Managing interview nerves: 5 simple tips for success

Published: 19-May-2023

Knowing how to calm a candidate’s nerves during an interview is an essential skill for every interviewer

A nervous candidate may underperform and fail to properly represent themselves and what they can offer to your organisation. That’s why the best interviewers will put in the extra work to create a safe and comfortable interview environment for every candidate.

Another common cause of nerves is a lack of preparation, but even this aspect can be mitigated by the interviewer. Here are five of the best techniques for calming a candidate’s nerves so they can truly show you who they are and what they can do.

Help candidates prepare

Interviewers can help candidates prepare for the interview by providing additional information about the interview process and the company itself. Candidates should be informed as to who is conducting the interview and their role within the organisation, as well as any other persons they will meet during the process.

Other more general details can be provided too, such as the company’s work culture and values. Knowing such information ahead of the interview will help candidates feel more confident and prepared, and thus more likely to represent themselves as well as possible.

Be humble and human

It is easy to forget that interviewers can get nervous too, and it can be tempting to read off a script and overlook the importance of the human connection between interviewer and candidate. So don’t be robotic, but be genuinely interested in the candidate by listening attentively to their answers.

Remember, how you make the candidate feel during the interview will influence how they imagine they will be treated by the company on the whole.

Never interrupt a candidate

Experienced interviewers will no doubt have felt the urge to interrupt a rambling candidate at some point, but it’s important to let them finish. A good technique to move things along is to use a natural break in their speech to offer interest or agreement to something they’ve said, and interject with something affirming like “That’s really interesting,” and then you can use that foot in the door to divert the conversation onto something more specific without it seeming rude or abrupt.

Ask clarifying questions

Traditional interview techniques usually have the interviewer wait until near the end of the interview to offer the candidate a chance to ask questions, and that’s still a good thing to do. However, you can offer occasional clarifying questions throughout the interview to make sure the candidate fully understands everything and isn’t getting lost in their nerves.

Clarifying questions could be along the lines of “Did I explain that clearly?” or “I hope I’ve made that clear enough?” Such questions will rarely require further extrapolation on the interviewer’s part, but will give the candidate some easy responses to help get into the rhythm of things and calm their nerves.

Mind your body language

We communicate a lot through our body language, so be aware of your non-verbal communication and make sure it is friendly and welcoming. In fact, the mirroring effect means being relaxed yourself may be one of the best ways to help a candidate calm their own nerves during an interview.

If you are looking to hire in 2023, get in touch with Lavandi Talent's specialist recruitment team – call 0161 399 1200 or email

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