What Is A Semi-Structured Interview? And How To Conduct It?


A semi-structured interview is a common ground between structured and unstructured interviews.

It is a more interactive type of interview, as it is more like a conversation between the interviewer and the interviewee.

Moreover, it follows an open-ended question pattern. Its role is to guide the interviewer through the process, and they don't have to be strictly used.

The interviewer uses follow-up questions according to the interviewee's answers, which means that the process is not thoroughly planned.

The questions are specified based on various factors, like job requirements and company culture.

For free job posting, click here.

Let's dive into more information about the semi-structured interviews.

What are the pros and cons of semi-structured interviews?

 semi-structured interview


1- Following conversational style

That leaves room for more interaction and comfort; The conversation here doesn't depend only on the interviewer or the interviewee.

2- Better for nervous candidates

Many candidates are strongly qualified for the job, but they cannot control their interview anxiety. Having a semi-structured interview makes it feel less formal or stressful.

3- Creativity

When the interviewer gives the candidate the chance to express more of themselves and their opinions, they tend to be more creative.

For free job posting, click here.


1- Less objective

Semi-structured interviews don't depend on a particular scoring system or format. The last call is mainly for the interviewer, and the whole judgment is totally up for them.

2- Longer time

It's an issue if you don't know when precisely to finish the interview. Even if you know, a semi-structured interview will mostly take a longer time than the structured one.

 semi-structured interview

How can employers prepare for a semi-structured interview?

1- Collect information

It's essential to do enough research before conducting a semi-structured job interview. Read more about the job description and the requirements the position needs.

Additionally, ask employees who work in the field you're targeting. They will provide you with an efficient load of information.

Don't forget to consider the company policies when getting prepared for an interview. Think more of the perfect candidate that'll also meet the ethics and the culture of your workplace.

Checking the candidate's information is necessary to get yourself ready and be well prepared. Check their CV and read it thoroughly, which will help the semi-structured interview process go smoothly.

For free job posting, click here.

2- Prepare questions

After getting prepared through collecting information and doing enough research, it's vital to write down the questions you need to ask through the interview.

Always use open-ended questions for a semi-structured interview. For instance, don't use questions that could be answered with yes or no.

Specify the semi-structured interview questions according to the information you collected about the job description, the company culture, and the candidates.

Try as much as possible to use straightforward language for questions. Don't use too sophisticated or complicated language because that might negatively impact you and your company.

Using a complicated language may also let you lose an outstanding potential employee. Please make your semi-structured interview questions short, direct, and to the point.

3- Be friendly

Being an interviewer makes you in a powerful position in the candidate's eyes. Don't use your position wrong.

Many candidates complain about meeting unprofessional interviewers who have a terrible influence on them.

Try to avoid being that person, especially that a semi-structured interview is more about the proper communication between an interviewer and an interviewee. Ask the suitable type of questions and make sure they're open-ended ones to avoid any confusion.

For free job posting, click here.

Be considerate and respect the privacy of the interviewee. They may not want to answer everything you ask, so accept that decently with a wide smile.

 semi-structured interview

4- Explain the interview nature

A lot of candidates don't know the meaning of a semi-structured interview. They may get confused if you don't explain to them the nature of the interview.

Tell them that it's more of a conversation and that there's no particular right or wrong answer. Assure the interviewees that it's a space to express themselves and speak of their thoughts freely.

Furthermore, don't forget to introduce yourself initially and build a proper rapport, which will help the interviewees get rid of a lot of anxiety.

Talk a little bit about yourself to break some ice; next, ask them to introduce themselves back.

Keep your body language friendly and open. Also, to maintain better communication, use eye contact and smile a lot.

5- Document the interview

As a semi-structured interview doesn't have a specific form or answers' scores, it's hard to define the results or remember which candidate met the job requirements and standards.

To avoid any complications, write down your impressions through certain words you can get back to later. It helps a lot during the crowded recruitment phases and facilitates the evaluation process a lot.

Also, write something remarkable about every interviewee. For example, if an interviewee plays ballet, write down this in your notes to recognize them later when the filtering phase arrives.

Moreover, you can record your semi-structured interview to get back to it later. Sometimes employers are not sure about specific stuff, so recording helps a lot in figuring out information.

For free job posting, click here.


The semi-structured interview can be more complicated than the structured type of preparations and conducting, but it has remarkable results in the recruiting field.