The Structured Interview

A structured interview is…..well, structured. The interviewer will ask the same set of questions, in the same order, to all candidates. Generally this happens to a degree most of the time naturally but this type of interview takes it a step further.

Also known as a Competency based interview, it helps the interviewer to ensure they tick all the boxes by looking at all the core competency areas for the job. The structured interview is all about measuring all the right things against the same yardstick.

To make sure that yardstick is the right one, employers put in a lot of time to decide on the core competencies for the role, and the questions to use to assess you in them.

Why do employers use them?

In the old days you might have got by with wearing a sharp suit and your best smile. Gradually though employers have wised up to the value of investing more in the process of selecting the right staff.. Here are the main reasons why you may find yourself facing a structured interview;

1)They focus on core competencies

Sometimes the best performer in an interview isn’t the most suited to the role, but the best at appearing to be. The outcome of an interview can be affected by a number of factors: the first impression you create, the way you present yourself, even your handshake! By focusing on the core competencies the emphasis is placed on the most important thing; your ability to do the job.

2)They are fair

Since the focus is more firmly on whether you can do the job, it is seen as a fair interview. Your responses will be scored on a sliding scale according to how you compare for each competency. The candidate with the closest overall profile fit will be selected.

3)They provide proof

The structured interview gives you plenty of chances to show why you are suited to the job. The questions will look at four areas:

Who you are

They will ask questions about your education and work history. Do you have the right kind of industry and work experience?

Skills/what you know

Do you have the relevant skills for the role?


Past performance is the best indicator of future behaviour. What have you achieved? They will look for examples from your working life that are relevant to the role you are interviewing for.

What you would do? – how do you think?

How will you perform in the role if successful? They will ask you how you would respond to an imaginary scenario. Your aim is to show you understand what would be required of you, and what it takes to deliver in the job.

Here are my top tips for the structured interview;

Be prepared

They have put in the effort to be prepared to ask you the right questions. Make sure you are ready to answer them.

Know your role

What will they be looking for from you? If they are measuring you against the ideal candidate you need to make sure you know what it is you are trying to be. What do they want to know about you? Do your research and find out about the company and the role.

Know your story

You will be expected to provide proof/examples – know how you wil talk through your relevant work history. Be ready for your interview by preparing your answers.

Make every answer count

Every question is important and has been included for a reason. Make sure you understand what a question means, and what they are looking for from you.

Your answers will be scored so use the star technique to make sure you hit the mark. For more on how to answer questions - click here

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