When you are recruiting into your business or organisation, do you make a decision based on your candidate’s star sign? Read their palm? Analyse their handwriting?
No, I didn’t think so.
If you are carrying out an informal/chatty style of interview, you’re not doing anything more effective or scientific than the examples above.
What is a structured interview?
A structured interview comprises pre-planned, well thought out questions based on the needs of the business and the skills, experience and attributes (measurable ones) sought in a role. The questions would be structured to encourage as many measurable and tangible examples from a candidate’s professional or personal experience as possible to support their application. It may also be supported by a psychometric or practical test.
For example, if the role requires working under pressure, the candidate will need to provide specific examples of when they have done this, how they approached it and what was the outcome.
A structured interview is not there to find out if someone is ‘nice’ and fits the mould of the ‘type’ of person you normally have in the organisation.
It is there to get the right person for the role.
The perfect candidate may come from any background. Have any kind of personality. But if they display evidence of the skills, experience and attributes to be successful in the role, they could be a huge asset to your business. Indeed, evidence points to how a diverse range of personalities and approaches can bring creativity and innovation, strengthening and enhancing the performance of teams.
It’s not to say an informal chat does not have a place. It can work as part of an interview process, giving a candidate a warm welcome and helping them to feel more relaxed before their structured interviews.
Know your limits!
You may consider yourself the most able, attuned, objective judger of skills and personality in the world. However, as an expert interviewer with many years of interviewing experience, I know that no person’s judgement is a match for a structured interview.
Understand the risks
There are real risks to your business of carrying out informal, chatty, gut instinct-based interviews rather than structured ones.
Whatever the size of your business, structured interviews are worth the effort
With the arguments for structured interviews so strong and indisputable, why do so many companies still rely on informal, unstructured interviews?
There may be a perception that structured interviews take too much time and effort. You need to understand the skills and attributes you need in your business, based on your business goals. Someone needs to sit down with the job description and personal specification and craft questions that will assess and seek evidence for the candidate’s suitability for the role. Following the interview, the responses need to be reviewed and analysed and an impartial, objective decision made based on the responses.
It is easier and quicker not to bother. To stick with the names in the hat approach.
But the time is only in the preparation
The interview and decision-making process will be shorter, sharper, more efficient and on point, unlike informal interviews which can spiral on with no purpose leaving you with little guidance on which candidate to pick.
And things certainly won’t be easier if you face performance management issues down the line, with you or the rest of the team taking the slack.
Structured interviews are not just for big companies with HR departments
They are essential to any organisation recruiting, indeed smaller companies are less well-resourced to cope with the fallout of a bad hire.
If you’re bought into the idea, but need support with structured interviews, get help from an interview specialist who can cost effectively help set these up, and then leave you and your staff to carry them out.
For help, support and advice, call The Recruitment Team on 07971511731 or email firstname.lastname@example.org