A lot of emotions course through any candidate when they arrive for a job interview—whether they’re a highly qualified professional or fresh out of college. Confidence, eagerness, nervousness and even dread can come into play no matter what the job or the candidate’s qualifications. What’s common is that interviewees are doing their best to hide any fear or insecurities. But that doesn’t mean your company shouldn’t be prepared to alleviate these feelings.
Making job candidates feel at ease in interviews shows your organization has a strong culture of caring, and it allows candidates to be themselves and be more open when responding to questions. So it’s important for both your company and your candidate to create a comfortable atmosphere during an interview.
Start by giving them as much information as possible before they come to the in-person interview. It’s a good idea to have the recruiter and if possible, the interviewer, call them before the visit to give them a little taste of the company—it’s latest projects, its new advances, its office culture. The recruiter could even give the candidate some detailed instructions; for example, offer an exact description of how to get to the interview location to ease nerves, such as, “use the elevator to go to the fifth floor, check-in, and there will be someone there to greet you.” The recruiter should also tell the interviewee who will be conducting the interview, so the candidate can be well-prepared. The more information you give, the more confident your aspiring employee will be when coming into a new situation and environment.
A company’s culture is something that interviewees will feel and see the minute they walk into the door. Having the company’s values, mission, and vision proudly displayed in photo frames around a reception area is a great way to show what the company believes in while individuals are waiting. Also, having a greeter is a great way to make a strong first impression. Who wouldn’t want to immediately see a friendly face to welcome them in? Greeters can diffuse nervousness by small talk, asking if the interviewee needs anything (a drink, bathroom visit or phone charger?). The way interviewees are first treated can make the strongest impressions about what the company believes, and how it cares for its employees. With these small gestures, they will feel comfortable right away in a place that may be a long-term workplace for them.
Sprinkle the confidence
After the warm greeting, it’s time to bring your candidate to the interview location–and, again, a comfortable setting is crucial. Try to give the interviewee a choice if there are multiple options in a room: Sofa or chairs at a table? One or the other might be better for the material the candidate is planning to show you. Once everyone is settled, a great way to avoid jitters is have an agenda for the interview and go over it with the candidate at the beginning. If you’d like, add a little back story on the open position and why you chose to interview them. Right off the bat, that will sprinkle them with some confidence and make them more comfortable. As you ask questions during the process, remember to try to smile and make eye contact.
Even if your candidate seems confident, nervous body language might tell another story. Fidgeting, yawning, or pausing in the conversation are giveaways. If the candidate seems nervous, more confidence-boosting is in order. Make the interview more conversational and assure them they can contact you afterwards if they have any additional questions they may have forgotten. Leaving this option on the table ensures you’ll get the best information and impression of your candidate. Remember, the best information is what you want, and the way to get it is by making the candidate feel as comforatble and welcome as possible.
Ultimately, an employee who is engaged from the start is also what you want. If your interviewee is offered and accepts your job, the warm welcome you first gave will ensure you’ll be bringing a grateful and motivated team member in the door, ready to do great things for your business.