Structure vs. unstructured interviews

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A job interview can contain many types of questions – open ended and close ended, brief or descriptive questions. The interview process depends upon the job description and company’s policies. Therefore, both structured and unstructured types of interviews can be conducted by the employers. The interview process can start with close-ended questions and can reach to open-ended ones. Let’s find out the difference between structured and unstructured interviews.

A structured interview is a standardized form of interview where the questions and their order remain the same for every applicant. This ensures fairness and equality and reduces biasness. The comparisons between the answers can be made easily. Whereas in unstructured interviews the questions can be changed according to the respondent’s intelligence and understanding about the subject. Here it becomes slightly difficult to draw comparisons between the answers given by different respondents.

The questions asked during a structured interview are close- ended and interviewers generally limit themselves to a certain extent. Where as the questions asked in an unstructured interview, are qualitative and open-ended and interviewers ask specially designed questions to know the candidate’s depth of knowledge.

The structured interviews are conducted in such a manner that questions are responded in same context. The questions asked are generally quantitative in nature. During an unstructured interview, the interviewer lets the conversation flow freely and asks such questions which make the interviewee think and analyze a particular situation.

The questions in a structured interview are straight forward and the flow of conversation can be easily controlled. It ensures equal opportunity to all the candidates as it includes the same questions for all the interviewees. In an unstructured interview flow of conversation depends upon the interviewer and the interviewee because the answers are not brief and to the point. The interviewee is expected to reveal more about him so that interviewer can judge if he is the suitable candidate for the job.

Whatever be the form – it always helps to know and use right interview etiquette.

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