How to Put a Candidate at Ease During an Interview

One of the toughest things about interviewing is being able to get a sense of who the candidate is when they are very nervous. The stakes are high for them. They often try so hard to make a positive impression that they can come across as awkward or unprofessional. As the interviewer, it’s up to you to put their mind at rest, calm their jitters and let the real person shine through.

Here are a few ways you can meet this challenge.

Set expectations. One of the most stressful things about the job search process is the unknown. The candidate doesn’t know your hiring process or your corporate culture. Tell them who they will be meeting with, the titles of those individuals and perhaps what each interviewer will be looking for. For example, explain that Tom from HR will be asking general questions about experience and that Jane, who runs the department, will be trying to get a sense of how well the candidate will fit into the team. Provide a rough time frame for the hiring decision and what steps are involved.

Communicate logistics. Tell interviewees where to park, which entrance to use and what they should do when they arrive. Driving around looking for street parking, if they don’t know it’s okay to use the company lot, can raise their anxiety levels and even make them late, setting them off on the wrong foot.

Be friendly and welcoming. You want the candidate to see themselves working for you. Make sure the environment is as comfortable as possible. Interview in a conference room, not in the office of a pack rat.

Focus on the candidate. Schedule the interview on a day with few distractions. Slow yourself down. The questions you ask may be routine for you, but it’s the first time the candidate is hearing them, so be sure that it’s clear what you are asking. Allow the candidate plenty of time to respond or ask follow-up questions.

Be prepared. Much is made of the importance of candidates preparing for the interview, but few consider that it’s equally important that the interviewer is well-prepared. Be clear about the requirements of the position, the questions you plan to ask and who is sitting in front of you. You should be aware of why this particular candidate is being considered for the position and familiar with their resume. Ideally, prepare a couple of specific questions based on their resume.

Skip the “gotcha” questions. There is a school of thought that asking questions designed to throw a candidate off balance is an effective way to interview. Unless this is the actual work environment the candidate will be expected to work in, this is not a good practice. It ups the stress level and creates a negative vibe and makes the candidate feel defensive and attacked.

High Profile can find the highly skilled employees you need to reach your goals, even in a tight talent market. To find out more about how our staffing service can help you, give us a call today at 972-991-7900 or contact us online.