If job interviews, or just the thought of one, scares you and makes you nervous, you’re not alone. You’re supposed to talk to someone you’ve never met before, that too for the purpose of getting a job—you’re allowed to feel a little uneasy and anxious.
What you can do, however, is to prepare and practice to ease those nerves. If you’re confident about what to say, you’ll find it easier to tackle even the most challenging questions.
One way is to get comfortable with the kind of questions you’ll be asked. But this is relevant if your interview is structured. What if your interview is unstructured or without prearranged questions? Let’s find out the difference between structured and unstructured interview so you can do your best to go in prepared.
What Are Structured And Unstructured Interview Types?
A structured interview is one where the interviewer prepares a list of common interview questions for all candidates. It helps them compare answers and judge whether you’re the right fit for the role. It’s an effective, unbiased and productive way to assess a candidate’s suitability.
An unstructured interview is one where there are no prearranged questions and the interviewer bases questions on your responses. It’s more like a conversation where you have the chance to talk about why you want to work with them, your skills and abilities. It’s flexible, more informal and offers a unique opportunity to put forth your ideas.
Examples Of Structured And Unstructured Interview Questions
Structured interview questions are common for every candidate. They’re even asked in the same order, which is helpful when there are several candidates for the same role. For instance, it may be campus interviews or group interviews for an entry-level position.
Some structured interview questions are:
Tell us something about yourself
What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses?
Why do you want to work for us?
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Unstructured interview questions, on the other hand, differ with each candidate. The questions are based on your experience and most importantly, your responses. If you’ve worked on a particular project with a non-profit, the interviewer will likely ask you to elaborate. This may not be the case for someone who’s worked with a multinational.
You may be asked to discuss a problem you solved at work. In this case, a follow-up question may be “how did you solve this problem and why did you choose this particular method?”. Another probe can be “were the results what you expected? If not, what do you think went wrong?”
These types of questions help the interviewer understand the kind of person you are, if you have the right skills for the job and if you can think on your feet.
Both structured interview and unstructured interview questions assess your suitability for the job role. Preparation and practice will help you make the most of your interview.
Difference Between Structured Interview And Unstructured Interview
Structured and unstructured interviews differ on the basis of questions asked. If you’re sitting for a campus interview, you can expect a structured interview. However, if you’re interviewing for a specialist role like marketing or sales associate or writer, you may have an unstructured interview.
Here are some of the differences between these two interview types:
One features a set of fixed questions for every candidate while the other doesn’t have a prearranged list, instead the questions are based on your answers
Structured interview questions make it easier for the interviewer to make a decision about a candidate, while unstructured interview questions deliver more subjective results
For structured interviews, parameters are decided in advance to assess candidates but in unstructured interviews, the interview may go in any direction
Structured interviews are more formal, with little room to give creative answers. But unstructured interviews are flexible, more informal and free-flowing
Structured interviews are standardized while unstructured interviews are personalized
Whether you face a structured or unstructured interview, you have an equal chance of cracking your interview. What you need is to be confident while answering. Take some time before responding to truly understand what you’ve been asked. If you can align your responses to the job role and highlight your strengths, you’ll be able to do your best.
Harappa’s Ace The Interview course will teach you how to answer common and unexpected interview questions. You’ll learn how to make up winning answers on the spot to keep the conversation going. Prepare with Harappa and leave a lasting impression on the interviewer to land the job you always wanted!
Explore topics such as General HR Interview Questions, Unstructured Interview, Semi-Structured Interview, How to Answer "Tell Me About a Time When You Failed" & How to Prepare for a Mock Interview from Harappa Diaries and ace your next interview.
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