Are you expecting an unstructured interview anytime soon? Have you been preparing yet find it difficult to gain confidence for you don't know what questions to expect? Do you need help with crafting and polishing your answers for an unstructured interview? 

Job interviews are conducted by an organisation's representatives, such as hiring managers and recruiters, to help decide and pick the perfect applicant for a vacant spot. The ultimate goal of these meetings is to assess whether the job searcher's skills and experiences, listed on the resume and cover letter, are aligned with the company's needs, culture, and beliefs. On the other hand, this selection process does not only benefit potential employers. You, as an applicant, can also greatly benefit from it! How? Interviews can also help you acquire more information about the organisation and speak to prospective colleagues, especially in an unstructured interview. Doing these can significantly help you determine if it is the PERFECT job for you!

So, without further ado, let's begin our talk about the unstructured interview! In this career blog, experienced career coaches and industry experts from The Perfect Resume answer questions, such as "what is the unstructured interview method?" What's more? Learn the difference between structured and unstructured interviews and catch examples of unstructured questions!

Want To Step Up Your Unstructured Interview Game? You Need To Read This First! 

Wondering what the unstructured interview method is? Unstructured interviews promote free-flowing conversations between the interviewer and the job applicant. Due to the nature of this method, it is also called the 'informal interview' or 'discovery interview.' It kicks off with an opening question that is usually open-ended, such as "tell me something unique about you" or "describe your ideal job," asked by the interviewer. Assuming that they have read your CV, cover letter, or even LinkedIn profile, it would be best not to quote what are on your job search tools directly. Formulate answers that would keep your interviewers interested enough. Remember that in an unstructured interview, the meeting structure depends on your responses.

The interviewer shall dig deep into your personality throughout the question-and-answer session. Usually, this method does not involve predetermined questions and appears like a normal conversation between colleagues. However, it is best to stay prepared and monitor your responses, for it may include a time regulation that might not be revealed by the hiring manager or recruiter initially.  

Job Search Mysteries: Structured vs Unstructured Interviews

Are you asking yourself the question, "what is the difference between structured and unstructured interviews?" Well, you came to the right place, or shall we say career blog!

There are significant differences between the two methods. Firstly, structured interviews are formal meetings wherein all the interviewees answer the same standard questions. Meanwhile, in an unstructured interview, the question each applicant answers are developed as the conversation. Secondly, during these formal meetings, a candidate's response is scored depending on how close or far it is from the job requirement. For example, suppose the potential employer or the interview panellists are satisfied with how you responded to a situational question thrown at you. In that case, you shall be awarded a high point. At the end of the interview, each applicant's scores will be tallied and summed up to determine who shall receive the job offer. On the other hand, an unstructured meeting does not obligate the interviewer to score each answer; thus, this strategy requires asking more questions to extract vital information from every candidate thoroughly.

Additionally, informal interviews can be more time-consuming than the other and may happen for hours. It is because of the absence of expectations and plans – meaning if both parties are good conversationalists, they may end up discussing personal interests and mutual ideas. Yet, it makes room for a long-existing recruitment bias called the interviewer bias. Although it may be something unintentional, an interviewer bias can happen more often in unstructured interviews, for the examiner can influence an applicant's responses. For example, let us say that an interviewer mentioned something he or she likes during the meeting. Under those circumstances, the interviewee may cite it or formulate answers involving the interviewer's preferences, thereby making the interview's validity questionable. Contrastingly, it may also pose a threat to applicants, for interviewers may unintentionally put them in a tricky spot during unstructured interviews.

Your Key To Success: Unstructured Interview Questions

Because of its non-directive and free-flowing nature, it may be challenging to prepare for an unstructured interview. Questions that arise may solely depend on the flow and spontaneity of the conversation, whilst considering the purpose of the meeting, which is to identify if the job applicant is THE ONE! However, here are some general unstructured interview questions you can start preparing for:

  1. Tell me about yourself.
  2. Talk about your ideal job.
  3. What are your key strengths?
  4. What challenges have you faced recently?
  5. Talk about your proudest achievement.

Career Takeaway: Experienced career coaches and professional resume writers from The Perfect Resume writing services share an important guideline on answering open-ended questions, such as those above effectively.

Answering unstructured interview questions is like addressing selection criteria responses – organising your ideas is always a MUST! As an interviewee, you aim to keep your listeners compelled by you, something you can achieve when your thoughts are presented in an easy-to-digest manner.

A technique that can help you articulate and table your answers better is the STAR method, which stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Results. Let's put this technique into practice by answering the unstructured interview questions, "talk about your proudest achievement."

Unstructured Interview Example Response (using the STAR method):

As an English educator for nearly two years, every day is never the same – just like my students. Daily, I am expected to identify, manage, and meet the unique learning needs of 10-15 individuals who range from toddlers to seniors. At the beginning of my career, I have encountered a very challenging learner who was only three years old. Kids at that age can be complicated to teach, for they can easily get distracted and choose not to cooperate. The aforementioned student would usually cry in class, especially when our English book was brought out. Knowing the problem, I spoke to the learner's parents. Prior to our classes, I utilised my strong research skills and capacity to think out of the box to create interactive PowerPoint games. The learner's parents also informed me that the child loves watching Frozen, so I downloaded soundtracks from the movie. On the day of our class, I leveraged my communication and active listening skills to help the kid feel heard and empowered. As a result, I successfully gained not only her attention but also the trust of the youngster, who is now one of my regular students. I think that turning a challenging situation into my advantage whilst making a solid connection with the learner is my proudest achievement as an English educator.


Apply These 7 Secret Techniques To Ace Your Unstructured Interview

  1. Don’t be afraid to show the real YOU.
  2. Highlight your key strengths.
  3. Correlate your experiences to the prospective employer’s needs
  4. Be a good and active listener.
  5. Exemplify your ability to communicate and connect with the interviewer.
  6. Research is your best friend.
  7. Ask away!

To secure a job offer at your dream company, you need to be very prepared for it. This can make you feel more in control and confident despite the uncertainties involved in an unstructured interview. Well-strategised interview responses can help persuade your listeners to why you are the perfect candidate to complete their team. Yet, remember, too much confidence can be bad, too! Learn to strike a balance.

If you still don't know where to start, contact The Perfect Resume today! Click here to contact a career coach for a free 15-minute consultation or send your resume to info@thperfectresume.com.au for a free resume review. Is your CV holding you back from your dream life? What are you waiting for? See our affordable resume writing packages. Let our team help you turn your career goals into YOUR reality!

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