Putting Candidates at Ease During Job Interviews

We spend a fair amount of time here on the Helpmates blog helping to ease the nerves of anxious and eager candidates. And with good reason – searching for jobs can be stressful! When someone is especially excited about a company and role, it can be hard to keep nerves at bay (We’ve all been there – remember the last time you had to interview for a job?).

Helping candidates feel at ease during interviews means better results for your business.HM

Of course, putting candidates at ease is a nice thing to do, but ultimately more relaxed candidates provide better quality responses and overall better interviews. Try these tips for putting candidates at ease, and you’ll be well on your way toward stronger interviews:

  • Prepare them. When scheduling interviews, give candidates an idea of the topics you’ll be discussing. There are two benefits here – 1) You’ll get better, more thoughtful answers from candidates to give you a more thorough impression  and 2) The candidate will feel better prepared when entering the interview and should be more comfortable with the process.
  • Greet them. Ensure there is someone to meet candidates as they arrive and possibly even give them a tour of your office as you get ready for the interview. Waiting silently in a reception area can be nerve-wracking and can result in extra jitters for candidates.
  • Smile often. It’s amazing how much power there is in a smile! Job interviews can make everyone feel nervous and uncomfortable, but a simple smile (genuine and often) can immediately make candidates feel more relaxed. It can help interviews be less stressful for you, too!
  • Set expectations. One of the most nerve-wracking parts of job interviews is not knowing the next steps. If you clear the air at the very beginning by explaining your plans and hiring process (and when candidates can expect to hear from you), you can immediately put candidates at ease by removing that key stressor.
  • Turn off the phone and computer. Candidates have done their research and practiced their responses…what could be worse than delivering a great response to your interview question only to have the phone ring or your email notification ding. Turn off your phone and computer (or at least silence them) before the interview to remove distractions and keep candidates at ease.

Before you can put candidates at ease during job interviews, finding top talent is the hardest part. Helpmates has been providing top talent to companies across Southern California for more than 40 years. We’ll help you get a better return on your talent investment.

Confidence is Key – How to Impress in Job Interviews

A few months ago, we talked about the importance of confidence in making a positive first impression with employers. But finding and exuding confidence can be a challenge in and of itself.

Showcase your skills and impress hiring managers by being confident.HM

If nerves are getting in the way of properly conveying confidence during your interviews, check out these tips. Doing your homework ahead of time can help quell nerves and help you put your best foot forward!

  • Show that you’ve done your research. Today’s employers want engaged employees who demonstrate they are invested in the company and its success. We always recommend candidates prepare for interviews by researching the position and company – it’s up to you to show that you’ve prepared! Prepare thoughtful questions that lead with something similar to “While researching your company, I noticed that [blank]” and you’ll not only demonstrate that you’ve done your research, you’ll impress interviewers by showing a genuine interest in their companies.
  • Pay attention to your body language. The old standards really come into play here – if you’re constantly looking down or mumbling, you are far from exuding confidence in an interview. Here’s a great list of body language mistakes to avoid from Forbes. One of the best ways to avoid body language mistakes and really exude confidence during your job interviews is to practice. Ask a friend or family member to act as the interviewer, and run through practice interview questions, working to avoid body language mistakes while providing thoughtful, positive responses.
  • Repeat back names as you meet new people. People like to hear their names – it makes them feel more positively toward you, and it can also make it feel like you “fit right in” despite meeting the employer for the first time. Plus, repeating back names can send a subliminal message that you intend to meet and speak with that person again. Listen carefully when introduced to any person at a prospective employer, then repeat that name back during introductions. Body language also plays a factor here – look someone in the eye, extend a firm handshake, and add a genuine, “Nice to meet you, [NAME].”
  • Practice what you want to say. There’s no way to know exactly what an interviewer will ask you during a job interview, but you can certainly have an idea of key points you’d like to make during job interviews. Prepare those responses and practice them ahead of time to sound cool and confident. The more you’ve said certain responses out loud, the more natural they’ll feel once you’re in an actual interview.
  • Be positive. Whether you’re talking about your skill set or your previous employers, always focus on positives in job interviews. No one likes to be surrounded by negative people – and although you may not mean to, talking about past challenges or mistakes can make you seem like you’re dwelling on the negative. That’s where practicing your responses comes into play – you can always take a positive spin! Work through any potentially negative areas and spin them to focus on the positive.

Doing your homework and being prepared for an interview is the easiest way to be relaxed and confident. Here at Helpmates, we help all our candidates prepare for interviews with Southern California’s top employers. We’ll help you find the right job to reach your goals, then we’ll help ensure you put your best foot forward with hiring managers. Search our available SoCal jobs to take the first step.

Not Getting Anywhere on LinkedIn? Here’s Why!

LinkedIn currently has more than 347 million users – not bad, right? Professionals are signing up to join LinkedIn at a rate of more than two new members per second. That means that your past employers, coworkers and clients are likely there – as are your current bosses, peers and clients. Of course, hiring managers are some of the most active on the professional social network site. All of this means that there is incredible opportunity for you to leverage LinkedIn as a potent job search tool.

But are you? hm1

Active LinkedIn users should see benefits within their careers and job searches. If you haven’t seen much result from your LinkedIn efforts, these reasons could be to blame:

  • An unprofessional picture (or none at all). When recruiters visit your LinkedIn profile, they are forming a first impression of you and your suitability for their opportunity. A picture on your LinkedIn profile is imperative – if your profile lacks an image, it can signal to recruiters that you don’t care about the impression you make on them. The right picture should look professional and portray you in a positive light. LinkedIn is not the place for vacation photos or images with your loved ones (we’ve even seen some pets!). Professional headshots are best, but aren’t always the most cost effective. Check out Craigslist for potential photographers – you can often find students or newer photographers looking for opportunities to build their portfolios. Their rates are often far lower than more experienced photographers, but with similar results.
  • Your profile is incomplete. LinkedIn makes it easy for you to complete your profile – you simply click on “edit profile” and click on each section to fill it in. Have a copy of your resume handy and get started…but add more personality and insight to your LinkedIn profile. This is a tremendous opportunity to “sell” yourself to employers. Give more depth and insight into how your skills and background translate to successful results for your employers. Show some personality (while remaining professional) and most importantly – be sure to fill out your entire profile!
  • Spelling or grammar errors. Possibly the oldest (and often considered the most critical) resume advice out there is to triple check it for spelling or grammar errors. As business language becomes slightly more conversational today, grammar errors are less of a concern (barring major mistakes), but there is certainly no excuse for spelling errors on a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is essentially your online resume – a spelling error on your resume will often result in it being tossed into the garbage. An error on LinkedIn can mean getting passed over for your dream job. Once you’ve double checked your resume for errors, ask a friend to look it over as well – someone else can often spot errors you missed.

Of course, the best way to find job search success is to have the most powerful tools and allies on your side. Here at Helpmates, we match talented professionals like you with opportunities at some of Southern California’s top employers. Search our available jobs in SoCal and submit your resume now to take the first step.

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