How to Make a Candidate Feel at Ease During an Interview

When a candidate is overcome with nervousness, an interview can go downhill quickly. Anxiety can cause people to behave in ways that are out of character, and you could be losing out on great employees thanks to nerves. It’s a good idea to help put candidates at ease so they can relax and show their true selves. Here are some tips on how to help candidates feel more relaxed during an interview.


Give Detailed Directions

You provide the candidate with your address and office number, of course, but go the extra mile and give them any additional information they may need in order to locate you. If they must enter through a specific door, park in a specific lot, bring two forms of ID or use a hidden staircase to find you, tell them those details. If they struggle to locate you, it will set their nerves on edge before they ever have a chance to say hello.

Be Friendly

Even if you are in a rush, smile warmly and offer a friendly greeting when you meet the candidate. You expect them to smile and make eye contact, so do the same for them. Go the extra mile and ask if they would like some water. Water can be a lifesaver for an anxious person, as anxiety can often lead to a dry mouth, which makes it difficult to talk.

Eliminate Distractions and Listen

When a candidate is answering a question, listen to what they have to say. Looking around or getting distracted by something in the room will only make the candidate more nervous. If you hold interviews in your office, turn off your computer monitor, turn off your smartphone and put your desk phone on silent. If you succumb to distractions in the interview, it will make candidates feel like you aren’t interested in what they have to say and can ruin any rhythm and rapport you’ve managed to build.

Avoid Curveball Questions

If you aren’t interviewing for an upper-level engineer, don’t ask overly complex questions that have nothing to do with the job like, “If a person dials a sequence of numbers on the telephone, what possible words/strings can be formed from the letters associated with those numbers,” which was an actual question Google used to ask candidates.  Some people believe asking curveball questions gives you an idea of how a candidate reacts and responds to pressure, these types of questions are typically counterproductive and will do nothing to put the candidate at ease.


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