Best Practices — PKS Basel/Basle Switzerland — Personnel Consulting, Executive Search, Staff Selection, Personnel Recruitment, Personnel Recruiting, Personnel Screening, Personnel Services
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Best Practices

Structured Interview

The more accurately and effectively a tried and tested selection method is used to predict future professional success, the higher its prognostic validity and reliability remain and the more sense it makes to use it during personnel selection. We use this instrument for recruitments on a daily basis. We fill your vacancy.

Structured interviews are essential for reliable personnel recruitment and selection. However, they are still often conducted in an unstructured way. Even by personnel service providers. The informative value of such interviews is as ambiguous and descriptive as the one obtained from reading tea leaves. There is basically no value.

Structured Interview — Best Practice applied by PKS Personnel Consultants


  • Valuable for aptitude diagnostics 
  • Rooted in work psychology
  • Highly accepted and reliable
  • Valid information, high level of certainty

PKS Added Value

The more accurately and effectively a tried and tested selection method is used to predict future professional success, the higher its prognostic validity and reliability remain and the more sense it makes to use it during personnel selection. 

Structured interviews are essential for the reliable recruitment and selection of personnel. Application documents are very often the first impression of an applicant and too often the most important source of information. Therefore, it is obvious that application portfolios and dossiers possess only limited informative value. Even job references are not always informative and represent the truth due to euphemistic expressions, encoding, subjective perceptions of the person preparing the document, and other influences.

The aptitude diagnostic significance of many personnel selection methods still gives much reason for uncertainty. The question which method really makes sense often remains unanswered. Is one job interview enough, are further interviews necessary, what is the value of references? When is a potential analysis required, how can the cost for individual assessments be justified, what kind of continuing findings does a group assessment provide? The increasingly idealistic principle debates, which sometimes have an apodictic tendency and which are often based on obtrusive financial interests of the providers of personnel selection methods, do not contribute to facilitating the cooperation.

Since 1992, the personnel consultants at PKS Personal- & Kaderselektion AG have conducted structured interviews and have gained excellent experiences over many years. The heavily increasing, sometimes pseudo-scientific, psychologization of personnel recruitment with all its positive and negative side effects and the sometimes spiteful skirmish of providers, are very confusing and do not facilitate the decision-making process. In addition, the forceful dynamics of the international job markets are increasing and are accompanied by the desire to consider selection methods, which justify the financial costs and lead to fast, clear results. 

The partly artificially created pressure of time and the naive illusion to only being able to do justice to the multilayer personality of human beings by means of a software controlled 'psycho product' may be 'trendsetting', but hardly serves any purpose. PKS Personal- & Kaderselektion AG is still convinced that by conducting:

  • a reliable examination and analysis of the application and
  • a personal, intense meeting with the applicants and
  • an extensive, structured interview (possibly with 2 recruiters) with subsequent information assessment and
  • by obtaining many references

a very high level of reliability can be reached. If it makes sense and two equally qualified applicants should be tested by means of an aptitude diagnostic tool, we recommend

  • a potential analysis and/or
  • an individual assessment and/or
  • a comprehensive assessment with different assessors.

Fair selection procedures and transparent applications are also always the reflection of the own view of humankind. If you are trying to hire responsible, competent employees, but treat them in an immature, dishonest and shady way during the selection process, you will never receive credibility and be less successful in the tough competition for the best. Right potentials usually have a big network and will obtain information about potential employers, who have not adjusted their personnel selection procedure to modern methods.

Work psychological, empirical interview studies, which are sufficiently documented in specialized literature and which correspond to the practical experience of many recruiters, reveal that the correlation between the result of an interview, its reliable analysis and the future professional success are striking if consistently structured interviews were conducted.

A structured, well prepared interview offers the following benefits:

  • Stereotypes, primitive perceptions of so-called good applicants do not come up.
  • Applicants talk more. Important information is richer in content.
  • Recruiters are not influenced by unfavorable information, but will try to view them in the overall appraisal context.
  • Recruiters will not judge at first sight and say: 'Well, I know that type, the interview will take a certain direction'.
  • Clearly structured questions allow for a systematic approach, but also leave room for situation-oriented question patterns.

What is the fastest way to obtain the most important information during the recruitment process?


The following conditions and structuring elements are essential:

  • Preparation of accurate requirement profiles and asking questions that specifically relate to those requirements.
  • Clear arrangement and structure of interviews.
  • Advantageous forms and techniques of asking questions that will help you reach your goal quickly.
  • The questions and the applicants' need for information need to be taken seriously
  • Allow enough time for the interview and avoid external sources of disruption.
  • Take meaningful notes during the interview that can still be used later.
  • Compare and evaluate answers and requirements.
  • If necessary, apply application patterns.

It does not always serve the purpose to ask all questions and it makes even less sense to obstinately stick to the order of the questions. Applicants hardly ever feel comfortable if the procedure is too rigid. Provide a lot of free space and a personal touch for the interview to allow for spontaneous, emotional moments. A unique concept sure has its merits. Applicants are often nervous, uncertain or don't know how to cope with this new situation, no matter how hard-boiled, well prepared or educated they may be.

Spontaneous emotions, a pronounced body language or a certain behavior sometimes allow deeper insights than just the interview alone. Nevertheless, human beings are not made of glass and will not reveal everything. And that is good.


The aptitude diagnostic validity and reliability of structured interview are undisputed and have long been approved in practical use. The personnel consultants at PKS Personal- & Kaderselektion AG have used this interviewing technique since 1992. Personnel recruitment is our daily business. Take advantage of our accumulated experience and professional expertise.  We fill your vacancy.

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