A structured interview means asking candidates the same set of questions in the same order.

It’s the backbone of the hiring process of giants like Google. It prevents confirmation bias in interviews. It is the best tool for assessing candidates’ performance.

All it takes is just a set of questions that interviewers need to stick to. And this is where it becomes tricky.

  • The structured interview questions need to be written down before the interview and followed during the interview. But many interviewers believe that they know better and prefer going with the flow.
  • The structured interview questions need to be tested and updated frequently in case candidates share notes with each other. This is often “too much work” for interviewers who didn’t bother writing the questions down in the first place.
  • The structured interview questions need to be accessible by everyone in the recruiting team, including the managers. “Who can edit what” and “what is the latest version” and “where are the questions” are some of the potential problems of such shared materials.

The extra work of managing and organizing structured interviews has driven most of us away. Many companies either fail to do it or ignore it completely despite the mountain of evidence pointing out its effectiveness.

We don’t think it has to be that way. Considering how big of an impact structured interviews can do for recruitment, we at Recruitee decided to take on the challenge. Our goal is to make structured interviews easier to set up, quicker for every team member to input, and simpler for the whole team to access.

Today we’re proud to present the result of our effort: the brand new Evaluation feature of Recruitee. Here is how it will help you master structured interviews.

1–Plan your structured interview’s questions ahead

You and your team can plan the structured interview questions right after finalizing the job descriptions. Based on the requirements of the job openings, you can create one or several sets of questions – called evaluation forms – neatly arranged in categories right in Recruitee.

structured interview - Recruitee recruitment software

There are nine question formats you can use. For example, the “Yes/No” format is often used for knockout questions.

structured interview - Recruitee recruitment software

If the job opening requires some specific skills or experience from candidates, you can use the “Multiple choice” format.

structured interview - Recruitee recruitment software

If you want candidates to provide single-choice answers from a set of provided options, it’s best to use the “Single choice” or “Drop-down” format.

structured interview - Recruitee recruitment software

When you have open-ended questions with following up questions, you can use the “Text” format with added hints under the main question.

structured interview - Recruitee recruitment software

In case you have a specific instruction for the interviewers, you can use the “Info box” format to add that instruction right before or after any question.

structured interview - Recruitee recruitment software

Especially when you have a list of criteria for assessing candidates’ skills per Job, make use of the “Scorecard” format.

structured interview - Recruitee recruitment software

It’s always handy to leave an optional “Add a file” or “Text” section by the end of your evaluation form. The interviewers might want to add extra notes or upload extra files received from the candidate.

structured interview - Recruitee recruitment software

2–Carry out the structured interviews in order

Once you and your team have the evaluation forms with all the questions in the order you want for the structured interviews, you can use them for any candidate in your database in Recruitee.

Before an interview, you can assign the suitable evaluation forms to the participating team members.

structured interview - Recruitee recruitment software

They will see the assigned evaluation forms on their own dashboard in Recruitee. During the interview, they can click “Start” to access the questions immediately. The interviewers can state the questions from the evaluation form and note down the candidates’ answers at the same place! No need to switch, jump, or shift between anything.

structured interview - Recruitee recruitment software

3–Weigh up candidates with data

Interviewers tend to be absorbed in taking notes during structured interviews. To help them step back and put together the bigger picture, we have placed a default question at the end of every evaluation form.

structured interview conclusion - Recruitee recruitment software

Every interviewer will need to give their own verdict on the candidates they interviewed. They can give a thumb rating ranging from “Strong Yes”, “Yes”, “Not sure”, to “No”.

This is a major change for us. We have replaced our old five-star rating system with the thumb rating system (You can still view your previous star ratings here).

star rating - Recruitee recruitment software

This decision was reached after we carefully considered all the feedback we got about the five stars.

  • The majority of interviewers opt for the three-star option. It’s the safest choice – being neither too negative or too positive.
  • Not every star rating is equal. A four-star rating can mean “the best I have seen” to one interviewer and “good in general” to another interviewer.
  • The interviewers have to benchmark the candidates in the dark. There is no way to know from the get-go what is the worst and what is the best from the pool of candidates they are going to interview.

With the thumb-rating system, the interviewers can avoid all of these pitfalls.

  • Every interviewer has to make a clear decision between “No”, “Not sure”, “Yes”, and “Strong yes”. There is no “safe” choice.
  • Every thumb rating is equal. A “No” has the universal meaning of “no-go” for all interviewers.
  • All interviewers have straightforward choices. They just need to judge each candidate based on their perception of what is good, what is uncertain, and what is bad. They don’t have to ask themselves “What is the difference between one star and two stars and how does that match to my perception of quality?”

Going for the thumb-rating system isn’t the only major change we made. We don’t want hiring managers to ask themselves the same question: “This candidate has two “Yes”, three “Not sure”, and one “No”. Great. What does this mean overall?”

Instead of counting how many thumb ratings per tier a candidate gets, we calculate the percentage of all evaluations they have. A “No” would mean 0%. A “Not sure” would be 50%. A “Yes” would be 75% and a “Strong yes” would be 100%. With this rating system, you can easily see which candidates are the front runners at a glance. You can read more about this here.

structured interview - Recruitee recruitment software

If you just want to insert a quick evaluation with only a thumb rating and a note, you can also do it with our quick evaluation option.

When doing structured interviews with Recruitee’s evaluation forms, the hiring managers have a clear overview of the candidates. There is little room for bias if all evaluations are standardized, everyone sticks to the same structure, and every candidate is judged with the same measure. As a result, the hiring managers can make informed hiring decisions in a timely manner.

Recruitee Evaluation helps make structured interviews simple and easy to do. Small companies need them to structure a strong foundation for future growth. Large companies need them to sustain and further their foundation.

You won’t have to leave an interview feeling like you didn’t quite get to the core of the candidate. You won’t need to fly by the seat of your pants bombarding them with questionable questions. Now you know exactly what to ask and how that will impact the end result of your hiring process. Try structured interviews out for free with Recruitee now! Let us know how it works out for you via the live chat and email 🙂

Have fun recruiting!