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How to Conduct a Structured Job Interview
By: Sharmain Zain
Reading time: 6 min

No matter what industry your business operates in, structured job interviews have proven to be twice as effective as their unstructured counterparts. Let us share six simple yet effective steps to holding a structured job interview.

What is a Structured Job Interview?

A structured interview deploys a homogenized recruiting process by incorporating and following a set of predefined rules.

Whether you are hiring a waiter or a bartender, all your candidates shall be exposed to the same questions and will be evaluated on the basis of their answers via a ranking methodology. This not only facilitates a fair hiring system yet also permits you, as the employer, to truly concentrate on selecting a profile that possesses core job competencies.

The questions are pertinent to assess critical job skills that are derived from a comprehensive job description. We recommend a mix of both behavioural and situational questions.

How to Hold the Structured Job Interview

A simple series of steps are involved in conducting an effective structured job interview. Let’s assume that you are hiring a waiter for your family owned restaurant. Take a look at the interview process:

1. Meet & Greet

Introduce yourself to your applicant and escort him (or her!) to your office or a meeting room where you will be conducting the interview. Let him settle in his seat before you begin the interview. Get the ball rolling and ask if he has ever visited your restaurant and eaten here.

2. Provide Job Details

Giving the aspirant a clear picture of what the job entails upfront will clarify any possible confusion and misconceptions. Outline your operational tactics for processing orders, desired serving time, customer service policy, and other table-related duties.

Why not share a taste of the hourly earnings he may get to enjoy as a result of his hard work? Do share any potential opportunities for future growth as well to encourage employee retention. Perhaps an opening for Assistant Manager could open up in the next few months if the applicant demonstrates high caliber.

3. Ask Your Questions

It is imperative to substantiate the candidate’s past work experience and can be done by posing a range of behavioral questions. You can also appraise his skill bracket by asking different situational questions as well.

Make sure you do not ask any illegal interview questions such as his political outlook or age etc.

Potential Behavioral Questions
  • Describe your past experience in the world of waiting and how would you relate it to this position?
  • Tell me about the last time you went to eat out with your family and how you found the quality of the customer service. Is there anything you would have done differently?
  • Was there a time when you disagreed with your co-worker about who was responsible for assigning tables? How did you resolve it?
  • What are your favorite wines and which ones would you recommend to your customers?
  • Recall a time when a customer complained about the food quality and was extremely unreasonable. How did you handle that?
Potential Situational Questions
  • What would you do if your consumer tried to use gift vouchers or special offers that do not go together?
  • Imagine it is New Year’s Eve and it is a busy night at our restaurant. You have been on your feet for many hours and are scheduled to change your shift. However, two of your co-workers just called in sick. How would you manage this situation?
  • How would you react to negative feedback given by your supervisor?
  • Sometimes our staff has to juggle different duties simultaneously such as processing orders, serving drinks and handling the cash register. Would you be comfortable with such multi-tasking?
  • Suppose a customer who comes in every morning to get his coffee to go and forgets his wallet one day. The restaurant has a zero credit policy, but you have formed a relationship with this consumer and feel obliged to make an exception. What would you say to him?
  • Would you be open to doing a paid shift as a trial?

4. Read Between the Lines

Quietly listen and rate your applicant’s answers to each question. Observe his body language, tone of voice and overall confidence as he speaks. Paying attention to non-verbal indicators will give you an insight into his personality and attitude that could have an impact on your final recruiting decision.

A waiter is a front-facing, people-driven role. Hence, you will need someone who is friendly, confident and productive. Not only that, you may want someone who will be a cultural fit in your family-friendly edible establishment.

5. Explain Restaurant Code

Before you invite your applicant to ask questions about your restaurant, explain what your general policies are in terms of dress code, menu memorization, punctuality, courtesy and general working culture.

6. Final Call

Be an open book and tell your candidate to ask you questions pertaining to the role, colleagues and your restaurant. Try to answer them as comprehensively as possible.

When done, thank the applicant for taking the time to come in and communicate the time frame it will take you to get back to him with your decision. Of course, if the candidate is available immediately and you need him to start, go for it then and there!

Just to help you out a bit: 

Before you schedule candidates to come in, there are a few steps to follow in order to conduct a successful structured job interview.

1. Conduct a Job Analysis

Think about what the role entails and refer to the performance of past candidates whom you hired for it. Compile a list of traits that contributed to the success of the position and incorporate it in a well-written job description. Do  mention your desired skills and competencies. If you are searching for a waiter, you may desire a multi-tasking superstar with strong communication skills.

2. Define Your Questions

Craft your questions upon the basis of required skills and competencies. Divide them into the following two categories:

  • Behavioral interview questions (assess past experience)
  • Situational interview questions(evaluate possible work scenarios)
  • Competency interview questions (appraise job competencies)
3. Choose Your Ranking Method

A relative scaling system will help you, as a business owner, to compare and evaluate all candidates so you can reach a well-informed, optimal decision. Apply a rating scale with at least five points (one being the lowest, five being the highest) to gauge the candidate’s responses.

Why not download the app now and post your job for free? Test your structured interview questions now!