How structured interviews improve the hiring process
Implementing a structured interviewing process benefits all parties
involved. Research by Google's hiring team showed that structured
interviews created a better experience
for both candidates and their interviewers:
The team has seen an uptick in candidate satisfaction in feedback
scores for structured interview candidates. Interestingly, scores
indicated an especially big difference in candidate satisfaction
rates when comparing rejected candidates. Rejected candidates who
had a structured interview were 35% happier than those who did not
have a structured interview.
One of the most surprising advantages of structured interviewing is
a reduction in hiring bias. Feedback
offered to candidates is based solely on their performance — not the
interviewer's potential biases. By using pre-established interview
criteria, all candidates are held to the same standards and not
judged on how well they respond to a specific interviewer's style or
The structured format also saves time. Google's
research showed that pre-created questions, guides, and rubrics
reduced the interview length by an average of 40 minutes.
Interviewers also reported that they felt better prepared, thanks to
the materials they received in advance.
research into 19 different assessment techniques demonstrated
that structured interviewing is 26% more effective at predicting a
candidate's future success at an organization. The format is
stronger at predicting success than 17 of the other factors studied,
including work experience (which can only predict success 3% of the
time), references (7%), and unstructured interviews (14%).
How to develop a structured interview process
With all of the benefits of structured interviews, you may wonder
why more companies don't use them. The answer is a simple one: They
appear difficult to implement. But we've identified four steps to
help you start developing effective structured interviews:
- Compile high-quality interview questions relevant to each role.
- Create an interview evaluation form so interviewers can evaluate candidates fairly.
- Create a grading rubric to define the criteria used in the form.
- Train interviewers on the structured interviewing process.
Here's a breakdown of each step required to build your structured
interview process and implement them smoothly.
1. Compile relevant questions
Your interview questions must be relevant to the role and help
realistically evaluate the skills needed for a candidate to succeed.
Instead of judging responses as “correct” or “incorrect,” you may
want to see how candidates develop solutions to problems.
The questions asked should generate answers that help show how
candidates think through a resolution to a challenge. By contrast,
simple yes and no answers provide very little insight into the candidate's
actual on-the-job performance.
Google's has a
two-part method for developing effective questions for use in
First, use a prompt to introduce a realistic scenario. For
example, if you're interviewing a marketer, you might ask: “How
would you approach developing our marketing strategy?”
Second, ask follow-up questions to pull out more details and
evaluate strengths of attributes not covered by the initial prompt.
For example, for the marketer interview, follow-up questions might
be: “What would you do if a coworker disagreed with your strategy?”
This would help you evaluate the candidate's teamwork skills. Or:
“How would you implement the strategy across the marketing
department?” This would allow for an evaluation of their leadership
Compile these questions (and any follow-up questions) somewhere that
is accessible to all interviewers and hiring managers — for example,
in a shared document or within your applicant
tracking system (ATS).
2. Create a standard interview evaluation form
evaluation form is used to record interviewers' feedback. Your
organization should customize this form for each role by using a
standard set of evaluation criteria as well as an evaluation scale.
The scale used on evaluation forms is usually something like “poor”
through “excellent” or “F” through “A,” but it should be customized
based on what your team prefers. It also should match what is
ultimately entered into your ATS.
The form you create should be used in tandem with a grading rubric,
which you'll create as the next step in this process.
3. Create a grading rubric
The strength of an interview evaluation form ultimately depends on
the strength of its rubric, which is what defines its rating scale.
Creating and using a grading rubric will make your evaluations
stronger and more meaningful by eliminating inconsistencies between
Your rubric should define each grade on your evaluation form in
detail. For example, in the category of critical-thinking skills,
your rubric may look something like this:
“Poor” represents a candidate not showing any critical-thinking skills.
“Fair” means they show some critical-thinking skills, but not
enough to succeed in the role.
“Good” means they show critical-thinking skills and are able to
somewhat elaborate upon their thought processes verbally.
“Excellent” means they think critically about all situations and
are able to clearly elaborate upon their thought processes verbally
and in writing.
Get started on
your own rubric with this sample sheet. Create a rubric that
matches each interview evaluation form, and keep all the forms in a
shared, easily accessible location (like a shared network folder or
4. Train interviewers
Finally, training is
necessary to help interviewers understand not only how the
structured interview process works but also why the structure is so
important. Our internal research at Google shows that interactions
with interviewers are the top factor in
candidate feedback about the quality of their hiring experience.
It's for this reason that we believe everyone should understand how
critical their role is in making the hiring experience a good one.
Interviewers can be trained on the structured process in a few
Shadowing other experienced interviewers
Practicing mock interviews among themselves, with a member of
HR helping out as needed
Watching or listening to recordings of interviews using the
Using cheat sheets or reading evaluation forms, like this
interviewer training cheat sheet
Finally, remember to provide feedback to interviewers — both from
you and from the candidates. This feedback will help interviewers
improve how they use the structured format in the long term.