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Structured Interview vs. Unstructured Interview — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Fiza Rafique — Published on December 9, 2023
A Structured Interview uses predefined questions for all candidates, ensuring consistency. An Unstructured Interview is flexible, with questions evolving based on the conversation.
Structured Interview vs. Unstructured Interview — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Structured Interview and Unstructured Interview


Key Differences

Structured Interview and Unstructured Interview are both techniques used in the hiring process, but they differ significantly in approach. A Structured Interview has a fixed set of questions that every candidate is asked, ensuring a consistent evaluation process. In contrast, an Unstructured Interview does not stick to a specific list and allows for a more open-ended conversation.
When using a Structured Interview, employers aim for objectivity. By asking the same questions to every candidate, it becomes easier to compare responses and make an unbiased decision. On the other hand, an Unstructured Interview is more conversational, letting the interviewer adapt questions based on the candidate's responses and the flow of the discussion.
Structured Interviews are typically considered more reliable because of their consistent format. They're often used when there's a need to fill multiple similar positions or when compliance with specific hiring guidelines is essential. Conversely, Unstructured Interviews can offer deeper insights into a candidate's personality, fit, and adaptability, making them suitable for roles requiring unique skills or attributes.
To wrap up the distinction, while Structured Interviews aim for uniformity and comparability, Unstructured Interviews prize adaptability and depth of understanding. Depending on the hiring needs, companies might choose one over the other or even blend the two methods.
It's also worth noting that while Structured Interviews can reduce interviewer bias, they might miss out on unique candidate qualities. Conversely, Unstructured Interviews, while offering a broader view of the candidate, can be more susceptible to interviewer bias.

Comparison Chart


Predetermined questions
Flexible questions based on conversation


High (consistent questions)
Varies (depends on interviewer)


Typically higher
Might vary between interviews


Comparability among candidates
Deep insights into candidate's personality

Susceptibility to Bias

Lower (due to consistency)
Higher (due to open format)

Compare with Definitions

Structured Interview

A standardized interview method using the same questions for all candidates.
The HR department adopted a Structured Interview format to maintain consistency in evaluations.

Unstructured Interview

A conversational approach in interviewing.
He appreciated the relaxed feel of the Unstructured Interview.

Structured Interview

A method ensuring objective and consistent candidate assessment.
Structured Interviews allowed for an apples-to-apples comparison among applicants.

Unstructured Interview

A flexible interview method without fixed questions.
The manager's Unstructured Interview felt more like a casual conversation.

Structured Interview

An approach valuing comparability in candidate evaluations.
The company preferred Structured Interviews to rank candidates effectively.

Unstructured Interview

A method valuing depth and adaptability in candidate assessments.
The creative team often used Unstructured Interviews to identify unique talents.

Structured Interview

An interview process aimed at reducing biases through uniform questioning.
Using a Structured Interview, they could easily compare candidates' responses.

Unstructured Interview

A technique offering deep insights into a candidate's personality and fit.
Unstructured Interviews helped gauge cultural fit within the organization.

Structured Interview

A predetermined set of questions used in interviews.
She prepared for the Structured Interview by researching potential questions.

Unstructured Interview

An interview adapting to the candidate's responses and the discussion's flow.
During the Unstructured Interview, they explored topics not initially planned.

Common Curiosities

What's the primary advantage of a Structured Interview?

It ensures consistency and objectivity in candidate evaluations.

Are Structured Interviews more suitable for large-scale hiring?

Often, yes. They ensure consistent evaluations across multiple candidates.

How does an Unstructured Interview typically begin?

Often with open-ended questions, evolving based on the conversation.

Can a Structured Interview reduce interviewer biases?

Yes, its standardized format can help minimize biases.

Which interview type is more time-efficient?

Structured Interviews, due to their set format.

Which interview type is better for evaluating soft skills?

Unstructured Interviews can offer a deeper understanding of soft skills.

Can companies blend both interview types?

Yes, many companies use a mix to gain comprehensive insights.

How do candidates usually prepare for a Structured Interview?

By researching potential questions and preparing consistent answers.

Is an Unstructured Interview more informal?

Typically, yes. It allows for a more relaxed, conversational approach.

Can an Unstructured Interview offer insights into a candidate's adaptability?

Absolutely, as it allows candidates to navigate varied questions and topics.

Do Structured Interviews follow a strict format?

Yes, they use a predetermined set of questions.

Can an Unstructured Interview explore a candidate's unique attributes?

Yes, its flexible format allows for deep dives into specific traits.

Is building rapport easier in an Unstructured Interview?

Often, yes. Its conversational nature can facilitate a connection.

Are Structured Interviews prevalent in specific industries?

They're common in industries requiring consistent evaluations, like customer service roles.

Can feedback be more straightforward with Structured Interviews?

Often, yes, due to the consistent format and comparable responses.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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