Avoid Bias with the Structured Interview

According to the last Department of Labor report, there were 3.6 million job openings at the end of May, up slightly from April. Even with a conservative ratio of five interviews for each hire, we’re looking at over 18 million interviews taking place in the next few months! 

Unfortunately, many of those interviews will be conducted in an unstructured, free-flowing manner. Why do I say “unfortunately?” Because, unlike structured, planned interviews, unstructured interviews:

  1. Are less likely to gather the quality and quantity of relevant, job-related information necessary to make a wise hiring decisions
  2. Make it difficult to objectively compare and contrast candidate qualifications.
  3. Are more difficult to document.
  4. Are less legally defensible.

So, given these challenges and consequences, why aren’t all interviews conducted in a structured and planed manner? My experience has been that, in many cases, interviews are conducted by supervisors who may (or may not!) possess the necessary knowledge or tools, that job openings are often unexpected and need to be filled quickly, and that conducting interviews in a free flowing manner is perceived to be easier, friendlier and more “revealing.”

If you do not currently utilize structured interviews or feel that enhancements can be made to your current interviewing process, it may be worthwhile to learn more about how they are developed and utilized before you need to fill your next job opening. The United States Department of Personnel Management’s Structured Interviews: A Practical Guide is a fantastic starting point for those who wish to do it themselves. Alternatively, we can help you develop and implement job-specific, structured behavioral interviews.


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