Structured Interview Training

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Structured Interview Training

Systematic and objective methods to evaluate candidates have become more important today than ever before. There are several contributing factors to this, with the top three being:

  • Economic changes, workforce shortages, and increasing inflation have compelled companies to adopt a more expansive talent acquisition strategy, searching globally rather than solely locally for talent.
  • Job boards such as Glassdoor, LinkedIn, CareerBuilder, and Indeed provide valuable insights into company culture and the interview process. They do so by showcasing employee and candidate reviews, which enhance the transparency of each company's hiring procedures.
  • Compliance has evolved. What was once a core focus for the most pioneering innovators in a field - maintaining a diverse and inclusive hiring process - has now transitioned into standard practice across many companies worldwide.

These factors add richness to an organizational structure- bringing new skills, perspectives, and cultural backgrounds to your team, but they also add complexity to the recruitment process. As such, structured interview training has become a critical tool to ensure fair and unbiased interviews that align with a company's strategic goals and compliance standards.

What is a Structured Interview?

A structured interview functions as a standardized playbook for the hiring process. It involves a predetermined set of questions for all job applicants, aiming to eliminate biases and prevent decisions made on intuition. Structured interviews don't rely on gut feelings. Instead, they use a fair scoring system to assess answers to structured interview questions and decide if the candidate is a good fit for the job.

What Is The Primary Purpose of Structured Interviews?

The primary purpose of structured interview training is to ensure you have a consistent framework for evaluating candidates. This framework allows you to take an objective and data-driven approach to hiring. Structured interviews remove the ambiguity that comes from traditional interview processes, where each interviewer may take a different approach, asking different interview questions, evaluating each candidate by slightly different criteria, and standardizing the process- aligning all candidates to a common baseline.

If you're new to the topic of structured interviews and would like to see how Pillar's interview intelligence software can structure and automate many aspects of your interview process, chat with someone from our team. We'd love to show you how these tools can help you drive meaningful improvements to the candidate experience (CX) and help you make better hiring decisions.

The Importance Of Structured Interview Training

Often attributed to Thomas Edison, the Structured interview process was allegedly invented when Mr. Edison had hundreds of applicants desiring to join his laboratory and needed a solution to assess and select the most qualified candidates. This laboratory was responsible for creating the lightbulb, the microphone, the movie camera, and the phonograph - inventions that were revolutionary in the early 1900s.

Like Edison, today's innovators and hiring managers are tasked with finding the top talent that will drive their companies forward. However, with a globalized workforce and increased competition for skilled workers, it has become imperative to find an efficient and objective way to evaluate candidates. These factors highlight the importance of structured interview training.

Initiatives that stand the test of time all start with a top-down approach. For structured interview training to be truly effective, senior leadership must believe in, endorse, and even participate in the process. This commitment signals to the entire organization the value and importance of fair and unbiased hiring practices to company growth. When leaders get involved, they not only set an example but also ensure that the structured interview process aligns with the company's strategic goals and values. This is why interview training is so important.

How to Conduct Interview Training for Hiring Managers

Once you've achieved executive buy-in, you can begin implementing structured interview training for your hiring managers. Here are some key steps to follow:

  1. Identify the skills and qualities needed for the role: Before beginning any hiring process, it's crucial to identify the specific skills and qualities that are required for the job. This will help guide your interview questions and evaluation criteria.
  2. Create a standardized set of interview questions: As mentioned earlier, the goal of a structured interview is to eliminate biases and focus on objective assessments. This can be achieved by creating a set of standardized questions that are asked to all candidates.
  3. Train hiring managers on how to evaluate responses: It's important for hiring managers to understand how to effectively evaluate candidate responses based on predetermined criteria, rather than relying on gut feelings or personal biases.
  4. Conduct mock interviews: To ensure that hiring managers are comfortable conducting structured interviews, it can be helpful to conduct mock interviews with sample candidates. This will allow them to practice asking standardized questions and evaluating responses.
  5. Monitor and provide feedback: It's essential to monitor the interview process and provide feedback to hiring managers to continuously improve and refine the structured interview process.

