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Structured interview: an essential tool

Structured interview: an essential tool

5 minutes

Feb 19, 2024

Written by Océane Prunier

Let's set the context, the world of recruitment is particularly complex. Since every decision counts, assessment interviews are an exercise of paramount importance for recruiters (and this, regardless of the profession). Unfortunately, these interviews too often rely on subjective impressions (like feeling), leading to biased decisions. Surprisingly, a candidate's success in a job interview has been shown to only guarantee 14% of their actual job performance. Faced with this observation, it is crucial to choose a more prepared and rigorous approach.

Do you have a minute? Take note, we have the solution.

Indeed, this is where structured interviews come in, offering a methodical and objective approach that helps assess candidates fairly and consistently. Their use increases the reliability rate of recruitment decisions, from 14% to 26%. This reduces the risk of a critical incident.


1 - What is a structured interview?


Let's start with a definition, it is a rigorous evaluation process that follows a pre-established set of questions and evaluation criteria. Unlike the unstructured type, where questions may vary from candidate to candidate and assessments are often based on subjective impressions, structured interviews establish a standardized framework for all candidates, allowing for an objective comparison of their performance, motivations and skills.

The major asset of a structured interview lies in the fact that it is capable, in a subject, of minimizing cognitive biases and of promoting a fair evaluation. In addition, it provides increased reliability by reducing variation due to individual rater interpretation.

In this article, we invite you to project yourself into the world of structured interviews and become a real expert in the field. Let's discover together the fundamental usefulness of this method and its positive impact on your evaluation processes.


2 - Why use the structured interview technique?


The structured interview technique is used for several important reasons. Let's go find them without further delay:


  • Reliability and validity of structured interviews

If you as a manager are looking for more reliable and valid assessments, structured interviews are the ideal solution. Rigorously designed, they outperform unstructured interviews. By following a predefined number of questions (in a specific order) and assessment criteria, they help reduce judgment errors and biases that could influence your assessments. Thus, you obtain objective and consistent results in a simpler and more efficient way.

It is true that unstructured interviews are often influenced by subjective impressions, stereotypes and the personal preferences of the evaluators. By opting for a standardized framework and clear assessment criteria, structured interviews minimize these cognitive biases, thus promoting a more fair and just assessment of candidates' skills and qualifications.


Additionally, structured interviews allow for a more objective comparison of candidates, as they are assessed using the same parameters. This approach greatly facilitates decision-making during the recruitment process, by identifying the personalities best suited to the specific requirements of the position.

By adopting structured interviews, you guarantee quality evaluations, based on objective criteria and devoid of the potentially biased influences of the evaluators. You will be able to rely on solid and relevant information to make informed decisions while ensuring fairness in your recruitment processes.


  • Equal opportunities for candidates

By unequivocally eliminating potential discrimination and focusing only on the skills and qualifications of candidates, structured interviews guarantee absolute equality of opportunity!

This objective and fair approach allows each candidate to highlight his abilities and to be evaluated, at the same level, solely on the basis of his professional merits. Regardless of their origin, gender, age or any other characteristic protected by law, candidates can feel fully confident knowing that their skills will be assessed impartially.

This is how structured interviews contribute significantly to the creation of a more inclusive and respectful recruitment environment, where each individual has the opportunity to express their abilities in an equitable manner.

To be able to adopt inclusive recruitment in your company, we recommend that you check out one of our latest articles: 9 tips for inclusive recruitment.


  • Improved recruitment effectiveness and efficiency

Structured interviews are proving to be a powerful lever for reducing both the time and costs associated with the selection process. Thanks to a clear framework and pre-established evaluation criteria, these interviews allow for more efficient conduct and faster decision-making in terms of recruitment.

By evaluating candidates objectively and accurately identifying the key skills required for the position, structured interviews help select the most competent candidates who are best suited to the specific needs of the organization. The result : better quality recruitment and a better match between the candidates selected and the positions to be filled.

By focusing on structured interviews, your company will be able to prepare for significant savings in terms of time and resources, while guaranteeing increased efficiency in its recruitment process. A gain in efficiency that translates into informed decisions and better profitability for the company as a whole.


3 - How to set up structured interviews? 3 steps


To establish structured interviews, it is essential to follow three essential key steps :


  • Preparing for the interview: the art of a well-prepared selection

When preparing for an interview, it is essential to know clearly what you want to look for in priority in your employees in order to prioritize the criteria. Carefully choose the questions that will explore these specific skills, while ensuring that they are clear, objective and closely related to the job requirements.

