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  • Writer's pictureAJ Cheponis

Structured Interviewing: The Key to Consistency and Objectivity

Having a structured and organized interviewing framework is crucial to a successful interview process as it helps ensure consistency and fairness in evaluating candidates. Without a framework, interviewers may miss important details or ask inconsistent questions, leading to an incomplete or biased assessment of candidates. This is especially important in behavioral interviews, which focus on a candidate's past experiences and behaviors as an indicator of their future performance.


There are many interviewing frameworks available, but four of the most commonly used and effective ones are DASH (Data, Action, Skills, Habits), SOAR (Situation, Obstacle, Action, Result), STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result), and LAR (Logic, Action, Result). Each of these frameworks provides a clear and structured approach for evaluating candidate responses to behavioral interview questions, allowing interviewers to assess candidates' skills, experiences, and problem-solving abilities in a consistent and objective manner. By using a framework, interviewers can also ensure that they ask questions that are relevant to the specific job and company they're hiring for, helping them identify the best fit for the position.


Unlock the secrets of Structured Interviewing

DASH (Data, Action, Skills, Habits)

Using the DASH (Data, Action, Skills, Habits) method can also be an effective way to assess a candidate's ability to achieve results and solve problems. This method focuses on the candidate's use of data to inform their actions, as well as their skills and habits in executing those actions. Here's what to look for when using the DASH method:


Data:

Listen for candidates who can provide specific examples of how they used data to inform their actions and decision-making. Look for candidates who can demonstrate an understanding of how to use data to identify patterns, make predictions, and inform strategy.


Action:

Pay attention to candidates who can explain the specific actions they took to address the task or problem at hand. Look for candidates who can describe their approach to the problem and the strategies they used to achieve their goals.


Skills:

Evaluate the candidate's specific skills in executing their actions. Look for candidates who can explain the technical or soft skills they utilized to achieve results, such as communication, problem-solving, or project management.


Habits:

Finally, assess the candidate's habits or behaviors in executing their actions. Look for candidates who demonstrate a consistent track record of achieving results, and who can provide examples of how they continually improve their approach over time.


Here are some potential pros and cons of using the DASH method as an interviewer:


Pros:

  • Provides a structured approach for evaluating candidate responses to behavioral interview questions

  • Highlights the candidate's ability to use data to inform their actions and decision-making

  • Demonstrates the candidate's specific skills and habits in executing their actions

  • Can help ensure consistency in your evaluation of candidates across interviews


Cons:

  • Can be too formulaic and rigid if overused

  • May not work well for complex or multi-faceted problems where the actions taken may be difficult to summarize in a brief answer

  • May not capture other important qualities such as teamwork or leadership abilities

  • May not provide as much insight into a candidate's thought process or decision-making abilities as other interview methods


Using the DASH method can help you identify candidates who are able to use data to inform their actions and decision-making, as well as execute those actions with the necessary skills and habits. However, as with any framework, overusing DASH can make candidate's answers seem formulaic and rigid. Be sure to evaluate candidates on their ability to provide specific examples and communicate their experiences clearly and effectively, and to adapt their approach to different situations.


assess a candidate's problem-solving abilities

SOAR (Situation, Obstacle, Action, Result)

Using the SOAR (Situation, Obstacle, Action, Result) method can be an effective way to assess a candidate's problem-solving abilities. This method focuses on the obstacles or challenges a candidate faced while completing a task or project. Here's what to look for when using the SOAR method:


Situation:

Listen for candidates who are able to provide a clear and concise description of the situation or context in which the obstacle occurred.


Obstacle:

Pay attention to candidates who are able to explain the challenge or obstacle they faced in the situation, and describe how it was a difficult or complex problem to solve.


Action:

Evaluate the actions that candidates took to address the obstacle, and look for strategies that they used to overcome it.


Result:

Finally, assess the outcome or results of the candidate's actions. Look for candidates who are able to explain how their efforts resolved the problem, and highlight specific accomplishments or achievements that resulted from their work.



Here are some potential pros and cons of using the SOAR method as an interviewer:


Pros:

  • Can help identify candidates who are strong problem-solvers and have the ability to overcome obstacles in their work

  • Provides a structured approach for evaluating candidate responses to behavioral interview questions

  • Can help ensure consistency in your evaluation of candidates across interviews

  • Can highlight specific accomplishments or achievements that candidates have made in their work


Cons:

  • May not work well for complex or multifaceted problems, where the obstacles and actions taken may be difficult to summarize in a brief answer

  • Can be limiting if used as the sole method for evaluating candidates, as it may not capture other important qualities such as teamwork or leadership abilities

  • May not provide as much insight into a candidate's thought process or decision-making abilities as other interview methods

  • Candidates may be tempted to provide answers that sound impressive or highlight their strengths, rather than being honest about the obstacles they faced and the actions they took to address them.


Using SOAR can help you identify candidates who are able to approach and overcome obstacles in their work, and who have the problem-solving skills needed for the job. However, be sure to evaluate the relevance of the candidate's answers to the specific job and company you're hiring for, and look for candidates who are able to adapt their approach to different situations. Like any framework, overusing SOAR can make candidate's answers seem formulaic and rigid, so be sure to evaluate candidates on their ability to provide specific examples and communicate their experiences clearly and effectively.


assess a candidate's ability to achieve results and solve problems

STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result)

Using the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) method can be an effective way to assess a candidate's ability to achieve results and solve problems. This method focuses on specific situations or tasks that candidates have worked on in the past. Here's what to look for when using the STAR method:


Situation:

Listen for candidates who can provide a clear and detailed description of the situation or context in which the task occurred.


