While most job hunters are nervous before an interview, interviews can be just as big of a stumbling block for the hiring manager. No matter how many times you perform an interview, you still need to put your best foot forward. Here are three things you never want to say during an interview.

1. “You’re here already?!”

Candidates often arrive early in an effort to be avoid any unforeseen delays and make a good impression. It’s essential that you be prepared in advance for the interview, so you’re not caught off guard when they arrive. You want to have any documents ready and prepare everyone for their arrival. It’s best for you to greet them in person in the reception area. The candidate should feel like they have your full attention. They could end up being a star player for the company, so you want to treat them as such.

2. “Can you take this test first?”

Pre-interview tests can be unnecessary hoops that candidates have to jump through. A test can make candidates feel like they need to prove themselves to you, when in fact, you’ve already seen their resume and likely had a first phone interview. You don’t actually learn much more about the candidate from a test than you would in an interview with a series of well-planned behavior interview questions and proper reference checking. A past track record of success with verifiable references, should override any personality profile test. Past performance is by far the best indicator of future success. Moreover, it can demoralizing to leave the candidate sitting in a reception area taking a test when they came there expecting an interview.

3. “What was your name again?”

This is one of the worst things you can say to a candidate. You should be saying “Oh, you must be John Smith, I am excited to meet you!” You want to make sure you know the candidate’s name. Make sure the receptionist knows their name, too. Think about sports. When someone’s a free agent – teams will go out of their way to get to know the player. You want the candidate to feel like the team is excited to meet them.

Things You Should Do

First and foremost, be considerate and courteous. Make the candidate feel like a special guest rather than an interruption. Ask them questions that are semi-personal, so they will open up to you. You want to get to know the candidate. Too much trivial chit chat (or office gossip) will make the candidate feel like they are wasting their time. Try to keep the conversation focused on the candidate as much as possible.

At the same time, you want to sell the company. You cannot wait until you decide you want to hire the candidate to make your pitch. Make every candidate want the job, and then decide which candidate is the best. Paint the candidate a picture that showcases the role that they will have on the team. Let them visualize how they will be a key player. They should feel like hiring great talent is your priority. While you do not want to come across as arrogant, you want to reinforce the company’s reputation. Even if the candidate does not get the job, first impressions still matter. They may not have the right experience now, but in five years they could become rock stars in the industry, and you want them to have a great memory of your company.

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