Structured interviews can help you make sure you get the right candidate for your position, but it’s incredibly important that every hiring manager in your organization understands how to conduct them and why they are so important. In fact, because hiring managers are often the individuals responsible for creating new positions, selecting and meeting candidates, and ultimately making a final decision on who to hire, they may even be more important than recruiters and human resources staff, making it crucial they know and understand how to interview effectively.

Take some time to review the interview process with everyone in your organization who may be responsible for hiring so they can be sure they know exactly what to ask, how to appropriately score responses, and how each question relates to the skills needed for the job.

Here are some pointers on how you can explain and train hiring managers on the importance of the structured interview.

What is a structured interview and why do I need to use it?

A structured interview consists of a set of questions specific to the role that are asked of every candidate so those responses can be compared. These questions are asked in the same order for each interviewee. By using the same scripted questions every time, hiring managers can be sure that the interview is consistent between candidates, asks the same questions, and gathers the most relevant information so you can make an informed decision.

In a structured interview, interviewers rate a candidate’s responses as they answer each question, so when it is time to make a decision, you have real-time, in-the-moment data to reference. Some people may feel like this restricts the flow of conversation, but this allows you to be confident that you have the same information across all candidates.

Structured interviews are less stressful on the interviewer

Let’s face it, good interviewing is a skill. And while some hiring managers are well practiced, others may not do it regularly. A structured interview provides clear guidelines that can help keep the focus on what is most important—getting the most important information with which to make a decision.

Hiring managers don’t need to spend as much time preparing for an interview or think about how well someone did afterward, as they ask the same questions to each job applicant and know they have the same information so they can easily determine the best fit.  

Although more time is devoted upfront to developing the interview questions and the scoring system, it actually saves time on interview preparation and helps to be sure your interviews run on schedule.

Structured interviews can help you make better hires

Hiring is a high-stakes business, so it’s worth exploring anything that makes it easier to be sure you are selecting a candidate who will fit the company culture, learn quickly, be conscioenstious, and stick around long-term. A shocking 3 out of 4 small business employers have said they’ve hired the wrong person for the job—and whether that means lost productivity, compromised quality, or lost time to recruit and train a replacement—it’s a problem that can be lessened by using a structured interview.

Structured interviews tend to be more job-related than unstructured or semi-structured interviews. In an unstructured interview, questions may be asked spontaneously, and it is possible they could have little to do with the role requirements. It follows that these responses don’t actually predict job performance. Structured interviews, however, should focus on job-relevant questions that produce information that more closely aligns to the skills needed for success in the role.

Structured interviews can reduce bias

In a structured interview, every interview question is the same for each candidate, which makes your interviews more objective and reduces the risk of hiring bias. This promotes equal opportunities across all interviewers and reduces the chance for discrimination. In addition, this can lessen the impact of any unconscious biases, such as feeling camaraderie with a person who went to your school, is from your hometown, or is simply the interview you remember the most.

Hiring decisions that come from a structured interview process are also more legally defensible in court, as it prevents the possibility of asking discriminatory or possibly illegal questions.


It’s incredibly important that every hiring manager in your organization understands the reasons behind structured interviews as well as all the steps needed in order to complete one accurately. It’s essential to get their support to make this a worthwhile experience for everyone. If done well, a structured interview can give everyone more confidence in their new hires by using more a more objective and effective structured interview.


This is the third in a series on structured interviews. Catch up on Part 1 and Part 2.

Download our free handbook to learn more about structured interviews and make better hiring decisions.


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