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Scripted Job Interviews: The Pros and Cons

Updated on October 11, 2021
Mahogany Speaks profile image

Mahogany Speaks is a nurse with 20 yrs of exp. in healthcare & 14+ yrs in Blogging. She has an MBA in HCM & owns an article writing svc co.


The interview process can be just as nerve-wracking for a hiring entity as it is for the candidate. Many organizations use canned questions to facilitate an interview to help reduce the stress that can accompany the interview process. Scripted interviews offer multiple advantages. However, scripted or not, interviewing is a fine art that should not be taken lightly, whether by the interviewer or interviewee.

Organizations swear by the interview process and ultimately use it to determine if you are a good fit for the job role and the organization.

Pros of a Scripted Interview for the Interviewer

For the interviewer, the pros of having a scripted interview include consistency, focus, and an opportunity for streamlined evaluation. It's a great way to ensure that you are "asking the right questions" and that you are not deviating from the organization's culture for which you work and support.

For the interviewee, the bank of questions often align with various behavioral interview question templates on the market.


Consistency and Focus

A scripted interview allows the interviewer to directly align themselves to the overall purpose and context of the discussion. For example, suppose the interview goes down a rabbit hole with the candidate delivering gobs of information themselves, or the interview arrives at a place of awkward silence. Scripted questions enable the interviewer to search for questions and quickly move to the next question.

From a legality standpoint, having scripted questions may also reduce the risk of being accused of asking unfair questions. As an interviewee, do not take it personally if the interviewer moves you along. It is often their effort to stay on track and get to the core questions that they have for you.

Streamlined Evaluation

Interviewers should remember to take advantage of the positives of having a standard set of questions, such as what constitutes a good answer and a wrong answer. Using a consistent base of questions allows the interviewer to translate responses for evaluation and comparison to other applicants and candidates.

Conversational with Practice

With practice, one can turn canned questions into a professional conversation of sorts, leading in with understanding phrases such as “As you may know…” or “Sometimes, one might experience….”. A conversational interview enables the hiring manager or panelists to help the candidate relax and permit a bit of their authentic professional self to emerge at one point or another during the interview process.

Cons of a Scripted Interview for the Interviewer

There are a few cons, just as there are positive aspects associated with having a scripted interview process. They include poorly written questions, scope limitations, and, my favorite, awkward moments/pauses.

Poorly Written Questions

Following a scripted set of questions can sometimes expose one to the risk of poorly written questions which ultimately lead to awkward pauses or erroneous re-phrasings of questions left to interpretation during the interview. To combat the risk of a poorly written or asked question, interviewers should request receipt of their interview questions 3 to 5 business days before the scheduled interview to review and adequately prepare for their interviews.

Study them to ensure they can be asked genuinely and align with your speaking style upon receiving those questions. You may have to re-write the question a few times but even in doing so, make sure that your re-statement of the question still gets to the root of the overall intention of the question at hand and what it intended to assess for in the first place.

Limitations of Scripted Interviews

Scripted interview questions can make an interviewer feel limited in their efforts to gleam the candidate's overall qualifications. However, it is essential to note that one must have the skillset to feed into canned questions with follow-up questions.

Follow-up questions are sometimes required to understand candidates' additional answers or expand on a previously given solution. Know that it is okay to follow up with an appropriate question or even a secondary question that pushes the candidate to answer the original question at hand.


Awkward Moments

Speaking of awkward moments --scripted interviews can create awkward moments for participants. For example, have you ever participated in an interview where someone either didn't understand the question, clearly, purposefully elected to not answer the question by way of a barrage of circular responses that walked all over the question?

Interviewers must prepare for the awkward moment that will arise when you least expect it and respond accordingly to keep things moving effectively.

These are just a few examples of the pros and cons associated with the scripted interview. Keep them in mind the next time you participate and adjust accordingly.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2016 Mahogany Speaks


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