What Is a Structured Interview? (With Example Questions)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 20 September 2022

Published 27 September 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Interviewers are always on the lookout for better ways to recruit the best talents to their teams. With minimal time and increased competition, structured format interviewing techniques are becoming popular in the recruitment world. Learning how to tackle this type of interview can open up new opportunities and possibilities for career aspirants. In this article, we discuss what a structured interview is, explore a step-by-step guide for how to prepare for these interviews and review some example interview questions.

Understanding What A Structured Interview Is

A structured interview involves asking a fixed set of questions in the same format and order to all candidates attending the interview. These interviews may begin just like how a traditional interview does but may focus more on a fixed set of questions rather than specific experience-based questions. The responses of candidates are recorded and graded against a suitable scoring system. Asking the same set of questions in the same order helps the recruiter collect similar information from candidates in a uniform context and thus grade them in an unbiased manner.

This type of interview is beneficial to both recruiters and candidates. The interview experience is consistent and less prone to errors. The interview process is also likely to be unbiased as the recruiter is reading from a script of preset questions. The recruiter can easily compare the responses of candidates and grade them accordingly, and thus ensure an effective interview through highly relevant and important questions only.

Differences Between Structured, Semi-Structured And Unstructured Interviews

Interviews can be structured, semi-structured or even unstructured. Structured formats, as discussed above, is based purely on a predetermined set of questions in a specific order and format. On the other hand, an unstructured interview is spontaneous and conversational in nature. While this is a time-tested and traditional interviewing method, it is not very useful for comparing the performance of candidates.

A semi-structured interview combines the best of both interviewing formats. It uses the organised format of a structured question list to evaluate candidates equally but also adds a human touch via a set of questions that are not predetermined. Most interviews conducted by companies are examples of semi-structured interviews.

Read more: Different Types of Interviews and How To Prepare for Them

Types Of Questions Asked In A Structured Interview

Interviewers may ask various types of questions, depending on what information about the candidate they are seeking. Questions asked in this type of interview can be used to evaluate different aspects of a candidate, such as technical knowledge, behavioural skills and teamwork skills. Here are some common types of questions asked in a structured format interview:

1. Job-specific questions

Job-specific questions mainly aim at assessing the candidate's technical skills and work experience related to the open position. These questions are used to evaluate if the candidate has the skills and abilities to perform the duties involved in the job. Job-specific questions may be related to core technical skills, abilities or the candidate's experience in their former role.

2. Behavioural questions

Behavioural interview questions focus on a candidate's professional experience and mental aptitude. These questions tend to discuss aspects like strengths, weaknesses, successes, failures, challenges and the nature of a candidate's professional relationships. These types of interview questions seek to understand a candidate and their experience level.

3. Situational questions

Situational interview questions are used to evaluate a candidate based on how they would respond to various scenarios and situational challenges at work. These questions aim to assess the candidate's critical-thinking skills, presence of mind and problem-solving skills. Typically, a set of scenarios are presented to the interviewee, and their responses help the recruiter judge their suitability for the current role.

Related: Top 16 Interview Questions and Answers

Examples Of Interview Questions

Interviews can have a mix of various types of questions depending on the role and position being offered. Understanding the types of questions that may be asked is helpful during preparation for a structured interview. Here are a few examples of the three types of interview questions:

Examples of job-specific interview questions

Job-specific questions pertain to your skills and work experience relevant to the job. This may include questions relating to hard skills or technical skills or generic questions about your work experience. Here are some examples of job-specific interview questions:

  • What is your preferred programming language and why?

  • Explain your roles and responsibilities at your last job

  • Why did you apply for this job?

  • What excites you about a career in this field?

  • What are you looking for in this new opportunity?

  • What can we expect from you in the first three months?

  • Why are you quitting your current job?

  • What software tools and platforms did you use in your last job?

  • On a scale of one to five, how proficient are you in this technology?

Examples of behavioural interview questions

Behavioural questions seek to understand you as an individual. The questions are designed to extract information about your personality and traits so that the company can assess if you are a good fit for the role. Here are a few examples of behavioural interview questions:

  • Describe a situation where you exhibited leadership skills at work

  • How you would handle a disagreement with your boss?

  • What was your biggest challenge at work and how did you handle it?

  • What are your skills and strengths?

  • Explain your most rewarding professional experience?

  • How do you handle mistakes at work?

  • How fast did you adapt to a change at your last company?

  • Have you ever had to manage multiple responsibilities at work?

  • Explain how you work under pressure.

  • Tell us about a time you had to learn something quickly at work

Examples of situational interview questions

Situational interview questions are designed to uncover a deeper understanding of candidate competency. They offer an interesting perspective on various aspects of your personality and highlight qualities you may or may not have. Here are examples of situational interview questions:

  • How would you write to a dissatisfied customer?

  • How would you manage and motivate an unmotivated employee?

  • A team member talks to you about a conflict they had with a peer. How would you tackle this situation?

  • How will you respond to criticism from the client?

  • Your colleague is uncooperative. How would you handle this?

  • If you are hired, how would you plan your first 30 days in the company?

  • Your co-worker just made a serious mistake. How would you handle this?

  • Your colleague and you have a major disagreement. How would you tackle this situation?

  • The task that you have been assigned requires more time than allotted. How would you handle this scenario?

Related: 23 Interview Tips: How to Get the Job

How Do I Prepare For A Structured Interview?

Follow these steps to prepare for a structured format interview:

1. Do your research

Before the interview, do your homework. Visit the company website and learn more about what the company does. Read the job description thoroughly and ensure that you understand the recruiter's expectations for this position.

2. Prepare answers to common questions

Take some time to list down questions that the interviewer is most likely to ask. Read the job description thoroughly to understand what the interviewer might ask during the interview. Once you have a list of likely questions, come up with compelling and smart answers to them. Make your answers crisp and to the point, yet cover everything you would like to highlight.

3. Polish your technical skills

This is perhaps a very important aspect of preparation in an interview, especially if it is for a technical role. You should ensure that you brush up on your technical skills and ensure all of the relevant job-related information you have is on hand. Being confident and knowledgeable about your skills gives you extra points while attending a technical interview.

4. Use examples to instantiate your answers

Sometimes, it is important to support your answers with examples. This adds much more clarity and depth to your points and gives the recruiter a deeper understanding of what you are trying to convey. Support your answers with vivid examples and real work-related scenarios to explain things better to the recruiter.

5. Pay attention to the interviewer

Make sure that you are actively listening to your interviewer throughout the interview process. Ensure that you do not interrupt them at any point and understand their questions fully. Paying attention to non-verbal cues and maintaining good eye contact can help you stay in sync with your interviewer.

6. Take your time

Take your time to fully understand the interviewer's question, collect your thoughts, and then, respond accordingly. It is okay to pause and reflect on the question being asked, or to ask for further clarity. Maintain a comfortable pace while answering the interview questions with steady eye contact to win the trust and confidence of the recruiter.


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