Creating an evaluation grid is a crucial step. It must include relevant evaluation criteria and be based on standardized questions to ensure a fair comparison between candidates.

Our advice : with this in mind, the use of a dedicated online platform can greatly facilitate the creation and management of these evaluation grids, allowing you to focus on the essentials. Yuzu is also a specific tool that facilitates the management of these online evaluation grids. Indeed, our solution makes it possible to evaluate the soft skills of candidates in an objective and coherent way, thus contributing to informed recruitment decisions. This will allow you to focus on the essentials of the interview and improve your candidate experience.


As each position is unique, it is essential to think of a structured interview grid model adapted specifically to its requirements. By adapting your grid model according to the skills required for each position, you will maximize the relevance of your assessments and ensure an accurate and targeted assessment.

Finally, it is crucial to ensure that all internal parties involved fully understand the structured interview method and are trained to apply it consistently. A clear understanding and proper application ensures fair and objective evaluation, thus strengthening the quality of your selections.

Thus, by thoroughly preparing for your structured interviews, you will create a solid foundation for accurate, fair and effective candidate assessment, leading to more informed recruitment decisions and talented and competent teams.


  • Conduct of the interview

To start the interview off right, it's essential to create a warm and welcoming environment. Take a few moments to put your interviewer at ease, and briefly explain how the interview will unfold. This will allow the candidate to feel confident and understand the expectations of this valuable exchange.

Take this opportunity to speak in person clear and captivating information on the company, its culture and the specificities of the position to be filled. By enlightening the candidate on these elements, you will allow him to better understand the environment in which he could evolve, thus promoting better mutual understanding.

The heart of the interview lies in following the pre-established evaluation grid and using standardized questions. This informed choice guarantees an objective and fair evaluation of the candidates. Be sure to ask questions that encourage concrete and specific answers, thus allowing for an in-depth exploration of their skills, experiences and potential fit for the role.

Remember that the interview is a dynamic exchange: let the candidate ask for data or other and let him answer your questions as much as possible. You will learn much more about him. Indeed, you will get additional clarifications. This will help you better identify the candidate's abilities, knowledge and behavioral skills, while establishing an authentic dialogue.

By following this approach, you'll create an engaging and interactive interview environment, where every conversation is an opportunity to discover the candidates' potential and abilities.


  • Evaluation and decision making

Once the interviews have been successfully conducted, it is time to enter the crucial phase of evaluation and decision-making. You have collected the candidates' answers with care and attention, it is now time to evaluate them rigorously and impartially!

For this, it is recommended to use a predefined rating scale for each evaluation criterion. This scale will allow you to objectively quantify candidate performance. Thanks to this evaluation grid, each criterion will be evaluated with precision and consistency, thus eliminating bias and subjective judgments.

Once the assessments are complete, you need to compare the results of each candidate against the pre-established criteria. This crucial step will allow you to have a global and comparative view of the skills and qualities of each candidate. By proceeding fairly, you will be able to make objective and informed decisions.

It is essential to keep the objectives and requirements of the position in mind during this assessment phase. Identify the candidate who best matches the skills and qualities sought. Based on the results of the assessment, you will be able to determine which candidate is the most qualified and best suited for the position.

By following these methodical steps, you will create a perfect harmony between the talents revealed during the structured interviews. The decisions made will be objective, fair and in perfect harmony with the needs of your organization.


4 - How to succeed in organizing your interviews fairly between the candidates?


To organize your interviews fairly between your candidates, we invite you to follow our various tips :


  • Interview neutrality

When the time comes for the interview (in person or remotely), it is essential to demonstrate neutrality, impartiality and avoid any form of discrimination. Your objective : to give each candidate a chance, by putting aside prejudices and irrelevant questions for the assessment of essential skills for the position.

Become aware of your own biases and be careful not to let these unconscious influences guide your decisions. Every candidate deserves to be treated equally, regardless of their diversity, background or legally protected characteristics. It is in this state of mind that you will be able to truly value the skills and qualifications of candidates, giving them an equal chance to stand out.

Our advice : avoid personal or discriminatory questions. Simply assess the qualifications and skills necessary to excel in the position to be filled.

