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4 ways to help your candidates relax on a video interview

Posted on 6/08/2021 by Hannah Strauss

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An interview can be nerve-wracking at the best of times, but video interviews can be even more stressful for applicants. An interview should be both an opportunity for the interviewee to sell themselves but also to get a better feel for your organisation, the job role and you as an employer. Whilst they may have all the necessary skills and relevant experience on paper, their nerves may prevent them from being able to demonstrate this verbally.

As an interviewer, it is easy to misinterpret nervous, uncertain candidates as incompetent, but this is often not the case. Being an effective speaker may not be everyone’s strength, but this does not mean they’re not qualified for the role. It is important not to be biased when you are interviewing candidates – you may automatically be drawn to the more confident, extroverted characters and subsequently rule out great candidates for your organisation.

It is in your best interests to help candidates feel as relaxed and comfortable as possible because they are likely to interview to the best of their ability and this will enable you to gain an unbiased opinion of them and appoint the best candidate for the job. Here are our 4 top tips on helping your candidates relax on a video interview:

1) Preparation is key

Applicants often fear job interviews in general because it feels unknown to them. The greater detail you can share about the process ahead of time, the more comfortable an interviewee is likely to feel. Consider the following: 

  • Have you let the candidate know who will be on the panel? 
  • How long the interview will last?
  • How they join the video call? 
  • What format the interview will take?
  • Are you able to share a couple of the interview questions or even the whole list of them? 
Also remember to let them know if there will be a task of any sort and what software they will need to use for this. 

2) Get the technology right

We know this is sometimes easier said than done but make sure you have done everything in your power to enable the technology to work on the day. Ensure you are familiar with the software you are using and that your internet connection is strong enough to allow the interview to run smoothly. 

Think about where you have positioned your camera and what the candidate can see in the background – your webcam should be an arm’s length away from where you will be sat and positioned at eye level where possible. Is there enough light in the room you will be conducting the interview and is it free of noise and distractions? 

Log on ahead of time to allow for any last-minute issues. 

3) Give a friendly introduction and build rapport

The start of the interview is when a candidate will likely be at their most nervous. When you first greet your candidate, make friendly small talk. It will lighten-up the mood a little and they will feel more at ease immediately. It’s good to start the interview by introducing yourselves to the candidate – it will create a friendly atmosphere and give the candidate a chance to compose themselves and be mentally prepared.

Sitting in an interview and having one or more expressionless faces staring back at you from the screen can be very intimidating for the candidate and could easily make them tense up even more. A smile and a sense of humour can help your candidate relax and open up. It can also be a sign of encouragement and can give your candidate an indication that they are on the right track.

Rather than having a rigid question-answer, question-answer process, why not input some of your own thoughts and turn the interview into more of a two-way conversation – this will also help delve deeper into some of the candidates’ answers.

4) Give them a chance to ask questions

It’s all very well you asking all the questions, but make sure you allow some time at the end for the candidate to ask questions, because this is a time for them to get to know you too, and for you to establish what really matters to them. They may have certain questions about the role, the organisation or may want to elaborate on some of their earlier answers – give them this chance. 

Remember this is also an opportunity for them to see whether the job and organisation is right for them and for you to sell yourselves.

You can find further useful interview advice from TPP here: 


We also offer a variety of free seminars and recruitment advice to help you successfully manage your team, recruit the right candidates and much more. If you're interested in finding out how TPP can help you put together the perfect team, get in touch on 020 7198 6000 or info@tpp.co.uk.