structured interview process

The Structured Interview: How Google Finds Talent

Now more than ever, people are looking to join organizations that honor them with a competitive salary and exceptional benefits. Tech companies understand that their most valuable asset is human capital. Finding the right people and putting them in the right roles have become paramount. And that process starts with the interview.

Google utilizes a structured interview process – using the same interview questions, grading candidate responses on the same scale, and making hiring decisions based on consistent, predetermined qualifications. This process is favored for its ability to save time, improve the candidate experience, and reduce bias. And this format has proven to be one of the strongest predictors of a candidate’s future success.

A structured interview essentially meets two specific criteria:

  1. It has a set of questions that do not vary from interview to interview – questions are determined in advance by hiring managers and different sets of questions can be used for different roles.
  2. It uses the same evaluation criteria to assess the candidate’s responses to those questions – a “scoring system” is defined in advance and can range from “poor” to “excellent” or letters from “F” to “A”. 

Structured interviews can work for organizations of any size, from a small team up to the federal government. Structured interviews typically feature job-specific, behavioral and situational questions. They help businesses assess whether candidates have the technical skills, education, experience and personality traits to excel in the vacant position and workplace culture. Following are some examples of structured interview questions.

Job-Specific Structured Interview Questions

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of accounting software you used in your last job?
  • Are you comfortable using a telephone with several lines and handling high call volume?
  • What do you like and dislike about working in advertising?
  • What is your preferred programming language and why?
  • What steps do you take when approaching a new project?

Behavioral Structured Interview Questions

  • What are you most proud of in your career?
  • What was the most important goal you reached in your career? How did you achieve this?
  • Can you tell me about the best manager you worked for?
  • What has your biggest professional challenge been?
  • Can you describe a time you identified a problem in your department and how you resolved it?

Situational Structured Interview Questions

  • How would you handle a customer unhappy with the service they received?
  • How would you prioritize multiple assignments from different clients?
  • How would you manage an unmotivated employee?
  • What steps would you take to make an important decision at work?
  • What would you do if you were assigned to work with a difficult client?

How can your company implement a structured interview process?

  1. Create interview questions relevant to each role.
  2. Create an interview evaluation form so interviewers can evaluate candidates fairly.
  3. Create a grading system to define the criteria used in the form.
  4. Train interviewers on the structured interviewing process.

By implementing this structured process, you’re not only improving the experience for the people directly involved in hiring — you’re improving it for your entire organization. This format ensures that you hire the strongest, most suitable candidates, and that’s a win on every level.
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