Universal Structured Interview Guide: Downloadable Template
Universal Structured Interview Guide

Universal Structured Interview Guide: Downloadable Template

Add structure – hire faster. Structured interviews keep hiring on track and prevent missteps.

Unstructured interviews tend to introduce error and bias into the hiring process. If you’re looking to hire impartially or you’re experiencing a stage of rapid growth, it’s very possible you’re looking to implement some form of structured hiring.

One of the most common problems all recruiters and talent acquisition professionals face is getting consistent and useful feedback from hiring managers. The problem gets worse when you are looking to hire for many roles in a short period of time.

Structured interviews involve the use of standardized interview questions and incorporate a scoring system so feedback is easy to get and candidates are easy to assess.

What is a structured interview?

Structured interviews are a series of standardized interview questions designed to assess candidates on a range of qualities important to the organization. The questions are provided to hiring managers ahead of time and are administered to all candidates in the same order.

Structured interviews usually consist of job-specific questions as well as behavioral interview questions and situational interview questions. Behavioral and situational interview questions are designed to assess candidates on a range of qualities, including:

  • Attention to detail
  • Behavioral characteristics
  • Coachability
  • Critical Thinking
  • Integrity

What is a structured interview?

Why Use Structured Interviews?

Without structured interviews, the hiring process can become inconsistent and unorganized, causing delays.

It is difficult to systematically screen and evaluate candidates based on predetermined traits and skills important for a role. Risks of running unstructured interviews include:

  • Interviewer bias (gender, race, age, similarity to the interviewer)
  • Confirmation bias (tendency of interviewer to look for qualities in candidate that confirm an initial bias)
  • Inaccurate evaluation of candidates (candidates are not asked the same questions)
  • Violation of EEO or OFCCP compliance (illegal interview questions, biased interviewing)
  • Inaccurate assessment candidates’ behavioral qualities and harder-to-measure traits

How to Implement Structured Interviews

The structured interview process is made up of several fundamentals. Each role requires preparation, but once the process is outlined, it can be scaled and used as a template for future hiring.

The end result is an efficient hiring process with minimal manual work and wasted time. Ultimately, adding structure leads to increased hiring manager satisfaction, better candidates, and relief of unnecessary bottlenecks in the pipeline. The main steps to take are:

  1. Determine hard and soft skills important to each role
  2. Create questions for evaluating hard and soft skills
  3. Weave in role-specific interview questions
  4. Create a rating scale or scorecard
  5. Train hiring managers
  6. Distribute questions and rating scale to hiring managers prior to interviews
  7. Schedule feedback meetings with hiring managers in advance
  8. Conduct interviews
  9. Evaluate candidates using ratings and scorecards
At Paycor, we’ve hired an industrial psychologist to create a list of questions designed to measure candidates against 5 key traits crucial to all roles in our complimentary structured interview guide.

We’ve also created role-specific structured interview guides based on scientifically backed research to help you assess candidates on dimensions and qualities essential to specific jobs.

How to Score Structured Interviews

How to Score Structured Interviews

In order to create a standardized system with which to evaluate candidate responses, you have to create a scoring system. This is where interview scorecards come in. The scale you use is up to you, but we use a five point scale here at Paycor.

  1. Lowest Rating – Very Low Quality Response
  2. Medium Low Rating – Low Quality Response
  3. Neutral Rating – Neutral Response
  4. Medium High Rating – High Quality Response
  5. Highest Rating – Very High Quality Response

In addition to providing questions and scorecards, a structured interview rating key should be provided to help hiring managers understand what is considered a quality response vs a low quality response. A rating key makes it easy for hiring managers to evaluate candidates against behavioral and situational questions without an intuitive knowledge of what is desired for the role. Below, we’ve provided an example of a rating key for “Attention to Detail.”

High Rated Response

  • Takes time to plan and prepare before starting something new or different
  • Has established ways of tracking what needs to be done

Low Rated Response

  • Likes detail work but gives weak examples of experience
  • Seldom uses checklists or other methods for following through on tasks

Structured Interview Questions

We’ve listed a few examples of behavioral interview questions and situational questions you can use in an interview. For the full list of questions, download the complimentary structured interview guide!

