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Structured Interview vs. Unstructured Interview

The main difference between a structured interview and the unstructured interview is that a structured interview is where all the questions prepared from beforehand and an unstructured interview is an interview which does not pursue any specific format or style of questions.

Key Differences

In expressive research, the structured interview is used to gather information, because it is comparatively economical and the inferences drawn easily. On the contrary, in exploitative research unstructured interview is used as an important tool for collecting information.
Structured Interview relates to an interview, in which questions to be asked to the candidates are set in advance. An interview in which the questions asked to the candidates is rare and not prepared ahead.
The structured interview used for validating results when the number of candidates is quite large. Unlike the unstructured interview, which is used to probe personal details of the candidate, to evaluate if he is the proper person for the job.
Positivists use structured interviews whereas unstructured interview used by interpretative.
As the structured interview is a scheduled and the same set of questions are the place to all the candidates, so the information collected is quantitative. As opposed to an unstructured interview, where different questions put to different candidates, and so qualitative data collected.

Comparison Chart


Structured Interview is one in which the interviewer prepares a particular set of predetermined questions in advance.
Unstructured interview relates to an interview in which the question asked to the respondents are not set in advance.



Factors Evaluated



To authenticate results, when the number of candidates is quite large.
To investigate personal details of the candidate, to judge if he is the right person for the job.
Samantha Walker
Jun 06, 2019

Data Collection

Harlon Moss
Jun 06, 2019

Type of Questions

Closed-ended questions
Open-ended questions
Janet White
Jun 06, 2019

Used by


Structured Interview vs. Unstructured Interview

A structured interview is a kind of interview in which the inquirer asks a particular set of predetermined questions whereas an unstructured interview is an interview in which the inquirer asks questions which not prepared in advance. Structured Interview is a kind of individual interview, in which the inquirer uses a fixed format conversely unstructured Interview is one, that does not use any fixed format. A structured interview is a method of quantitative research used for the survey, which objectives at displaying the preset questions, in every interview, which the same sequence whereas unstructured interview is a qualitative research procedure, in which the questions prepared during the interview. In structured interviews, questions are scheduled and created in advance, which means that all applicants are asked the same questions in the same sort. In unstructured interviews, questions arise spontaneously in a free-flowing conversation, which means that different candidates asked different questions.

Structured interviews are also known as Standardized, Patterned, Planned and Formal interviews. Whereas unstructured interviews are also known as Informal, Casual, and Free-flowing interviews. In a structured interview, the place of the questions before the candidate is close-ended, that needs a certain piece of information from the candidates, or in fact, he/she has to choose between diverse options provided. Conversely, unstructured interview, the questions are open-ended, that retorted in many ways, i.e., the candidate is free to give considerate answers and thus influence the interviewer.

What is a Structured Interview?

A structured interview is a fixed format interview in which all questions are prepared beforehand and put in the same sort to each interview. It provides the precision and reliability required in certain situations, also called directive interview. The questions asked in a set / standardized command, and the interviewer will not diverge from the interview schedule or investigate beyond the answers received. Structured interviews are easy to repeat as a fixed set of closed questions are used, which are easy to quantify. Structure interviews are not flexible which means new questions cannot be asked offhand as an interview schedule followed. Structured interview questions can be open as well as close-ended.


  • Make the process easy
  • Can be checked upon
  • Expands the line of questioning
  • Gives you the best idea of the issue
  • Questions restated
  • Examine understanding level
  • Can get to know details


  • Very little rapport
  • Limited assessments as well as tensions
  • Internal disconnect
  • Cannot alter questions
  • Complex questions
  • Lack of testing communication
  • Experts required

What is Unstructured Interview?

Unstructured interviews are like a free flow discussion which is very informal and open to discuss. Even though the unstructured interview is a very casual type, it has lots of intents. This type of interview is more like a non-directive interview and has an amiable approach to it. Good use of an unstructured interview relies on the interviewer. The interviewer would be able to evaluate the candidate very well because of the sudden free-flowing questions and mostly because questions raised from the candidate’s reply.


  • A better understanding
  • It is very flexible
  • A very practical method
  • It is a very valid
  • It breaks the communication gap
  • It develops a good hope to the candidate


  • Time-consuming
  • There are opportunities to get diverted from the entire interview
  • Not suitable for certain candidates
  • There are hazards of speaking about confidential matters during the interview

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