Interviews are intimidating, even for the most qualified candidate.

Students and grads are eager to hatch meaningful careers with top employers, and making a great impression during an interview is a key step in achieving that goal. They’re enthusiastic and prepared but often feel nervous about their ability to “knock it out of the park”.

Take an active role in ensuring their success by helping students and grads feel comfortable before, during and after an interview.

Doing so can help to give candidates the confidence boost they need to be successful, and can also have positive repercussions on your employer brand. From attracting quality candidates to setting the stage for effective onboarding, helping Gen Y feel comfortable can strengthen the recruitment work you do throughout the year.

Before the interview

Start the process off right by front-loading useful information to help Gen Y prepare. Top students and grads will already be conducting their own background research, but other details can help students and grads feel confident as they walk into the interview room.

Try sending out a pre-interview info package to Gen Y candidates – the package can be sent out with your email correspondence once a candidate has confirmed their interview date and time, and should include a round-up of existing resources such as:

    • video content depicting your workplace culture
    • names of interviewers + a general overview of their work history with your brand
    • logistical details, like the best place to park or directions if arriving by public transit

Another tip? Know their background! Before each interview, give the candidate’s application one more quick read through to ensure their career story is fresh in your mind. While it may seem basic, this exercise can help to maximize your time during the interview, reflect in the way you conduct the conversation (the questions you ask, the ice-breakers you use) and signal to the candidate that you know who they are and are excited to meet them.

During the interview

On interview day, nervous jitters are at an all-time high – recruit a “culture-carrier” from your workforce to be the designated candidate office “greeter”! A smile and a warm hello can help to make Gen Y feel more comfortable when they arrive at your office, and will give them an opportunity to experience your organization’s workplace culture first-hand.

Ask your greeter to introduce themselves to the candidate, explain what they do at your organization and fill the candidate in on your expected timeline – how long until they will escorted into the interview room, how long the interview should last, etc. This exercise can help you screen for culture fit (are they able to build a rapport with others?) while demonstrating your welcoming environment to the candidate.

Once in the interview room, take a few moments to provide the candidate with a brief overview of how your time together will be spent. Gen Y is the most connected generation to-date, so they’re accustomed to knowing what’s going on around them at all times. By providing them with a quick overview of the interview agenda, you’ll help to  make them feel more comfortable and keep your time together focused and on-track.

After the interview

Once the interview is done, you have a prime opportunity to strengthen your recruitment efforts by providing candidates with guidance on what they can expect next. As you walk your candidate out of the building, let them know in a conversational way what the next steps in the process are: when they can expect to hear from your team if they’ll be called in for a second interview, if you’ll be checking their references, etc.

Students and grads want to know whether they’ve made it past the interview round – regardless of your decision, you can clear the air, avoid any unnecessary follow up and give candidates an idea of what to expect in the days following your meeting. This will reflect favourably on your employer brand and wrap up the recruitment process on a positive note.

Discussion:  What are your interview best practices?