Why You Should Not Make Prospective Employees Nervous

John Krautzel
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Many recruiters have a hard time retiring bad hiring practices, which is why many companies still use stress interview tactics. Instead of making a good impression on prospective employees, these types of interviews create an uncomfortable interview environment. To job candidates, the hiring process is representative of the company culture, and rude behavior makes them unenthusiastic about working for the company. Here's why you should ditch scare tactics and treat job seekers with respect.

Attacks Trigger a Defense

When you use stress-based interview tactics, you're acting upon the flawed belief that making people nervous forces them to open up and share more information. In most cases, it triggers the opposite reaction. Imagine interviewing with someone who yawns and acts bored or hammers you with questions while barely letting you get a word in. Being attacked or mistreated probably causes you to clam up and choose every word carefully, rather than let your guard down.

Most job seekers are already nervous before an interview, and putting them in defense mode makes it even harder to observe their personalities. Anxious interviewees are more likely to rush through answers and forget to share in-depth stories about relevant skills and experiences. On the other hand, warm, friendly behavior builds rapport, encouraging job candidates to relax and act naturally.

Job Seekers Have Options

Stress interviews create a conflict of interest. If you're trying to hire top talent, you're undermining your recruitment efforts by bullying professionals who have plenty of options. Many recruiters cling to the idea that employers are entirely in control and can hire anyone, no matter how they treat job candidates. The point of stress tactics is to find out whether job seekers can stay composed and confident under pressure. Unfortunately for employers, confident candidates know what they're worth and aren't desperate enough to put up with mind games.

Candidates Share Interview Experiences

When you aim to intimidate interviewees, you're being deceptive and disrespectful while expecting job candidates to be truthful and professional. Job seekers may be on their best behavior, but they're also sizing up the company and looking for signs of a stressful work environment. Leading with dishonesty or rudeness shows a lack of consideration for job candidates, making the company culture seem unpleasant in general. Many job seekers publicly discuss their experiences interviewing with a company, which may discourage others from applying.

Interviews Don't Measure Abilities

Making interviewees nervous isn't an effective way to judge their skills. Interviews are a tool to help you form a connection with a candidate and put resume facts into context, but they reveal little about a person's true personality, work style or level of professionalism. Candidates who produce great work may struggle in your fast-paced environment, while candidates who seem timid and introverted may be confident leaders when working in their areas of expertise.

Likewise, job seekers who are used to stressful interviews may lack the experience, strengths or personality traits to thrive in a specific role. You may luck into a few good hires, but a superficial interview process inevitably leads to bad hiring decisions.

Job candidates and employers have to put their best foot forward during recruitment. Negative interview experiences are a deal-breaker for many job seekers, and they may reject an offer even if they pass all your tests.

Photo courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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  • Deloris F.
    Deloris F.

    Very good points about tactful strategies used by some interviewers.

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