Top interview tips for putting a candidate at ease

Top interview tips for putting a candidate at ease

This is the fifth in a series of articles of recruitment tips for company leaders, particularly those new to hiring. The full series can be found at monarc­hper­sonnel.­com.

A relaxed interviewee will express themselves with authenticity and confidence. It is your respon­sibility to ensure candidates are at ease during the interview and reassure them that they are not on trial!

The more authentic a candidate can be, the more chance you have of recruiting on mindset, which Monarch Personnel encourages all clients to do. As we always say, mindset matters!

How do you put a candidate at ease in an interview? There are many factors that come into play: environment, body language, conversation and more. What’s more, once your candidate is relaxed, you will be too, and the conversation can flow.  

Here we run through the basics you can put in place to facilitate a meaningful interview.

A warm welcome and a relaxed setting

Remember, an interview helps the candidate decide if your company is for them, just as much as it helps you decide if they’re right for you. You need to create a good first impression.

Greet the candidate properly by being friendly and confident. Offer them a drink and take them to a tidy interview setting. A relaxed room layout is preferable to a direct face to face meeting with a desk as a barrier. Put the chairs in a more informal arrangement, perhaps at an angle.

Introduce the company and the role

Once your candidate is settled, take a few minutes to introduce the company and its background. Then give a brief overview of the role and how it fits into the business and its objectives. This will set the scene and avoid any confusion over what is on offer.

Body language and eye contact

Making good eye contact is essential. It demonstrates interest and your focus on what is being discussed.

Subtly matching the applicant’s body language will help to keep them relaxed. If they sit at a slight angle, try to match that angle. If the direction they’re facing shifts slightly, you can try do to the same. This establishes camaraderie and will help them feel relaxed.

Active listening

Make it clear to the candidate that you are listening to them. Nodding and smiling at appropriate moments can calm a nervous candidate, as can using similar language to their own in follow-up questions.

If the applicant knows that they are being carefully listened to, it will give them confidence to say more, allowing their personality to come through.

Take time between questions

It’s helpful to interviewees to have a breather between questions. Often, they will be thinking about the quality of an answer they’ve just given while the next question is being asked. There’s a lot to take in.

Avoid filling silences, set the pace of the interview from the outset and the conversation will naturally flow. Give applicants time, after asking a question, for them to prepare and deliver their answer.

Encourage conversation

If an applicant appears to be struggling, help them by rephrasing the question or steering them back to an earlier answer that may help them get back on track.

Have a genuine interest in each candidate. Discover what’s important to them. This way, you will learn a lot about their character and have the opportunity to assess their personal skills. Do they have a growth mindset? Do they share your company’s values and ethics? There’s much to be learned from an anecdote!

Leave the difficult questions to last

Candidates can feel blindsided by difficult questions which knocks their confidence for the rest of the interview. By leaving difficult questions until the end, they have been able to express themselves confidently at least until that point. In fact, the confidence that has grown throughout the interview can lead them to deliver a better answer to tricky questions.

Develop your own style

As you conduct more interviews, you will develop a personal style which will evolve over time. At Monarch Personnel, we believe in delivering a positive interview experience. If you have a vacancy that you would like to discuss, why not get in touch?

Look out for the next article

Our final article in this series will be published next Wednesday 30th June. We will be looking at how to protect your brand when you are recruiting.

In the meantime, if you would like to learn more about Monarch Personnel, you can read our latest articles by signing up for our newsletter. You can also follow us on our social media channels: LinkedInTwitter & Facebook, or visit our website www.­monarc­hper­sonnel.­com.

Posted in Help & advice and tagged #hiring #leadershiptips #interviews on