Pitfalls of an Unstructured Interview

“Experienced interviewers do not appear to differ markedly from inexperienced interviewers in their descriptions of either the ideal or typical applicant. I would hypothesize that the lack of information characteristic of unstructured procedures leads interviewers to categorize on the basis of their prior conception and, as a consequence, lowers the validity of their decisions.”

- Dr Robert L Dipboye, Professor of Psychology at University of Central Florida

Most technical interviews are unstructured in nature. A typical unstructured interview is vulnerable to a variety of biases in information gathering, judgement and decision making.

In an unstructured interview, the interviewer does not have a clear charter on what to look for in the candidate. Their evaluation on the candidate is based on their views on what is required in the job. Lack of systematic approach results in gathering interviewer’s personal opinion rather than knowledge, skills and abilities of the candidate to perform the job.

There is a lot of evidence supporting the “similar-to-me” effect in which the interviewer gives more favorable evaluation to the candidates who are similar to the interviewer on background, education, attitudes and other factors.

Research indicated that performance of the candidate in an interview session depends a lot on the way the interview is conducted. The interviewer’s conduct of the session can influence the quality as well as the quantity of the information gathered.

In summary, unstructured interviews:

  1. Are less likely to collect job-related data about knowledge, skills and abilities related to the job.
  2. Are not run consistent across candidates making it difficult to objectively compare and contrast candidates.
  3. Are influenced by interviewers biases that may negatively impact decisions lowering the quality of hire.

Adopting a structured interview approach would eliminate most of these issues and will improve the quality of the hiring process.

Easyhire.me is an online platform for conducting structured interviews to deliver consistent hiring results. It allows the hiring manager to:

  • Define an interview format, appropriate questions, and rating criteria.
  • Conduct an engaging interview with live video featuring shared code editor.
  • Track feedback, scores, and interview recordings.
  • Hire by reviewing interviews and making data driven decisions.
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