If you’re interviewing job candidates, you know sometimes their nerves get the better of them. And unfortunately, this will interfere with your ability to choose the best person for the job. So, how can you help your candidates feel more relaxed? Use these hiring manager tips for a stress-free interview.
How to Design a Stress-Free Interview
Let Candidates Know What to Expect
Outlining the interview process before the big day is a wonderful way to calm people’s nerves. Start with directions. Although many people will use GPS, detail other particulars such as where to park and which door to enter. Also, provide an agenda so your candidate knows the timeframe, the tasks involved, and with whom they will be meeting. Your organization may even decide to put together a standard, but easily customizable, interview packet you can automatically send to invitees.
Extend a Warm Welcome
When your interviewee finally arrives, you don’t want them wandering around the building or sitting alone in the waiting room. This will only increase their anxiety. Have a plan to welcome them. Appoint someone who will greet candidates at the door and make sure they have everything they need. This may include a place to put their coat, the location of the restroom and/or a glass of water. Think of this as being a gracious host.
Create a Comfortable Environment
The location of the interview may also impact the candidate’s performance. In fact, a public setting filled with constant interruptions will distract both you and the candidate. Instead, find a semi-private room where you won’t be disturbed. Also, pay attention to seating arrangements. Having the interviewee at one end of a long table with everyone else on the other side can feel intimidating.
Keep the Interview Conversational
Interviews are meant to be a conversation, not an interrogation. Encourage a more natural back-and-forth flow by beginning with easy questions to build rapport. Once your candidate seems to have settled in, then move on to a more serious evaluation.
Watch for Signs of Nervousness
Since interviews are stressful, your candidate may still be anxious despite your best efforts. Some signs, like fidgeting, are more obvious than others. Therefore, be on the lookout for subtle body language that indicates nervousness. This could include rapid blinking, lip biting, crossed arms or legs, and/or closed postures. Since your interviewee’s emotions will make it more difficult for you to assess them, strive to make them more comfortable. One tactic could be to switch things up. For example, offer to start with a skill test or tour. Even if this alters your original schedule, a change of pace could ease your candidate into the process. And this, in turn, will allow them to more accurately reveal their true skill set and personality.
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