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Couldn’t be. So I read the sentence again. Yes, I read it correctly. David Zweig, an organizational behaviour specialist at University of Toronto has data which shows that ‘structured interviews’ have eight times the predictive power of pinpointing the best candidate compared to unstructured interviews.

A ‘structured interview’ is one where each candidate for a position is interviewed the same way and asked the same set of questions.

I can hear you all throwing your hands up in the air. It’s too, well, structured. Even the word is a turn off for you. You prefer to do things a little more laid back. Kind of go with the flow. But think about it. If you had a specific list of questions before you met the 5 people that you had shortlisted for any position, then graded each person against that very specific list of questions, wouldn’t that a) save you time, and b) make the decision making process easier once the interviews are over and they’ve all melted into one long conversation?

Now the catch to all this is that Mr. Zweig also went on to say it takes more time. I believe that.

There’s the time it takes to prepare the questions in advance, the time it takes to get through the questions with a focused agenda in mind (and still allow for some go-with-the-flowness), and the time it takes to review the data.

But I’ll place my bet on the structured interview over the go-with-the-flow technique any day – even with the extra hour or two of preparation work it will require. Because I’d rather spend that hour now on a method that has eight times the effectiveness, than have to endure another go-with-the-flow round of interviews in 3 months to a year from now.

Does your company or department use structured interviews? Would you be willing to try it in your department?

~ heidi


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