How To Put A Job Candidate At Ease During An Interview

Job interviews are one of the most stressful parts of the job search process. Nearly every job candidate gets nervous before, during, and after a job interview. It’s totally understandable and it’s something that we can all relate to. As the job interviewer, part of your job is to put a job candidate at ease during an interview.

Body of a man in shirt and tie sitting at desk with a mirror image in the desk's reflection

If a job candidate makes it to the interview round, they are committed to the job search process. It’s highly likely that they have a lot riding on their interview performance. This means that almost every job seeker will have a case of the nerves that can affect their behaviors and responses.

Job interview stress can create a challenging situation for everyone involved. When you can put a job candidate at ease during an interview, it will ultimately help you make better hiring decisions – and that’s a good thing.

Luckily as the job interviewer you have the power to put a job candidate at ease during an interview. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Let Them Know What To Expect – When you invite a job candidate to an interview give them all of the pertinent information like location, timeframe, type of interview, things they need to bring, etc.
  • Proper Preparation – Never head into an interview without properly preparing. Do your research on the job candidate and review their resumes and applications to ensure you know as much as possible.
  • Create The Right Environment – When you create a relaxing, welcoming, and comfortable environment to conduct the interview it can help a job candidate be themselves.
  • Smile And Be Friendly – A simple smile and friendly tone can help a job seeker calm down and open up. Be yourself and avoid the interrogating interviewer stereotype.
  • Plan An Introduction – Before you dive into the interview questions and skill tests, take a few minutes to introduce yourself. Establish any ground rules and tell the candidate the plan for the interview.
  • Set Them Up For Success – Remind the job candidate that you are looking for reasons to hire them. You aren’t looking for reasons to send them packing.
  • Pace Yourself – Plan out your interviewing strategy before you head through the door. Whether you stick to a script or you wing it, start with easy questions and build up to the harder stuff.
  • Ask Questions – Questions are the nuts and bolts of the job interview. The questions you ask can reveal a lot about the job candidate and the responses you hear can influence your hiring decision. Instead of making the interview seem like an interrogation, try to make it a conversation. Remember to let the job candidate speak and listen to what they have to say.
  • Eliminate The Tricky Interview Questions – Off the wall questions can totally throw a job candidate for a loop. If you don’t need to ask tricky questions, don’t. If you do need to, save them for the end.

A job interview is often the first face-to-face contact you’ll have with a job candidate. Make it count. When you follow these general guidelines on how to put a job candidate at ease during an interview, you’ll increase your chances of hiring better employees. A job candidate who is relaxed and comfortable will present a more authentic and genuine version of themselves. Then you can see what they are really all about.

How you conduct your interviews is ultimately up to you. It will depend on the position, the stage of interview, the job candidate, and other factors. Make a plan before the interview process begins and sticks with it. When you can successfully implement these things, you’ll get the hiring results you’ve been looking for.

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