Attention to Detail

  • How do you keep track of things that you are responsible for at work? For example, schedules, tasks, ongoing goals, etc. Be specific.
  • Would you rather formulate a plan or carry it out? Give an example of a plan you have implemented.

Behavioral Characteristics

  • What is your definition of success? Follow-up: How are you measuring up? How will you go about achieving it?
  • What role do you usually take in a group meeting or discussion? What are the advantages of that? Disadvantages?

Coachability

  • Describe which job and which manager got the most out of your potential. What made that situation so productive?
  • If you could go back to when you were first thinking about your career, what advice would you give yourself?

Critical Thinking

  • Tell me about a time when you had competing deadlines at work. What did you do? How did you come to that conclusion?
  • Give me an example of a decision you had to make quickly or under pressure. How did you approach it and how did it work out?

Integrity

  • Tell me about a mistake you made in a past job that you regretted. What happened and what did you learn from it?
  • In your last job, if you didn’t think you could meet an expected deadline, what did you do? Can you give me an example?

Get the Universal Structured Interview Template

More to Discover

Recruiting

The “Everything You Need” Hiring Toolkit

The “Everything You Need” Hiring Toolkit

Hiring is hard enough. This is especially true if you don’t have the right recruiting tools and templates in place. To help make things easier, we created the toolkits below to help you standardize and templatize a few key pieces of your recruiting process. Use these free HR templates and recruiting resources below to prepare your team for successful hiring and ensure you’re up to speed with best practices for effective recruiting. Why Hiring is Hard If you’ve found your way to this page, chances are that you’re looking for a way to make your day to day recruiting a little easier. Recruiting is difficult for many reasons. One of the biggest is that there are so many people and pieces in the hiring process to manage: Hiring managers...

Recruiting

Shaping Company Culture to Attract Millennials

Shaping Company Culture to Attract Millennials

As Baby Boomers Retire, Millennials Step Up Generation Y, aka the Millennial Generation, includes people born between 1980 and 2000. We’ll do the math for you: millennials are currently between 19-39 years old.According to AARP, 10,000 Baby Boomers are reaching retirement age every day, and this is expected to continue into the 2030s.As Baby Boomers leave the workforce, wide talent gaps are opening up within companies.However, the generation waiting to fill these roles is much different than their predecessors. Millennials have particular tastes and preferences in regards to company culture. Recruiters and hiring managers must keep-step with the millennial generation to fill their organization with these innovative and inspired...

Recruiting

8 Steps to Choosing the Right Applicant Tracking System

8 Steps to Choosing the Right Applicant Tracking System

Choosing an applicant tracking system should be an exciting endeavor, not a daunting task. To free you from the time and stress often associated with selecting a new ATS, we have developed a quick and comprehensive outline of the critical points that you need to hit on while going through your selection process. Step 1: Know the difference between Applicant Tracking Systems for employers & Recruiting Software for external agencies Applicant Tracking Systems for Employers – Designed for HR and recruiting to manage and organize internal hiring processes. These systems maintain the one to one relationships between an employer’s candidates and the internal staff that interviews them. Recruiting Software for Agencies – Used by recruiting...

Recruiting

Tracking Applicant Flow Data for OFCCP Compliance

Tracking Applicant Flow Data for OFCCP Compliance

With the Right Applicant Tracking System, Managing Applicant Flow Data is a Breeze Federal contractors and subcontractors must adhere to a variety of OFCCP regulations. There is a significant amount of information that you must keep track of and be able to report on in the event of an audit. To maintain all of this information, the OFCCP recommends that employers systematically and consistently record “applicant flow data.” So, What Exactly is Applicant Flow Data? Applicant flow data is essentially all of the information needed by auditors to conduct an adverse impact analysis. This information is captured by employers through the use of an applicant flow log (AFL). An applicant flow log contains information regarding which jobs were...