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6 Tips On Interviewing A Nervous Candidate

By Lauren @BubbleJobs

Candidates are always bound to be nervous during an interview: fidgeting, stumbling on some of their words and drawing some mind blanks – but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not up to the job.

Some candidates will be a lot more nervous than others, however, so it’s important to make them feel at ease and make sure they – and you – get the most out of the interview.

With that in mind, here are some tips on how to interview a really nervous candidate successfully and encourage them to sell themselves to you and your company.

1) Choose A Relaxing Environment

One of the things that will make the candidate totally relax is being in a comfortable environment where they feel at ease.

Steer clear of a stiff boardroom layout with the interviewers on the opposite site to the candidate – a round table will stop the candidate feeling like they’re being interrogated and will encourage them to be more open.

2) Smile

Nervous candidates might feel like the interviewer is out to get them, so approaching them in a friendly manner will get the interview off to a flying start.

Making jokes and starting the interview with some idle chit-chat will help the candidate settle into the situation and feel comfortable.

3) Introduce Everyone

If there is more than one interviewer, it would be a good idea to make sure that you introduce everyone in the room and their position within the company to the candidate before the interview gets going.

This will stop the candidate feeling anxious about a random stranger being in the room, and they will be able to figure out what sort of questions to expect from which interviewer.

4) Explain The Format

Spell out the format the interview will take to the candidate, the areas that will be covered and when they can ask their own questions, whether that be before, after or during the interview.

This will avoid the candidate being thrown a curve ball, panicking during the interview and not being able to sell themselves properly.

5) Watch Your Body Language

Similarly to point two, your body language will determine how confident the candidate feels during the interview, and how open they will be.

Avoid crossing your arms and looking bored, and instead open yourself up and mirror their body language to help build rapport. To make the candidate feel like you’re on their side, focus on maintaining eye contact and offering warm smiles during the process.

6) Avoid Aggressive Questioning

It goes without saying that interviews are for you to find out as much about the candidate as possible, but that doesn’t mean you have to interrogate them as if they’re on trial in court.

Ask open-ended questions that allow the candidate to answer in their own way, let them think about their answers and avoid rushing them.


So there we go, six helpful tips on getting the most out of an interview with an extremely nervous candidate!

Do you agree with these tips? Or do you have any pearls of wisdom of your own? Let me know in the comments below or via Twitter @BubbleJobs! 🙂

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