The Importance of Structured Interviews, Next Steps, and Feedback

2022 CandE Report Takeaway #7.

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Feb 23, 2023
This article is part of a series called 2022 CandE Report Takeaways.

North American employers took a backward step last year in delivering fair and respectful candidate experiences, as shown by Talent Board’s latest benchmark research. Only 56% of organizations utilized a structured interview process — down from 61% in 2021.

Structured interviews rely on a predetermined set of questions asked consistently across all candidates and job types, along with a single ranking scale applied to each candidate’s responses. Job candidates overwhelmingly prefer structured interviews to unstructured ones, feeling they offer the best chance to be judged fairly against their competitors for a role. Savvy employers also favor structured interviews, as they can potentially reduce bias and are more predictive of actual job performance.

Unstructured interviews, in contrast, forego pre-determined questions, rating scales, or even uniform discussion guidelines. Conducting a free-form interview of this kind increases potential inconsistencies in the questions asked and how candidates’ responses are interpreted and judged. Ultimately, unstructured interviews can lead to hiring decisions based on interviewers’ gut-feelings and emotions, while structured interviews support data-driven hiring.

Structured interviews also offer employers a powerful competitive advantage, particularly in our current talent market where nearly half of the nation’s workers are looking for a new job or planning to. In a market like this, employers have a golden opportunity to hire the new talent they so desperately need — but only if they’re delivering experiences candidates view as fair and respectful.

Few things turn a candidate experience sour faster than an interview that smacks of bias or a nebulous judgment process. It’s worth noting that companies delivering 2022’s highest-rated candidate experiences (CandE Award winners) conducted structured interviews more than all employers combined (63% versus 56%).

The Benefits of Solid Communication and Follow Up

The benefits of structured interviews aside, there are equally significant benefits in communicating and following up with candidates after an interview.

Talent Board’s 2022 data shows that candidates’ willingness to refer others to an employer was 71% higher when they were provided with information on their status and job fit post-interview. And when specific feedback was given to finalist candidates, their willingness to refer others increased by nearly 50%, while their willingness to increase their relationship with the employer (apply again, rate their experiences highly, purchase the company’s products/services, etc.) increased 40%.

Once again, it’s worth pointing out that the companies providing 2022’s highest-rated candidate experiences all provide some level of feedback to candidates (particularly finalists in the interview stage), and CandE Award winning companies gave 14% more feedback overall than all other companies combined. In addition, recruiters and hiring managers at these companies establish follow-up dates with finalists and keep those dates 15% more often than all other companies combined.

As I noted above, as challenging as the current talent market is, it also holds a golden opportunity for employers looking to hire new talent. But to seize this opportunity, they need to deliver candidate experiences that job seekers feel are fair and respectful. Structured interviews, consistent communication, and guaranteed follow up convey your fairness and respect for candidates.

Download our complete 2022 benchmark research report here, and check back at this blog soon for my next post. In it, I’ll dive deeper into the power and importance of offering and asking candidates for feedback. You can also learn more about and participate in our 2023 benchmark research program here.

Be safe and well.

This article is part of a series called 2022 CandE Report Takeaways.
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