Making interviews a positive experience

Make no mistake, whichever side of the desk you are sitting on interviews are difficult. On one hand you have the nervous candidate desperately trying to convince the interviewer that they are the perfect person for the job. On the other side you have the weary employer hoping that every person who walks into the room will be the needle in the haystack they are looking for. Accepting a job offer that isn’t all it’s cracked up to be can be a nightmare, hiring the wrong person can prove costly in terms of both time and money. No wonder interviews have such a highly charged atmosphere.

Despite the fact we all know that interviews are an essential step in the hiring process way too many of us are making mistakes of pretty epic proportions that are largely preventable. A hiring manager has spent hours trawling through CV’s looking for the ideal candidate that more than likely doesn’t exist or at least not in a genuine perfect form. Whereas the candidate has honed their spiel to such as extent it sounds unnatural and robotic and they blow the interview. Here are few easy to implement ways of making an interview an altogether more positive experience for everyone involved.

Try to relax and be yourself


With so much emphasis being put on interviews it’s very easy to overlook the fact that this is a conversation with the aim of two people getting to know each other. Of course the stakes are higher than a conversation you would strike up with someone at a bus stop but the premise is the same. By putting on an act and trying to be anybody but yourself you are not doing yourself any favours.

Far too often people enter an interview with a pre-conceived notion of what is expected from them. There is so much information available now on interview etiquette that mistakes are made on both sides. The manager oversells the position or the company or both whereas the enthusiastic candidate rattles off their pre-rehearsed speech and answer questions in the manner they think the manager wants to hear them.

The key to striking the right balance is to be yourself but the best version of yourself. Smart, friendly, open, attentive and receptive. Don’t fidget and fiddle, don’t make promises you can’t keep and think you can ‘wing it’. Honesty and transparency at all times is vital and by being yourself you will be far more relaxed as you won’t be having to wrack your brains to remember what you’ve previously said.



Those seeking employment should know their own capabilities and be able to give the interviewer direct answers regarding their past experience. Giving specific examples rather than vague references is also preferable and gives a good indication of how you are willing to go that extra mile. If a question arises regarding something you haven’t actually done before you should be able to use examples of things you have done which are relevant to the question. If you find yourself in a situation where you are unable to relate information from your CV or tie in your work experience with evocative questions then you need to brush up on these before your next interview. Get somebody to act as an interviewer to make sure you are up to speed on these important details. However, remember to be honest, people will respect you more.


Those looking to hire will know exactly which areas your team is lacking in and the skills you need from your new employee. Stick to this premise and only ask questions prevalent to the position, don’t try to trip candidates up with irrelevant questions. There are only a couple of things you need to know; if the candidate has the skills you are looking for, do they have the capability of learning them and will they fit with your company culture. Concentrate on these key areas and don’t go off on a tangent asking questions that have no relevance. If you do this, and don’t like the candidate’s response, you could be missing out on a great employee simply by thinking too far outside of the box. Also, it is often worth doing a background check on those you think are suitable candidates to avoid wasting time and money on unsuitable fits for your business. You can find out here what services companies like Sterling Check offer.

Sonia Browne, director, Dream Medical Recruitment