By embracing neutrality, you open the doors to fairness and justice in the evaluation process. Each candidate will have the opportunity to shine, show their full potential and stand out on the basis of their professional merits. You will thus contribute to building an inclusive and respectful recruitment environment, where only skills and qualifications will prevail. Stand out!


  • Consistency in assessment

When it comes to evaluating candidates, it is essential to ensure rigorous consistency. To do this, the use of a standardized evaluation grid is an essential cornerstone.

However, the consistency does not stop there. It is equally important that all evaluators follow the same evaluation methodology and use the same criteria. This avoids deviations in judgment and potential biases that could influence the results.

Our advice : to achieve this harmony, we recommend that you organize meetings beforehand, where the evaluators can meet, discuss and harmonize their expectations. These exchanges create a common language and ensure that all members of the recruitment team share a coherent vision of the assessment.


  • Transparency and communication with candidates: pillars of a fair recruitment process

It is essential to establish transparent communication with candidates throughout the recruitment process. From the start, it is important to clearly explain the evaluation process and the criteria used. This transparency promotes a mutual understanding of expectations, allowing candidates to prepare adequately.

After the interviews, it is essential to provide the candidates with constructive feedback. This involves highlighting their strengths, but also pointing out areas that need improvement. By focusing on the skills and qualifications required for the position, the feedback provided allows candidates to understand where they stand and how they can progress.

By embracing these principles of transparency and communication, you can create fair interviews that truly focus on candidate skills, while avoiding discrimination and bias. This reinforces the integrity of your recruitment process and promotes fair and objective assessment of candidates, ensuring a fair and respectful work environment for all.


5 - How to take notes during the interview and make an effective report?


Master your note taking and write impactful minutes with these insightful tips :


  • Effective note-taking methods

Above all else, use understandable abbreviations and acronyms to save time when taking notes. For example, use "NP" for "not relevant".

Organize your notes in a clear and structured way using headings, subheadings or numbers. This will help you quickly find important information when writing the report later.

After the interview, review your notes to ensure they are clear and understandable. If necessary, add additional information to complete or clarify certain points.

By following this, you will be able to capture essential information during interviews and facilitate the writing of accurate and useful reports later for the recruitment process.


  • Items to include in the interview report

Consider the candidate's non-verbal expressions and behaviors. Note gestures, attitude, eye contact, and other relevant nonverbal cues to assess communication and interpersonal skills.

If the candidate asked questions about the company or position, summarize those questions along with the answers you provided. This demonstrates the candidate's interest and commitment to the position.

If you observed any discrepancies or inconsistencies in the candidate's answers, note those as well. For example, if the skills mentioned in the CV do not match the answers given during the interview.

Finally, don't forget to include the interview date, candidate's name, position, and your own credentials as an assessor.

By bringing all of these elements together in a clear and comprehensive interview report, you will have an invaluable tool for evaluating candidates, making informed decisions and communicating effectively with other team members involved in the recruitment process.


  • Sharing of the report with the parties concerned

You will then have to present the report to your clients (if you are a firm), recruiters, managers and members of the recruitment team involved in the selection process. With this information, they will be better able to make an informed decision.

Use the report as a reference when making final hiring decisions. The information recorded in the report should serve as an objective basis for evaluating candidates and selecting the most suitable for the position.

By following these guidelines, you will be able to take notes effectively during interviews and produce complete and relevant reports to facilitate decision-making during the recruitment process.



To remember


Structured interviews turn out to be one of the first essential tools for carrying out the objective evaluation mission and therefore recruiting added value. These interviews make it possible to obtain relevant information on the skills and qualifications of candidates, while minimizing bias and discrimination.

preparation for the interview (defining the objectives, selecting the appropriate questions and developing a standardized evaluation grid) promotes a consistent and fair assessment of candidates. In addition, training in the structured interview method ensures consistent and fair application of this process.

During interviews, neutrality is paramount. By avoiding personal or discriminatory questions and by focusing on the skills and qualifications required, we ensure that evaluations are objective and based on measurable criteria.

Effective note-taking and writing a comprehensive report helps capture key information and makes it easier to compare candidates. Sharing these reports with relevant parties ensures transparency and clear communication throughout the recruitment process.

To conclude this guide, adopting structured interviews promotes objective assessments, reduces the bias inherent in unstructured interviews and increases the chances of finding the most qualified and suitable candidates for the job. This essential tool thus contributes to fairer, more equitable and more efficient recruitment processes. So, convinced that switching to structured interviews is the right method? If not, there are innovative ways to recruit.