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Preparing for the interview before the applicant arrives

The function of the interview is to provide an opportunity for both the interviewing panel and the applicant to obtain the information they need in order to make a robust decision. When multiple interviewers are present specific interview questions linked to the person specification, should be assigned to each of the interviewers.

In a structured interview format all the questions are systematically linked to the person specification and furthermore all of the candidates will be asked the same set of questions. Two other key aspects of structured interviews are that interviewers will be given a standardised rating scale to rate the answers (see section 10) and more than one interviewer will rate each answer.

Structured interviews have repeatedly been found to have higher criterion related validity than unstructured interviews, i.e. this method of interviewing provides a better predictor of future career success in the role (Makin et al, 1996). However, the notion of posing the same question to all the candidates does not mean that following the candidate’s initial response to the stem question, further probing questions cannot be used by the panel. The important point is that the initial question stem should be identical for all of the candidates.

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