The Hiring Manager’s Guide to Structured Interviews

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The latest Talent Tech Labs report discusses the importance of having a great candidate experience in an increasingly competitive candidate’s market. Having a consistent hiring process is critical for a company’s hiring success, which includes candidate acceptance and onboarding as well as the growing importance of Net Promoter Scores®, or NPS, plus the increased popularity of employer review sites and social media for branding and reputation.

From TTL’s report:

“When candidates apply to a position, they want to hear back from the employer. Did you know that 80% of job seekers stated they wouldn’t consider another position at a company if they didn’t hear back about their application status?

It makes sense. Why apply through a portal if you don’t know the process works? Consider the average ATS requires a series of hoops for the job seeker to leap through and many applications require some pretty sensitive information. Applying for a job is definitely a leap of faith for the job seeker. Not receiving a reply from an employer that an application was received is, essentially, a breach of trust.

Poor candidate experience starts with a breach of trust. 72% of job seekers said they would share a poor application experience on an employer review site (like Glassdoor), and this can ultimately tarnish your employer brand.”

Having a structured, consistent interview process can eliminate negative responses and reviews from candidates; in fact, it can even elicit positive reviews from candidates you interview and who are not hired.

Structured Vs. Unstructured Interviews

Many hiring managers, particularly those used to working without a net (or HR department), may prefer unstructured interviews. There is a case to be made for these types of interviews, but the cons tend to outweigh the pros.

In a structured interview, questions are determined in advance and consistent. In unstructured interviews, the questions are not set in advance or may come from a loose set of notes from a hiring manager.

In structured interviews, the data is quantitative, the research is descriptive, and the data collection validates results, especially when a large number of hires are required. From an HR compliance standpoint, having structured interviews helps make the hiring process consistent across all candidates lessening the risk for discrimination based on certain protected classes as discussed in Title VII, the ADA, GINA, and ADEA.

In an unstructured interview, the data is qualitative, the research is exploratory and often incomplete, and data collection is null, as the questions are more likely to probe personal details about a candidate to assess fit (and can often cross into the “too personal” category).

Based on this information, we’re going to discuss how to create and refine a structured interview process that doesn’t “feel” impersonal or automated.

How to Create a Structured Interview Process

A structured interview process creates consistency for every candidate and sets clear expectations and clear candidate communication. Below are some tips that will ensure each candidate walks away from your interviews with a positive outlook – whether they intend to pursue the role or not. It also sets solid guidelines for your hiring process when it comes to lack of bias, diversity issues, and simple human-to-human interactions.

  • Use interview questions that align with the position as well as the larger organization. Comeet’s interview question database makes it easy for hiring manager and recruiters to create a professional, consistent, and structured interview.
  • Create and follow an established recruiting process for each department and each role. Every hiring manager should have guidelines to follow for meeting and interviewing candidates, from phone interviews to in-person interactions. Without this process, your hiring managers might be winging it, which means unstructured interviews where they might spend more time talking up your company culture than asking relevant questions to get information from a candidate.
  • Mystery shop candidate processes—your own and your competition’s. Take the time to apply as a candidate and make note of any areas that can be improved or personalized. When you finish the application process, are the next steps clear? Will you receive a follow-up email outlining the next steps or will you have to hope your application made it through the system?

The bottom line: Structured interviews don’t have to be impersonal. Most hiring managers are comfortable with small talk at the beginning of an interview. But they should also be in the habit of closing the interview by reviewing where the company is in the interview process for the specific positions, how long the candidate may have to wait for a response and allow time for the candidate to ask questions.

Learn more about Comeet’s collaborative recruiting platform. Click here to register to join our upcoming demo.