential hard and soft abilities, write behavioral and situational questions.
  • Add interview questions that are particular to the position.
  • Make a candidate evaluation system.
  • Educate recruiting managers on how to conduct organized interviews.
  • Distribute a scoring system and organize interview questions.
  • Schedule meetings with recruiting managers to receive feedback.

1. Determine the role's critical hard and soft skills.

Making a list of the hard and soft abilities that your ideal applicant should have might help you focus your interview questions. Consider the hard and soft talents necessary for the open position and how you will fit into the company culture. You may also think about skills that will assist your new recruit's progress inside your company.

For example, if you were employing a chef, you should search for someone with promising culinary talents and business acumen. Soft skills such as creativity, organization, and a motivating management style are also beneficial and these hard skills.

2. Make a list of behavioral and situational questions to assess relevant hard and soft abilities.

Write questions to see if your candidates have the appropriate hard and soft talents for your position once you've identified them. Writing behavioral and situational questions will allow you to learn more about your candidates' backgrounds and problem-solving abilities.

To assess business understanding, you might, for example, ask applicants for your chef position what business software they are familiar with. To consider their management style, you may ask them what they would do to inspire an uninterested sous chef.

3. Include interview questions that are unique to the position.

Including job-specific questions in your structured interview will assist you in determining whether your candidates have the necessary experience and abilities for the open position.

For example, if the available position is in an Italian kitchen, you may inquire about the candidates' favorite Italian food to make and why. Their response will reveal information about their encounters with Italian cuisine.

4. Establish a candidate evaluation mechanism.

A candidate rating system will assist you in assigning a score to each candidate based on their responses to each inquiry. A five-point scale, which gives one to five points to candidates depending on the quality of their answers, is a basic technique that many hiring managers find helpful. Adding up the points might help you select the best candidate for the job. However, you are free to use whatever ranking system you feel is appropriate.

5. Educate recruiting managers on how to conduct organized interviews.

Structured interview training for recruiting managers helps you achieve consistent results across all hiring processes. To guarantee that all hiring managers receive the same material, consider having a group training session rather than one-on-one training. If your recruiting managers are unsure about any aspect of the process, encourage them to ask questions.

6. Make structured interview questions and a scoring system available.

Distribute your questions and grading system to your hiring managers before your interviews. It is a good idea to allow your managers to familiarize themselves with the questions and ratings by distributing these materials a few days before the interviews.

7. Set up meetings with recruiting supervisors to get feedback.

Before conducting interviews, schedule feedback meetings to ensure that all parties can promptly discuss the applicants. Arrangements should be scheduled a day or two after the interviews when applicants are still fresh in managers' thoughts.

What is the best way to run a structured interview?

To maintain consistency, conducting a structured interview demands a thorough approach. When running a structured interview, follow these steps:

1. Give your candidate a warm handshake and a verbal greeting.

A kind greeting puts your applicant at ease and establishes a relationship, making them more likely to respond honestly.

2. Ask each of the questions on your list in the order they appear on your list.

Each interview is standardized by asking each question exactly as it is written.

3. Allow enough time for your application to respond.

You allow your candidate ample time to respond to each question, which guarantees that they receive the highest number of points possible. Once you're satisfied your candidate has completed speaking, move on to the following question.

4. Mark each response right away.

The most accurate result gets obtained by scoring each answer before going on to the next question since this allows you to evaluate based on your instant reaction rather than attempting to recollect their response afterward.

5. Wrap up the interview.

Say farewell and extend another handshake once your candidate has answered your queries. You might also let the applicant know when they can expect to hear from you about the following stages.

During a structured interview, candidates are rated.

A five-point scale is a straightforward method of grading applications. You assign one to five points for each response the applicant delivers using this approach. Those of inferior quality earns one point, while responses of high quality receive five points. Other replies are given points in the range of these values, depending on how good they are.

Giving your hiring managers a rating key might assist them in determining how to rank answers. Each question or question type should include a rating key that explains what you're searching for. A high-quality response to a question on attention to detail, for example, may indicate that the candidate spends time planning and tracking work.

A poor response may indicate that the applicant employs tracking measures infrequently or never. The STAR technique is commonly used in high-quality replies as well.

Add up your points after each interview to get an overall grade. These ratings may be used to compare all of your candidates' overall performance.

How do you prepare for a structured interview?

  • Train hiring managers on how to conduct a structured interview. Highlight the critical hard and soft skills for the role.
  • Have answers for behavioral and situational questions.
  • Create a candidate rating system.

How do I create structured interview questions?

Work closely with the team and define the five key questions to ask a potential employee. Use the job description as the basis for the structured interview format and ensure that the same predetermined questions are getting asked.

Favorite Resources

Our favorite resources are included below.

Job interview resources

Resume and cover letter resources

Job search resources

free interview question and answer full guide

Interview Question and Answer Guide (PDF)

Download our full interview preparation guide. Complete with common interview questions and example answers. Free download. No email required.

Download PDF
author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, SHRM.org, Process.st, FairyGodBoss, HRCI.org, St. Edwards University, NC State University, IBTimes.com, Thrive Global, TMCnet.com, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

Share

Help us by spreading the word