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8 ways to help your candidate excel at interview

8 ways to help your candidate excel at interview

The interview process in 2017 is as much about your interview style, employer brand and company as it is about your candidate.

It can be a nervous and intimidating process for your shortlisted applicants, but also to you as an employer too. Interviews are a unique situation, and one that can invoke nerves which ultimately means you and your  candidates may not perform to the best of your ability.

Ultimately, you want your candidate to perform well. You’ve invested heavily in the process through your time, energy and budget, so helping them to relax rather than feel awkward will help facilitate a more fluid and smooth interview process.

If you’re interviewing in the near future, here’s 8 tips to ensure you get the most from your candidates on the day.


It seems obvious, but booking a room which has enough space and light will set the interview off on the right track. Unless you’re planning a tour as part of the interview process the interview room will be the only place your candidate sees so make it a good one. 

Do your prep

Make time before the interview to ensure you have thoroughly read through their CV and listed any questions  you want to cover off. Turn off your mobile phone, and ensure that your team don’t disturb you unless it’s absolutely critical. Checking your emails is also a NO GO!

Create a relaxed environment

Think about the role and the type of image you want to portray and set the room up to reflect this. A comfy area or sofa may be more appropriate than a panel table set up. A boardroom style layout could be intimidating. Consider using an oval or round shaped boardroom to create a sense of openness. 


When you greet your candidate, engage in plenty of small talk to help wipe away their initial interview nerves. Their journey, the weather and anything specific to the time of day are all great ice-breaker topics. Offer them a hot or cold drink and always have plenty of water in the room. 

Straight forward questions to start

Start by explaining the run of order for the interview so your candidate knows what to expect. Kick off with several simple, open questions so they can relax into the process and build their confidence along the way. 

Check your body language

Smile regularly, don’t fold your arms or make wild hand gestures or movements. Also, check for ‘mirroring’ signals where you adopt a similar posture to your candidate to help build trust and rapport. 

Be approachable

Remember that the interview isn’t an interrogation. Don’t interrupt, ramble or cut them short through their answers. Many interviewers assume that coming across as professional means you have to be cold or unfriendly in an interview scenario. Let your own personality come through and remember that you are also selling yourself and your company to your interviewee.

Ask clear questions

Revisit your questions before the interview to check that they are clear and well phrased.  A clear example here is when you use a phrase internally which externally has no meaning such as – “how do you feel about travelling once a week to our TCR office?” Internally everyone knew it was Tottenham Court Road, but for the candidate it made no sense.  

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