Unstructured Interviews Are Not Reliable

Unstructured Interviews

Organizations recruit their employees with either a structured interviews or an unstructured interviews. Though the structured interview process has many advantages, often times, management and human resources will use the unstructured format.

The problem with this is that there are a lot of potential sources of error, which arise out of the use of the unstructured interview format. ​Understanding the possible errors will do two things. One, it will prepare one to conduct a proper structured interview. And two, it will provide insight into human decision-making. Here are some potential sources of error with the unstructured interview format.

  • People assume that they have good intuition, but they may have weak intuition.
  • Some of the questions asked by interviewers are not relevant to the job being applied for.
  • Information presented at the onset of the interview may carry more weight than information presented throughout. Making period assessments would yield more accurate results.
  • The recruiter may judge candidates by comparing them with previously met candidates. If the previous candidate was very good, the current candidate may be judged worse than they otherwise would have been, or vice versa.
  • Positive and negative information are not treated equally. People tend to place more emphasis on negative information. Computer based interviews can result in a more accurate picture.
  • Candidates that are similar to the interviewer have a greater chance of being rated higher on the rating scale.
    There is an appearance bias. Candidate s that are lean, dress well, attractive will receive a higher score over a less attractive and less well-dressed candidate.
  • There are physical cues, which will convey nonverbal information. This information will be used in the decision making process.

When it comes to unstructured interviews, it should be clear that there are many possible sources of errors with the process. Decisions on hiring should be based on facts, evidence, analysis, comparisons, and the use of expert judgment; not things such as eye contact and attractiveness.


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