Comfortable people will tell you almost anything. Uncomfortable people will tell you almost nothing at all.
This is why creating the proper interview environment – mentally and physically – means doing whatever you can to ensure the candidates relax because only comfortable applicants will give you the information you need to make the best decision:
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- Be prepared.
- Be on time.
- Greet the applicant warmly and restate your name and title.
- In the applicant’s presence, ask a staff member to ensure you’re not disturbed. This lets the applicant know you think the interview is important.
- Minimize distractions – no phone calls, interruptions, or piles of paperwork around.
- For the first few minutes, or as long as it takes, make small talk about something like the weather or traffic and offer the applicant coffee or a soft drink. A couple of minutes of neutral, give-and-take conversation up front will improve the quality of the entire interview.
- Whenever possible, avoid interviewing across a desk. It creates a formal barrier between you and the applicant that’s not only stressful, but blocks you from seeing 80 percent of the applicant’s body language. Ideally, you and the applicant should sit side-by-side or in full view of each other.
- Before the interview, try out the seat you’ll offer the applicant to make sure it’s comfortable.
- If it’s a group interview, make sure seating arrangements are designed for maximum comfort.
The above is an excerpt from my bestseller, Hire Tough, Manage Easy. Check it out here along with my other books on how best to recruit, select, and retain hourly employees.