Baani is a senior in college entering her first placement season. During her interview, Baani notices the recruiters are grading her answers against each question.
She recalls her professor saying it would be a structured interview with a predetermined list of questions for all candidates. Later, she discusses the interview with her friends and realizes they were, in fact, asked the same questions.
So, what exactly is a structured interview?
Definition Of A Structured Interview
A structured interview, as the name suggests, is a type of interview where recruiters prepare a list of the same questions for all candidates. They assess your suitability and fit for the role based on a scoring or grading system. Interviewers measure your responses against other candidates to determine who’s better for the role and their organization.
Structured interviews aren’t unlike other interviews except they’re more streamlined, with a fixed set of questions. The types of questions asked in a structured interview vary but most of them fall under behavioral, situational and job-specific questions.
Structured Interview Questions
Most interviews rely on a similar set of questions to judge whether a candidate is the right fit based on their expertise, skills and confidence.
Here are a few different types of structured interview questions and answers:
Behavioral interview questions usually begin with “Tell me about a time when…” or “Describe a situation…”. These questions require you to describe a time when you either overcame a challenge, faced a setback or failed at something. The purpose of this question is to assess how well you were able to tackle a challenging situation. Let’s take a look at some example questions:
Tell me about a time when you failed at something and how you handled it
Describe a situation where you faced your fears and crossed a hurdle
Tell me about a time when you were proud of yourself and why
Think of a situational question as a simulation or a run-through where you have to imagine yourself in a particular situation. For instance, how would you deal with an angry customer if you’re a sales executive in a retail store? Situational questions test a candidate’s presence of mind, critical thinking and problem-solving abilities. Let’s look at some structured interview examples:
How would you navigate conflict with a teammate or coworker
How would you sell our product to customers
How would you deal with a difficult manager
Questions related to your job help interviewers understand whether you know what you’re applying for. It’s a test of your abilities, skills and what you bring to the organization. The hiring manager or interviewer will assess your capacity to adjust to their organization’s culture, follow their processes and code of conduct. Some questions you can expect are:
What made you apply to this job?
Why do you want to work for us?
Are you comfortable working with [software]?
These are common structured interview questions you can expect. Structured interviews are popular for campus placements where organizations have to hire multiple candidates at the same time.
How To Prepare For A Structured Interview
With a little preparation, you can sail through a structured interview. You’ll be able to anticipate interview questions, deliver impactful responses and even ask follow-up questions.
Here’s how to prepare for a structured interview:
Identify Your Skills
The first step is to list your technical and foundational skills. You have to particularly highlight what you’re good at, with examples, when you interview for the role. Languages, certifications, internships, decision-making or critical thinking are some of the skills you can highlight.
Prepare And Practice Your Answers
It’s time for you to write down your answers to common structured interview questions. For instance, you can think about situations where you navigated challenges to answer the behavioral interview questions. Preparing your answers beforehand will prevent you from blanking out during the interview.
Work On Improvement Areas
While you practice your answers, you’ll likely identify where you’re lacking and where you need more practice. Identify your improvement areas—whether it’s how you sit, your expressions or your tone, pitch and voice—and work on improving them.
With preparation and practice, you can ace any interview, be it structured or otherwise. All you need is the determination to do a good job and the confidence to speak up!
Get The Job Of Your Choice With Harappa
Harappa’s Ace The Interview course will teach you how to frame answers to commonly-asked interview questions. Learn about frameworks like the STAR (Situation, Task, Action and Result) approach to help you crack a structured interview. You’ll be able to overcome your nervousness and develop the confidence to respond to questions. Our stellar faculty will enhance your learning experience with personal interview anecdotes and tips on how to ace your interview!
Explore topics such as What are the Common Questions to Ask an Interviewer, Top Interview Skills, Tips for Interview & How to Prepare for Mock Interview from Harappa Diaries and crack your next interview.
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