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Go Beyond The Gut Feeling: Hire Smarter with Structured Interviews 

In 1979, the University of Texas Medical School at Houston faced a unique challenge. After a rigorous selection process, they had identified their class of 150 students. However, a sudden legislative mandate forced them to expand the class size by 50. The additional students? Those who were initially rejected based on impressions from unstructured interviews. This unexpected turn of events presented a fascinating opportunity for researchers. They could now compare the performance of the originally accepted students with those who were initially deemed unsuitable for the program. The results were quite surprising: there was no significant difference in the academic performance of either group. 

According to Cambridge University, numerous large-scale studies have highlighted the limitations of unstructured interviews in accurately predicting job performance. However, despite this compelling evidence, unstructured interviews remain a predominant tool for many screening decisions. Why do we cling to a method, especially when alternative tools like standardized tests and structured interviews can significantly reduce hiring bias? 

The answer likely lies in a combination of factors. Firstly, managers tend to overestimate their ability to make accurate judgments based on intuition. The belief that one can “read between the lines” and instinctively assess a candidate’s potential for success sounds great, but the data begs to differ. Studies on interviewee inconsistencies suggest that any differences in effectiveness are likely due to random chance rather than actual skill. 

Secondly, managers want to get a comprehensive picture of the individual, and unstructured interviews seem to do that. The reality, however, is that these methods can be susceptible to biases, leading to judgments that are more about personality or cultural fit than actual job-related skills. 

Fortunately, there are better ways to hire. 

Structured interviews offer a powerful alternative. This data-driven approach utilizes standardized questions and clear evaluation criteria to assess a candidate’s skills and experience objectively. Think of it as a well-defined roadmap for the interview process. It utilizes a set of carefully crafted standardized questions that delve into both situational and behavioral scenarios relevant to the position. Methods like the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) technique encourage insightful responses that truly showcase a candidate’s problem-solving abilities and achievements.

Ready to build a high-performing team?  Ditch the hiring gamble and embrace structured interviews! The resources below will help you get started:

By implementing structured interviews, you can ensure you’re attracting top talent, making informed hiring decisions, and building a team positioned for long-term success.

By Vibha Sathesh Kumar
Vibha Sathesh Kumar