There’s nothing worse than watching a promising candidate struggle during a job interview. They give rambling answers, sweat profusely, and draw one too many blanks. You just hope they can turn things around. But the truth of the matter is, the interview might be going south because it got off to a rocky start on your end.
Whether it’s a gruff welcome or a confusing first question, there’s a lot that the interviewer might do to set an interviewee up for failure. And that can have a bad effect on your overall candidate experience and employer brand.
If you want to make sure all of your interviews start off on the right foot, take some advice from these hiring experts:
1. Start with the basics.
The best way to start an interview, from the employer’s perspective, is to speak about the position that is going to be filled. What is the job all about and what will the person do? What is it you’re looking for and why? What is the group like, as well as the corporate culture?
By defining the position for the job hunter, you will find people will disqualify themselves immediately, which will save you time. In addition, there is no mystery about the job; after all, you’re telling them about it right away.
2. Put them at ease.
I’ve interviewed hundreds upon hundreds of people over the years, and there is something simple that I have found helps get interviews off on the right foot. Simply start off with a big smile, a firm handshake, and have the first question be about one of [the candidate’s] interests outside of the job.
As an example, let’s say they list ‘golf’ as one of their interests. Being able to start off with a question about a golf course in the area is a great ice breaker to help put the candidate at ease. Let’s face it, going through an interview is a stressful procedure, so why not do what you can to help the candidate relax and provide honest answers?
3. Ask about their job search.
I am about respect and warmth. I like to let candidates know what to expect in the interview prior to starting. So a bit of small talk, preamble before I start the interview. I’m always curious on how their job search is going — which is typically my first question. This is also for me to identify how motivated they are about making a change.
4. Focus on the candidate.
Some of the common mistakes that can lead to a shaky start to an interview are a negative attitude/stiff presence and only focusing on what the candidate can do for you — not what you can do for the candidate.
It’s important to impress the candidate just as much as they impress you. This ensures a positive brand image, makes candidates feel more comfortable, and makes them want to work for you. If you have a bad start, especially with a top candidate, you’re probably going to be losing out — if not on their candidacy, on their productivity if they land the job. They generally won’t be thrilled.
What are some other ways to start every job interview off right? Share in the comments below!