So if you're looking to improve your recruitment process and make more informed hiring decisions, these five steps are a great place to begin. Interview training for hiring managers will have a trickle-down effect on your team and panel interviewers - which is what we're going to cover next.

Role Of Hiring Managers In Structured Interviews

The trickle-down effect is an important concept to understand when it comes to structured interviews. Interview training for hiring managers is critical because they're key stakeholders on the team. As gatekeepers of talent, hiring managers play a crucial role in selecting the right candidates. They conduct interviews, evaluate responses based on company standards, and assess candidate skills effectively based on job requirements.

But even more importantly, they set the tone for all interviews company-wide. This involves recognizing hiring trends within the company, crafting diversity and inclusion strategies, and analyzing data that shapes the materials and guides for structured interview training on their team.

It's said that President Harry S. Truman used to have a sign on his desk that said, "The Buck Stops Here," meaning that he was ultimately responsible for the decisions made by his team. Similarly, hiring managers are responsible for the development of their team and ultimately the hiring choices of their company. This illustrates the role of hiring managers in structured interviews, making them key change-makers in an organization's hiring process.

Here’s a structured interview guide template that you can use to build your hiring manager training from:

  1. Introduction to the concept of structured interviews and its benefits.
  2. Importance of leadership buy-in and endorsement for successful implementation.
  3. Identifying job requirements and creating standardized interview questions.
  4. Training on evaluating responses objectively, avoiding biases, and assessing skills effectively.
  5. Conducting mock interviews for practice and feedback.
  6. Monitoring and continuously improving the structured interview process.
  7. Understanding the role of each interviewer in the hiring process and their responsibility and role in the interview.
  8. Providing resources and support for developing diversity and inclusion strategies within structured interviews.
  9. Reinforcing the importance of fair and unbiased hiring practices for company growth.
  10. Encouraging open communication and continuous feedback to improve the interview process.

With these 10 steps, you can shift your entire hiring process to one that‘s smooth, effective, and delivers an excellent candidate experience.

Techniques In Structured Interview Training

Now that we've covered the importance of hiring managers, structuring your interviews, and using structured interview questions, let's talk about how to equip your team.

Empowering your team with the right techniques in structured interview training is a prerequisite for creating an effective, unbiased interview process. Central to structured interviews is the development of situational and behavioral-based interview questions. Often these two words are used interchangeably, but they’re very different. Behavioral interview questions ask a candidate to describe work experiences from their past and how they handled them, and situational interview questions ask the candidate how they’d imagine they’d handle a situation that they’re facing (future state), either way, both questions dive into a candidate's critical thinking skills and past experience which will help you assess their fit for your team. Another core technique in structured interview training involves learning to use the STAR method for formulating questions to ask your candidates. S.T.A.R. stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result and helps interviewers structure their questions and assess candidate responses consistently.

Next, the use of candidate scoring systems like scoring rubrics as an unbiased assessment method. Creating a set criterion (rubric) for evaluating everything from a candidate's skills, competencies, and past experience to their responses to interview questions allows you to compare each candidate objectively. This helps to minimize personal biases and ensures each candidate is assessed equally based on how well they meet the established criteria.

Finally, incorporating role-playing exercises into training sessions can really boost interviewers' questioning and assessment skills. When they practice in a controlled environment, hiring managers can fine-tune their ability to ask insightful questions, listen actively, and assess candidate responses accurately. Plus, getting feedback from peers can help them refine their technique even more, making sure they're all set to carry out structured interviews that are fair, efficient, and great at identifying the top candidates for a role.

Implementing each step from this article will help you make massive leaps toward more informed unbiased hiring decisions. But no hiring process is complete without great technology and that’s why Pillar built interview intelligence software powered by AI. With interview insights, unbiased candidate scoring, and a library of more than 1000 structured interview questions to choose from, you can bring structure to your entire interview process and make more informed hiring decisions. Want to see how it works? Book a demo of Pillar today and discover how you can leverage the power of interview intelligence to find top talent for your team.