Task:

Pay attention to candidates who can explain the specific task or objective they were working on in that situation.


Action:

Evaluate the actions that candidates took to address the task or problem. Look for candidates who are able to describe their approach to the problem and the strategies they used to achieve their goals.


Result:

Finally, assess the outcome or results of the candidate's actions. Look for candidates who can explain the impact of their work and highlight any specific accomplishments or achievements that resulted from their efforts.


Here are some potential pros and cons of using the STAR method as an interviewer:


Pros:

  • Provides a structured approach for evaluating candidate responses to behavioral interview questions

  • Highlights specific examples of candidates' skills and accomplishments

  • Demonstrates candidates' ability to solve problems and achieve results

  • Can help ensure consistency in your evaluation of candidates across interviews


Cons:

  • Can be too formulaic and rigid if overused

  • May not work well for complex or multi-faceted problems where the actions taken may be difficult to summarize in a brief answer

  • May not capture other important qualities such as teamwork or leadership abilities

  • May not provide as much insight into a candidate's thought process or decision-making abilities as other interview methods


Using the STAR method can help you identify candidates who are able to achieve results and solve problems in their work. However, be sure to evaluate the relevance of the candidate's answers to the specific job and company you're hiring for, and look for candidates who are able to adapt their approach to different situations. Like any framework, overusing STAR can make candidate's answers seem formulaic and rigid, so be sure to evaluate candidates on their ability to provide specific examples and communicate their experiences clearly and effectively.


LAR (Learn, Action, Result)

LAR (Learn, Action, Result)

Using the LAR (Learn, Action, Result) method can be an effective way to assess a candidate's ability to learn from experience and adapt to new situations. This method focuses on a candidate's experience in a particular role or project, and how they leveraged that experience to achieve positive results. Here's what to look for when using the LAR method:


Learn:

Listen for candidates who are able to describe what they learned from their experience in a particular role or project. Look for evidence that they were able to reflect on their experience, identify areas for improvement, and incorporate those learnings into their work.


Action:

Evaluate the actions that candidates took based on what they learned from their experience. Look for candidates who were able to adapt their approach to different situations, and who were able to apply their learnings in a practical way to achieve positive results.


Result:

Finally, assess the outcome or results of the candidate's actions. Look for candidates who are able to explain how their learnings and actions led to positive outcomes, and highlight specific accomplishments or achievements that resulted from their work.


Here are some potential pros and cons of using the LAR method as an interviewer:


Pros:

  • Can help identify candidates who have a growth mindset and are able to learn from their experiences

  • Provides a structured approach for evaluating how candidates apply their learnings to their work and achieve results

  • Can help identify candidates who are adaptable and able to approach new situations with a flexible mindset

  • Can highlight specific accomplishments or achievements that candidates have made in their work


Cons:

  • May not work well for candidates who have limited experience in a particular role or project

  • Can be limiting if used as the sole method for evaluating candidates, as it may not capture other important qualities such as teamwork or leadership abilities

  • May not provide as much insight into a candidate's problem-solving or decision-making abilities as other interview methods

  • Candidates may be tempted to provide answers that sound impressive or highlight their strengths, rather than being honest about what they learned and how they applied those learnings to achieve results.


Using the LAR method can help you identify candidates who have a growth mindset and are able to learn from their experiences, which can be a valuable asset in any role. However, be sure to evaluate the relevance of the candidate's answers to the specific job and company you're hiring for, and look for candidates who are able to adapt their approach to different situations. Like any framework, overusing LAR can make candidate's answers seem formulaic and rigid, so be sure to evaluate candidates on their ability to provide specific examples and communicate their experiences clearly and effectively.



Summary

If you're a company that wants to be Talent Optimized, then our recommendation would be to use all four methods - SOAR, STAR, LAR, and DASH - as part of your overall talent management strategy. Each method has its own strengths and weaknesses, and by using them together, you can get a more comprehensive view of a candidate's skills, experience, and potential fit for your organization.

Here's a brief summary of how each method can be effective:


DASH (Data, Action, Skills, Habits): This method is effective for evaluating a candidate's overall fit for a specific job and company, as it focuses on specific data points, actions, skills, and habits that are relevant to the role.


SOAR (Situation, Opportunity, Action, Result): This method is useful for identifying a candidate's strengths, as it focuses on positive outcomes and how the candidate contributed to them.


STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result): This method is effective for assessing a candidate's ability to solve problems and achieve results, as it asks candidates to provide specific examples of their past experiences.


LAR (Learn, Adapt, Repeat): This method is useful for evaluating a candidate's ability to learn from past experiences, adapt to changing situations, and continuously improve their performance.


It's also important to remember that the effectiveness of these methods depends on how they're used. Simply asking candidates to answer questions using these frameworks may not be enough to ensure that you're identifying the best talent for your organization. It's important to have a well-defined talent optimization process that includes clear job descriptions, structured interviews, and a thorough evaluation of candidates' skills and fit for the role and organization.


Working with a certified Talent Optimization consulting firm like Straightline Consulting Group can also be helpful in developing and implementing a comprehensive talent optimization strategy. They can help you identify the right methods and tools for your organization, and provide guidance and support throughout the talent optimization process.


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