Semi-Structured Interviews Benefits, Advantages, How They Work, and Sample Questions in Recruitment!

Semi-Structured Interviews: Benefits, Advantages, How They Work, and Sample Questions in Recruitment!

Almost every recruitment process carried out by companies across various industries involves the assessment of interviews. It’s undeniable that the interview stage can provide valuable insights for companies in evaluating and selecting the right candidates for the positions they seek. Various types of job interviews are commonly used, and one of the quite common ones is the semi-structured interview.

Structured, unstructured, and semi-structured interviews are terms more familiar in academic research. However, these interview types are also valuable assets that recruitment teams can utilize to screen job applicants during the hiring process.

A semi-structured interview is a method that combines both structured and unstructured interview techniques. This method can be employed by Human Resources (HR) departments when they wish to conduct flexible yet standardized job interviews. In this article, Algobash will comprehensively explore everything you need to know about this particular type of interview!

Read full also: Human-Centered Approach to Candidate Assessment in HR Interviews

What Is a Semi-Structured Interview in Recruitment?

As mentioned earlier, there are three types of interviews used to evaluate potential employees: structured, unstructured, and semi-structured. However, in this article, we will focus solely on semi-structured interviews.

So, what does a semi-structured interview mean? A semi-structured interview is a method that combines structured and unstructured interview techniques. In this type of interview, the interviewer will prepare a set of open-ended questions to allow candidates to provide more flexible and comprehensive answers.

According to The Balance Money, in semi-structured interviews, the interviewer (HR) will prepare a list of questions, but not all of them will be asked to the candidate. The interviewer typically uses this list as a guide during the interview. In some cases, the interviewer may only prepare a list of topics.

Since this interview method combines both structured and unstructured approaches, its workings are different from both techniques. Structured interviews are typically more rigid, with all candidates being asked the same questions. In contrast, unstructured interviews are highly flexible, with questions asked spontaneously.

Experts generally share a similar view on semi-structured interviews. For example, according to Sugiyono, a semi-structured interview serves as a guide to uncover more open-ended issues. Relevant parties are asked for their opinions and ideas in-depth.

Read full also: 5 Interview Formats for Selecting the Best Candidates!

What Are the Goals of Semi-Structured Interviews in Recruitment?

Semi-structured interviews can be used in various fields, including company recruitment. HR uses this technique in the recruitment process for several purposes, including:

  1. To explore and gather more in-depth information about candidates, including their qualifications, skills, and experiences.
  2. To understand candidates’ perspectives, beliefs, and experiences related to the job they are applying for.
  3. To compare responses from each candidate during the interview process, which can be used as a reference in decision-making.
  4. To assess the cultural fit of potential employees with the company’s values.

How Does a Semi-Structured Interview Work in Recruitment?

Much like other interview methods, the semi-structured interview process has several steps. It is conducted flexibly but remains standardized. Here’s an overview of how semi-structured interviews work in recruitment:

  1. Question Development: In the initial stage, HR will create a set of open-ended questions that align with the job qualifications and the company’s values or culture.
  2. Initial Contact: After compiling a suitable list of questions, HR will contact the candidates to inform them that they have been selected for an interview. During this stage, HR will also explain the interview’s purpose and schedule a convenient time for both parties.
  3. Conducting the Interview: Next, the interview takes place. During this stage, HR will pose open-ended questions that encourage candidates to provide free and expansive responses. HR will assess the answers provided.
  4. Recording: In semi-structured interviews, HR typically records and transcribes or documents the interview to ensure accuracy in the assessment.
  5. Data Analysis: Lastly, HR will analyze the data gathered from the interview process to identify responses, motivations, and other factors that can aid in the recruitment decision-making process.
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What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Semi-Structured Interviews in Recruitment?

The semi-structured interview method has both advantages and disadvantages. Before deciding to use it, you should be aware of these pros and cons. Here are some of them:


  1. HR can comprehensively assess candidates’ qualifications, experiences, and suitability for the job.
  2. HR can conduct interviews in a flexible manner, adapting to unexpected aspects that may arise during the process.
  3. Candidates are more engaged in the interview process.
  4. HR can compare responses from different candidates to make more strategic decisions.
  5. HR can evaluate the cultural fit of potential employees with the company’s culture.


  1. Semi-structured interviews can be time-consuming.
  2. Evaluating candidate responses can be subjective.
  3. Conducting semi-structured interviews effectively requires HR personnel to have good skills and experience.
  4. Bias in assessment can be more likely to occur in semi-structured interviews.
Read full also: Structured vs Unstructured Interviews: Which One is More Effective for Candidate Selection?

Examples of Semi-Structured Interview Questions for Job Applicants

As mentioned earlier, in semi-structured interviews, HR or interviewers will prepare a set of open-ended questions to be posed to candidates. What do these questions look like? To better understand semi-structured interviews, here are some examples of interview questions:

  1. Have you had previous experience in a similar role? Please describe your main responsibilities in that role and how you excelled in performing them.
  2. Tell us about the most challenging project or task you’ve ever worked on. What obstacles did you encounter, and how did you overcome them?
  3. What motivates you to apply for this position, and how do you know that your skills align with the job requirements?
  4. Describe the work environment and company culture you prefer. How do you envision your contribution to our company?
  5. Can you provide an example of a situation where you had to work with a diverse team? How did you overcome challenges arising from diversity?

These are examples of questions that interviewers might ask in a semi-structured interview to encourage candidates to provide detailed and thoughtful responses.

Read full also: Unstructured Interviews: Definition, Advantages, and Expert Tips in Recruitment


In conclusion, the semi-structured interview is a valuable tool in the recruitment process, offering flexibility while maintaining a level of standardization. Understanding its advantages and disadvantages is crucial when deciding to incorporate it into your hiring practices. If you wish to learn more essential information about the world of recruitment, don’t forget to visit Algobash Insight.

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