Amelia HerringAmelia Herring

Use a Structured Interview Checklist for Better Results

Use a Structured Interview Checklist for Better Results
Amelia HerringAmelia Herring

A structured interview will give you the most effective results.

Everyone wants to have dependable interviews. Here is a structured interview checklist to help you and your job candidates have a seamless and consistent experience.

Before the interview:

  • Identify the most important competencies that should be evaluated.
    During the structured interview you should choose only the competencies that candidates are expected to have upon applying – not those that will be developed on the job. Three to six competencies are typically assessed, and one to three questions might be developed around each competency.
  • Develop a standard set of situational, observational, personal and behavioral questions.
    Questions developed around each competency should ask the candidate to describe a specific scenario they encountered, how the situation was approached, and the final outcome.
  • Build your rating scales.
    You will need to develop anchors around a three or five-point scale whereby one end of the scale constitutes unacceptable performance as it relates to the scenario, and the opposite end describes behaviors that reflect performance that has exceeded expectations. Consider all aspects of a potential approach, yet keep the anchors concise. Additionally, anchors should not only be aimed at capturing how that person approached the scenario, but also the final outcome.

During the interview:

  • Make the candidate comfortable and explain the steps you’ll be covering during the interview.
    Prior to delving into the behavioral questions, you should mention that you will be taking notes. This will help keep the flow of the meeting moving and keep the candidate from being surprised by anything. Next, give a brief description of the job and then you move into the questions. 
  • Provide ample time to answer and ask for clarification if necessary.
    A strong predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Ask them about specific work contributions and outcomes. Try to focus on the candidate’s actual role in the project, not what the team accomplished. If you are not getting a clear or complete answer, probe with follow-up questions such as “What specifically happened after you took action?” or “How many times did that happen?”

After the interview:

  • Allow time at the end for the candidate to ask questions and let them know your next steps.
    Be sure to follow through.
  • Score the candidate’s responses immediately following the structured interview.
    Review your notes and focus on which rating best reflects the candidate’s responses to the questions. If multiple reviewers were present during the interview, conduct your scoring sessions separately and then meet afterwards to determine final ratings. 

Click here to download the structured interview guide in a handy PDF.

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