When you’re dealing with recent college graduates who are applying for premium entry level jobs and paid internships at your company, chances are you’ll encounter more than a few people who are relatively new to the hiring process. While this doesn’t mean you should grant them an excessive amount of leeway as interview rookies, it does help get the ball rolling if you can put them at ease at the start of the discussion – you’ll get a better sense of their qualifications and professional experiences when they aren’t nervous. Here are some tips on how to break the ice with young candidates during a job interview.

Walk them into the interview
Walking through the front door of an imposing office building can be nerve-wracking on its own, so it helps for candidates to have someone there to greet them to make them feel more welcome. While you don’t need to be waiting with open arms, have someone at the front desk inform you when candidates walks through the door so you can give them a brief introduction to your organization and make some small talk as you head to the meeting room.

Ask about their job search
Considering that applying for jobs is likely the main activity of candidates walking into your office, this is a nice way to break the ice before an interview. By acknowledging the difficulty and frustrations that go along with finding a career opportunity, you’ll create a common ground between yourself and the candidates that can help put them at ease. You might even want to share a couple of your own bad experiences with applying to show that you’ve gone through unemployment yourself and come out on the otherside.

Ask about school activities
In order to get a sense of the applicant’s personality and interests, consider asking about his or her extracurricular activities and any clubs or organizations he or she may have joined in college. Not only is this a good way to break the ice, but it can also help you segue into a discussion about academic and professional resume experiences.