Connect with us


Yewande Jinadu: 5 Ways to Help Your Interviewee Become More Comfortable

decided to turn the table around and give tips to employers and HR professionals. This is because you also have a lot to lose if we let a good talent go by just because you are unwilling to be flexible and human.



Last week I shared a post talking about the importance of candidate experience to employers, and the unspoken magic it has toward attracting the right talents.

Here is a real life story of something that happened recently:

Various candidates came for an assessment for a finance role. After five minutes, a candidate called me and said she was done (the assessment was to last for one hour thirty minutes).

I asked her what was wrong, and she said she didn’t understand the questions. She tried thinking for five minutes and nothing came, so she decided to go home.

I sensed she was tense. I’m not a finance professional, but I mentioned to her that bank reconciliation isn’t difficult. I asked if she studied it in school. She said, yes, it’s not difficult.

I said, but that’s Question 4. She was surprised. Apparently, she didn’t see the question. The first difficult one she saw destabilized her.

Then I mentioned that she should have been taught internal control in school. She said, yes. I said, that’s Question 3. Then I advised her to start from the easiest, which was bank reconciliation. When she was done, she could take a look at the rest of the questions.

She felt calmer and decided to start with it. Eventually, she spent over an hour and thirty minutes.

Sometimes, as HR professionals, we need to go the extra mile toward helping candidates. I could have easily dismissed her and accepted her defeat, but I decided to push and encourage her.

What was the result? It made her feel I was on her side, rooting for her; which I honestly was.

Here are five ways to calm a tense jobseeker:

Have a warm smile
It’s not only when you’re about to meet with a client that you begin to smile and laugh at jokes that may not be funny. Sometimes, all that candidate needs to stop shaking is that smile. Share it.

Watch out for the signs of being tense
Most times, their hands are shaking. Their voices are shaking. They add too many ‘ems’ to their sentences. They have too many black-outs.

Ask the candidate if he/she is tense
You can also ask the person to take few seconds to breathe before starting over. This passes a message of “I can see what’s happening to you and I understand, you don’t have to be tense.”

Introduce an ice breaker
An ice breaker is that unrelated statement or question that may not be related to the interview. It could be about football, makeup, etc. You can also try complimenting something about the candidate too. Ice breakers are meant to lighten the mood and encourage the person to talk.

Ask the person to start over
If the candidate doesn’t answer the question properly and you feel that it is due to nerves, it is alright to re-assure the candidate that you will disregard the question. It makes them feel you are rooting for them, encouraging them to give it all they have.

Most times, we give tips to candidates to help them scale through. This time I decided to turn the table around and give tips to employers and HR professionals. This is because you also have a lot to lose if we let a good talent go by just because you are unwilling to be flexible and human.

Yewande Jinadu is the Founder of CareerLife ( and also the Head, People and Culture of a leading tech firm. She has been recognised both globally and locally as an HR Leader and Career Influencer. With CareerLife Foundation, she helps young professionals achieve measurable success in their career. With CareerLife Consulting Services, she partners with businesses to deliver value through its people by providing HR Services (Recruitment, Training etc). She can be reached via [email protected] or @careerlifeng on Twitter and Instagram

1 Comment

  1. Rebecca Obuseh

    October 31, 2019 at 3:35 pm

    Excellent write up! I wish this can be shared to most HR Professionals and hiring managers, it will help a lot of great talents to be successful.

    I have had experiences where hiring managers made the interview meeting very tensed and seemed to enjoy my failure. They had this terrible look on their faces and made comments that sounded insulting. They were not professional at all. They were not professional.

    In addition, HR professional can also help the candidate in securing another opportunity in the organization even if such candidate failed the interview as long as they can determine the candidate possesses the right attitude. The candidate can be given another opportunity when there are other job openings.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Tangerine Africa

Star Features