Conducting an Effective Interview

After conducting your fair share of interviews, you probably realize by now that some interviews go wrong purely because candidates are nervous. This can result in the loss of some really great hires in the process. It’s in your best interest to create a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere during the interview. Doing this will allow candidates to show their best qualities, helping yourself to distinguish top talent. 


Here are some tips on how to make candidates feel relaxed during a job interview:


Be detailed in your interview invitation

By providing as much practical information as you can about the interview, you can alleviate candidate fears of the unknown. When writing an invitation to an interview, specifying which topics you’d like to discuss in particular, and providing tips about company culture, procedures, and dress-code are great steps to making a candidate feel safe and prepared.


Be on time

You don’t want your candidate to be waiting on you. This can be stressful for them and cause them to question if they’re in the right place at the right time. By being prompt you can avoid any unnecessary stress.


Ask what part of town they are based in. 

Start by asking how their drive over was and what part of town they are in. Make connections early on with favorite coffee shops/ restaurants, landmarks, or even having grown up in the area.

If a phone or video interview, ask how far they are in relation to where the job site is.


Throw softball questions first. 

Instead of launching into a grueling interrogation of why they are looking to leave their current employer – or worse land on a story about how they were part of a 250 person lay off, start with easy questions.

Bonus points if you set them at ease with a smile and handshake upon first greeting.


Introduce Yourself and the Team

Some quick introductions to your team are part of business etiquette and are a good idea even if you don’t hire this person. This is especially crucial for hires you plan to incorporate in the existing company structures. Give candidates a brief overview of the team, explaining each member’s role and responsibilities.


Share information about the role.

This is critical if this is the first conversation someone from your company has had with the candidate. They are coming into the conversation in good faith and if you want to build trust early on, start by acknowledging that you reached out to them and would love to share a few details about the position.


Flatter them. No, Really.

“Wow, you’ve been with XYZ Company for 4 years; did you start in your current role or move into it?”

Rather than asking why they are leaving, ask for the origin story with their present employer. This is a natural way to start the professional dialogue and gives you insight into their career progression.


Bring up the weather. 

If you are drawing an absolute blank, channel your grandparents and bring up the unseasonably heavy rain or heat wave. 

Your goal is to get the candidate comfortably talking; the weather is about as safe as it comes.


If you want to get the most out of an applicant, it starts with putting them at ease and building trust right out the gate. It can be easy to forget how nervous a candidate is in an interview, much more genuine rapport can be generated by approaching them in a friendly and personable manner.