Structured Interviews: A Practical Guide

January 7, 2014 | U.S. Office of Personnel Management
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The interview is popular because it is more personal than traditional selection assessments (e.g., 

written tests) and because it can be used to evaluate job characteristics not easily measured with 

other procedures (e.g., Oral Communication and Interpersonal Skills). 


Interviews are typically used for one of two purposes in the Federal Government. First, the 

interview may be used as part of the formal selection process in which candidates are screened or 

ranked based on their scores. Second, a “selecting official's interview” may be used to verify 

candidates’ qualifications for a job after they have been rated using other assessment methods, 

but prior to making a hiring decision. In a selecting official’s interview, candidates’ responses 

are typically not scored. 


Structured vs. Unstructured Interviews 


Employment interviews can be either structured or unstructured. Generally speaking, structured 

interviews ensure candidates have equal opportunities to provide information and are assessed 

accurately and consistently.