Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Diana Clark. Her opinions are her own.
A job interview is undoubtedly a tremendously important event for a candidate. It is an opportunity to be hired by a great company and develop new professional skills, which are critical for advancing their career. That’s why a candidate always tries hard to build rapport with the interviewer. This strategy allows the candidate to demonstrate professional abilities and make a strong first impression.
But what about the interviewers? What’s the strategy they can use?
It turns out it’s very similar to the strategies employed by candidates because they also have to try to establish a meaningful connection in order to make the candidates feel comfortable to answer their questions.
Interviewers typically need to demonstrate the culture of the company and then see how the candidate responds. To accomplish that, they have to build rapport with the candidate and allow them to feel welcomed while promoting the desire to commit to organizational policies.
We have collected some helpful tips from HR experts to help you to create a comfortable atmosphere for job seekers during the interview process.
1. Be welcoming and polite
It is an obvious requirement that must be adhered to by interviewers in all companies regardless of size and industry. When a candidate walks into an interview room, make sure you greet them by shaking their hand and introducing yourself. In addition to your name, you should also give the candidate your current position in the company.
At this point, some small talk is also appropriate so you can fill the silence during the time when the candidate is getting settled. Also, feel free to offer the candidate a glass of water or a cup of coffee or tea if available. (If the candidate says yes, you can make one for yourself as well).
Finally, don’t forget to thank them for their time. Most candidates will have taken time out from their current job to meet with you, so a little appreciation would be nice.
2. Do your Homework
Before any interview, you must review the information about all candidates, including their previous job, interests, accomplishments, and so on. Also, if a portfolio with their best works is available, have a look at that too. All information that was sent to an interviewer needs to be carefully analyzed to make you better prepared for the actual interview and to identify qualified candidates.
Perhaps, you will find some information that will help you to get to know the candidate better as well as explore his or her past experience. For example, you can then probe as to why the candidate left a previous job after working there for just three months. The answers to these questions will provide an insight into the personality of the interviewee and help to select the best one.
3. Don’t ask trick questions
According to experienced recruiters, you shouldn’t go for complex questions right away. The reason is simple: rapport will be impossible to build if the interviewer starts to ask complex, confusing or trick questions. If anything, they only contribute to a tense atmosphere because the candidates could become nervous. Usually, most significant information is included in their CV, so asking simple questions for clarifying this information is a good point.
Instead, it is recommended to begin the interview with some relatively simple questions and then sticking to behavioural based questions that will allow the candidate to talk about their past experience and achievements.
4. Always provide an opportunity to ask questions
The candidate will typically have questions for you as well. Compensation, flexible hours, health insurance, office location, you name it. It is completely reasonable to have these kinds of questions at their first interview with a prospective new company, so they must be answered. That’s why you should always end an interview by giving the candidate the opportunity to ask some questions as well.
Try to answer them to the best of your knowledge and be honest. If for some reason you can’t give an answer, you can always ask someone to assist you or you can call the candidate later that day once you have found the answers. Don’t try to give false or incomplete information because the success of the candidate may depend on your answer.
5. Open space
The room setting is also an important element in any interview. Experienced HR specialists say that the best distance between an interviewer and a candidate allows for comfortable eye contact, so they should not be sitting in different corners of the room. In some cases, the table that separates them is eliminated to make it less formal and more comfortable for the interviewee.
It is a common practice for experienced interviewers to arrange the room before the meeting so that it meets all individual requirements. For example, contemporary practices suggest that the table is not a mandatory requirement for such rooms to provide an open space.
There are many ways in which interviewers prepare to meet with candidates. The chief goal of the preparation is to make them relaxed and comfortable to share their true qualities and strengths. In turn, this environment can help the interviewer select the most suitable candidate.