Today’s topic

How to create a candidate-friendly interview process

How to create a candidate-friendly interview process

87% of talent say a positive interview experience can change their mind about a role or company they once doubted. In short, the interview is the face of your business. It's a prime opportunity for your candidates to connect with your brand and the position. This makes it all the more important for companies to take care of their candidates during the interview.

This guide, featuring insights from Alex Tidgard, Licensed Psychologist and Founder of interview platform Asker Technologies, outlines key steps hiring teams can take today to ensure they're running candidate-friendly interviews.

#1 Tell candidates what to expect from the interview

According to Alex, setting the agenda early is key to ensuring the candidate knows what to expect from the interview. That could look like putting together an interview guide and sending it over to the candidate beforehand, down to simply listing what you will discuss in an email. 

  "The psychological contract that you sign with the candidate is so important. You're saying, "Do you agree that this is a good interview and this is what we're going to do? Do you want to add anything?" Essentially, you're inviting the candidate to be part of the interview as well."

Unsure how to set the agenda? Here are some tips you could include in your candidate's interview brief:

  • The interview setup
  • What topics/types of questions you'll ask 
  • The behaviours you're going to assess (you can even give them the definitions)

Tip: Some companies even offer sample questions to candidates beforehand, letting them practice before. This helps set candidates up for success before they enter the interview!

#2 Only ask relevant interview questions 

One of the fastest ways to get candidates frustrated with you is to ask off-topic, personal, or worse, intrusive questions when conducting an interview. 

Considering that over 80% of job seekers say a positive or negative candidate experience can change their minds about a role or company, it’s crucial to get the interview questions right. Not to mention, asking the wrong kind of questions does nothing in telling you whether a candidate is job-ready or not. 

Stick to factual questions that reveal a candidate's past work behaviours and competencies. And remember, you're measuring their role fit, not what school they attended or what they do after work hours. This also helps keep your unconscious bias down, as you're less likely to make a hiring decision based on whether the candidate has a similar background or interests to you.

Extra Tip: In the introduction part, when chatting to the candidate, if you want to ask a broader question, make sure it's still job-related. There's the classic "tell me about yourself" question, which is broad and open-ended but still specific to showcasing the candidate's work history.

#3 Make candidates feel comfortable

After public speaking, the job interview is people's second most nerve-wracking experience. In fact, going for a job interview is worse than going on a first date, with 93% admitting they felt more nervous before an interview. 

According to Alex, this places the responsibility on the interviewers' shoulders to make candidates feel at ease and focused on answering questions to the best of their ability.

  "We almost need to assume that the candidate is somewhat nervous, and our job as a person is to make sure that we make them feel comfortable. It's also of course, on a case by case, but I always try to say, "If you feel nervous, please tell me, and I'm more than happy to help you." Most people are nervous. Normalise that state."

Some ways to do this:

  • Factor time at the beginning for rapport-building. This makes candidates feel more relaxed, treating the interview more as a conversation than an interrogation.
  • Throw in a small fact about yourself to showcase you're also human and make the interview seem less scary.
  • Acknowledge that being nervous is ok. Reassuring the candidate can go a long way in making candidates feel more at ease.

#4 Be present in the interview

Some interviewers need to remember that the interview is actually about the candidate. It's their time to shine and tell you what you need to know about their competencies, past experiences, and job readiness. 

How to stay present during the interview:

  • Show candidates that you are actively listening. For example, recap what the candidate is saying or repeat their answers or statements back to them to show that you are paying attention and care about their replies.
  • Make eye contact. People usually like to feel seen. If you're conducting the call online, look at your camera now and again!
  • Close your other apps and put your phone away. Dedicate the time fully to the candidate (also candidates can tell if you're distracted or doing something else).

And one of Alex's most straightforward tips is just to let the candidate speak!

  "One of my best tricks is to be quiet. Ask the question, sit back, sit tight, and count sheep if you need to. Let the candidate have time to think and get their answer out. Show the candidate that there's no stress. Let them take their time. I'm more interested in what you were saying than how you say it."

#5 Don't ghost candidates

So the interview is over. Either the candidate made a positive impression on you, or you're sure that this person isn't right for the role. Either way, don't vanish and ghost! This person gave up their free time to prepare and sit in an interview. Acknowledging this and thanking them for their time should be basic etiquette. 

Moreover, ghosting candidates can be harmful to your employer brand. In the age of social media and GlassDoor reviews, negative reviews can harm how future candidates perceive your company. 

In case there are delays internally with reaching a decision on a candidate, sending candidates a quick update doesn't cost anything. Being polite, professional, and honest not only positively reflects on you as a brand, but it's also a decent thing to do.

To wrap up

At the end of the day, the interview process is as much about assessing the candidate as it's about the candidates assessing you. Always remember this when interviewing! At the very least, you’ll probably have nicer Glassdoor reviews!

Take your interview process to the next level

221214 Webinar email (6)-min

In this exclusive webinar, Alva's Talent Acquisition Manager Lisa Sindsjö Grahn, and Alva's Head of People, Linnea Bywall, will talk about their own experience of interviewing candidates, sharing their best tips on creating an exceptional candidate experience.

Learn how to:

✅Prepare your candidates before the interview
✅Improve the candidate experience 
✅Ask the right interview questions to get the responses you need
✅Close roles with the best candidates


There's nothing more frustrating than having your favourite candidate drop out of the application because of a messy interview process. Yet over 50% of candidates reject job offers because they don't like how they're treated during the interview stage. How can you create an interview process that candidates love?