What is Unstructured Interview?

By Abhishek Kathpal | Updated 08 August, 2022

One of the methods used for recruitment is the interview. It is the selecting method that is frequently and broadly applied. Regardless of the nature, size, or style of the organization, an interview is the best instrument used to choose an employee. Employers often use one of two fundamental interview models—structured or unstructured interviews—when hiring new staff. The focus, however, is on the unstructured interview.

What is Unstructured Interview

Unstructured Interview meaning and definition

Unstructured Interviews are one of the procedures used in hiring. The most common and widespread application of the approach is selection. The greatest method for selecting employees is a job interview, regardless of the type, size, or style of the firm. When hiring new employees, employers frequently use one of the two basic interview models: structured or unstructured interviews. But the unstructured interview is what is being highlighted.

Difference between structured and unstructured interview

a) Predetermined questions are used in structured interviews and are posed to all applicants. While, in an unstructured interview, the questions that are asked are spontaneous rather than predetermined.

b) When there are a lot of applicants, a structured interview is utilized to validate the findings. Unlike an unstructured interview, which is meant to elicit personal information from an applicant as to whether or not he is the right fit for the position.

c) Using a structured interview system, the interviewer attempts to ascertain whether each candidate possesses the abilities and character qualities necessary for the position and whether he or she would be a good fit for the company by asking the same questions to each candidate in the same order and taking notes. Unstructured interviews are conversational and unrehearsed in contrast to structured interviews, which have a predetermined list of questions that should be asked in a particular order. The interviewer may base their selection of subjects to discuss with the candidate on his or her application or résumé to determine how well the individual may fit into the company culture.

How an unstructured interview works

Unstructured interviews are non-directive interviews in which the interviewer typically does not adhere to a predetermined format. The lack of structure enables the interviewer to probe further and follow up on any topics of interest that arise. This kind of interview might entail a little more than a casual discussion with no responses being scored.

The questions are primarily analytical and open-ended in nature, so there is no set rule or set of requirements to be followed. Sometimes the interviewer veers off course from the plan to ask the candidates questions about the job. The goal is to completely remove the interviewer's questions from the candidate's ability to sell himself.Due to how flexible this strategy is, the applicant feels at ease and emancipated. He or she is given the freedom to express and discuss their beliefs. The primary objectives of this kind of interview are to learn about a candidate's innate characteristics, such as their sentiments, desires, or concerns. Interviewers look for personality qualities, the type of goals a candidate has, as well as current and potential strengths and weaknesses. Here, the interviewer is effectively playing the role of a passive listener, refraining from interjecting or offering his own opinion. For such an interview to be successful, the interviewer must be exceptionally knowledgeable and skilled. In situations other than hiring, including counseling, grievance processing, and exit interviews, unstructured interviews are more frequently used.


a) Unstructured interviews promote maturity and honest communication styles.

b) It fosters an individual sense of accountability.

c) Bias danger is decreased.

d) A superior comprehension of the applicant compared to a structured interview.

e) It is adaptable and comfortable for both the interviewer and the applicant.

f) It aids the candidate in growing hope for the company.

g) Interviewers might use it as an opportunity to entice prospects to their companies.

h) It takes a tailored strategy. This is particularly advantageous for technological positions where candidates' backgrounds can differ greatly.

i) Unstructured interviews feel more relaxed because they permit a free-flowing discussion. This relaxed atmosphere relaxes the candidates and promotes an open and honest exchange of information.


a) It gives the interviewer the chance to stray off topic or disclose too much irrelevant information, which may result in leaving out details the interviewer wants or needs to know.

b) They take longer than a structured interview as well.

c) Not all applicants may find it suitable.

d) It lacks reliability.

About the Author

Abhishek Kathpal

Abhi is the co-founder at Longlist.io. Funded by US based OnDeck, Longlist is currently enabling 50+ businesses to increase their candidate and client reach outs, automating the workflow across stages.

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