Employer advice

Five tips to help your candidate relax at interview

The interview process enables you to assess a candidate’s skills and experience as well as their personal attributes. It can be a nerve-wracking experience for the applicant but can also be an intimidating process for an employer too. If a candidate is overly nervous, they may not perform to the best of their ability and it can make the process rather awkward for all involved.
All interviewers want their interviewee to perform well and by helping them to relax, they can hopefully facilitate a smooth interview process.
If you have a round of interviews coming up, here are five tips to ensure a relaxed interview room:

1. Location, location, location

In some organisations, space can be at a premium, but try to choose an interview room that best represents your company. Interviewing in a cupboard sized store room will not make the best impression. If possible, book out a comfortable and good sized meeting room early, to ensure you have a quiet, appropriate space for your interview. Unless you plan to show the candidate around the organisation, this will be the only part of the business your applicant will see – so you’ll want to show the working environment in its best light. If you’re after a more informal setting, a quiet corner of a canteen or comfy sofa area in your organisation might feel more fitting.

2. Friendly and approachable

Sometimes employers can come across rather cold in their efforts to show professionalism. Professional doesn’t need to equal unfriendly. Try to put the candidate at ease with your demeanour – this can be as simple as a genuine smile and offering to get them a drink.

3. A little introduction

A candidate will probably be at their most nervous at the very start of the interview. It may be helpful to ease them into the process gently by giving them a short introduction to the company, what you do there and the purpose of the vacancy. They’ll probably know these details already, but this will help to open the interview in a non-confrontational way and give them a little breathing space to collect their thoughts.

4. Be clear

Make sure your questions are clear and well-phrased. Also, try to make sure that the interview is as jargon-free as possible to help avoid confusion. There may be particular terms and expressions that you use internally that won’t always translate to an external audience. If a candidate appears baffled by a certain question, try to phrase it in a different way or give an example to ensure clarity.

5. Help them to shine

An interview shouldn’t be seen as an opportunity to intimidate or catch the candidate out. Instead, the employer should work with the candidate to help them demonstrate their best knowledge and expertise. Try to start with the easier, more informal ‘get-to-know you’ talk to help the candidate relax into the questioning.  Make sure you do your preparation too, so that you understand their CV, their past roles and have relevant questions at the ready. Try to get your candidate excited about what they’re discussing and try to wheedle out the areas they’re passionate about.