Not every qualified and professional candidate are good at being interviewed especially as they don’t get much practise! So for this reason candidates are often nervous in an interview, and unless the Interviewer assists in identifying this and calming them down they could lose out on a perfect candidate as their perception of the candidate won’t be a true one.
The fact that a candidate is nervous should be seen as a complement by the Interviewer as it is a signal that the candidate would really like to work for them! Not every job type calls for confident extroverts, so this should be taken into account when identifying a nervous candidate.
Please see a couple of interview tips to assist in calming a candidate in order to truly identify their culture and skills match versus your vacancy.
Create a relaxed environment
Avoid sitting opposite a candidate in a formal boardroom style room as this will be intimidating for the best of us. A lounge type set up or a round table creates a more relaxing environment.
From the moment you introduce yourself to a candidate the atmosphere must be relaxed but professional. Embark on some small talk to settle the candidates nerves, conversation could range from weather, a topical issue, traffic or any other simplistic topic to get things started. At least 5 odd minutes should be spent on general conversation which is also a good opportunity to get to know the candidate on a personal level so conversation could be directed to hobbies, interests etc. Offering the candidate something to drink is also a kind gesture as when a person is nervous their mouth will dry up and become difficult to talk.
Your body language will set the tone for the interview, from when you shake the candidate’s hand, eye contact you make and the smile you give all within the first minute of meeting the nervous candidate. Ensure you give a warm greeting and smile and be professional by shaking the candidate’s hand, but remember you don’t have to be domineering by crushing the candidates hand and putting the fear in them before even asking them the first question!
You are interviewing a candidate as their CV has already given you a sense of faith that they will be able to effectively fill your vacancy. So the interview is to predominately determine culture fit, so you need a relaxed candidate to get the true reflection. So start with easy questions that the candidate can answer with facts and this will assist in building their confidence. Try not interrogate the candidate, let the interview questions flow in a conversation, and give positive response to the candidate to reassure them they are responding as you require.
Always put yourself in the shoes of the candidate, and treat the candidate as you would like to be treated in your next interview!