Do Interviewers get Nervous?

Interviewer conducting an interview

Even after being interviewed a ton of times, be it for a college, a committee, or even for my job, I still tend to get nervous when I have to give an interview. It is pretty common for any interviewee to feel a little nervous before and during their interview. But if like me, you’ve wondered do Interviewers get nervous too while taking your interview?

The answer is yes and no.

Yes! Some interviewers, especially the ones who are new to recruiting may feel a little nervous while taking the interview. However, as they gain more experience and interview more candidates, they tend to get more comfortable with the process and may not find it so nerve-wracking.

But again, interviews are like standups, even if you’ve done it a gazillion times, you may still feel a little nervous before both, giving and taking them.

So, does everyone get nervous before an interview?

In a glimpse, yes! everyone gets nervous!

It doesn’t matter if you are the interviewer or the interviewee; if you come from a highly concerned family like mine, then even your family members might get nervous about your interview!

This pops yet another common question in one’s mind,

Are Interviews Scary?

Not really.

But when you think of Interviews as merely a way to see if the candidate will be a right fit for the position or the job and as a means to assess the individuals, then it might turn out to be a very scary experience for you.

However, when you think of an interview as a way of getting to know someone better, having a conversation with them, and learning about their skills in detail, then interviews may not seem as scary.

Why do Interviewers get nervous?

There can be several reasons why any recruiter or interviewer might get nervous before conducting an interview. Let’s take a look at some of the very common reasons why interviewers get nervous during interviews:

1. Two-way interview

Unlike our belief that the interview is only about assessing the candidates, interviews are a two-way process. Just like the interviewer assess the candidate, the candidate too asses the company, the behavior of other employees, the company culture, and more.

The candidates may have some questions for the interviewer as well which may further bring in the element of uncertainty on the part of the interviewer.

And this is what makes it completely normal when the interviewer gets nervous about conducting the interview.

2. Fear of not asking the right question

One thing that is expected of an interviewer is to ask questions. But the challenge is to ask the right questions so that they can gauge whether the candidate will be a right fit for the job.

When interviewers ask a wrong question, the candidate may make an impression of the company based on that which can be detrimental to the company as they might lose a potentially efficient employee.

Wrong questions would be asking anything too personal about the candidate, asking stereotypical questions, or asking the candidate questions about something that is out of the scope. When we talk about the scope questions, they involve questions that are neither related to the candidate’s profile or resume nor even the job requirement.

An example of this can be when the interviewer gets confused between 2 candidates and asks one about the courses taken up by the other.

3. Fear of misunderstanding the candidate

There is a possibility that the interviewer didn’t properly understand the candidate’s answer or their back

rounds. Such misunderstandings can lead to either a potential employee losing an opportunity that could have positively affected them and their near ones; or the company might lose a potentially good employee and hire a less efficient one.

4. Selecting one from many potentially fit candidates

We are well aware that there can be 100s or 1000s of candidates applying for a particular job. The interviewer has the task of selecting a handful of people from such a huge number of candidates, most of who meet the criteria for the job. This adds pressure on the interviewer to select one or a few candidates from such a large number.

5. Conducting many interviews

As mentioned in the point above, the interviewer often has to select an employee from many candidates. This would mean that they probably have to conduct many interviews, which can be quite a task. It can be both tiring and challenging to interview these many candidates in a couple of days.

6. Assessing a plethora of skills

Every job comes with a requirement for a certain set of skills both technical and interpersonal that the candidates must fulfill.

These can include skills like motivation, adaption to the organizational culture, adjustment with the other team members, ownership, accountability punctuality, and out-of-the-box thinking is required.

Analyzing all these skills within a small-time frame wherein the interviewer interacts with the candidates adds to the pressure and could be a possible reason why interviewers get nervous

If you are one of those people who often think to themselves things like “I always get nervous at interviews” or “interview nerves are getting better of me, ” then here is the answer to your “How to stop being nervous for interviews?”

We are here to guide you from your nervousness to a more confident version of yourself while conducting interviews!

Apologizing for being nervous in an interview

A man apologizing for being nervous

One thing that comes to our mind when we are nervous in an interview is whether or not to apologize for being nervous.

Ideally, you shouldn’t apologize for being nervous as it is a very natural way to react to any stressful situation. If conducting interviews is stressful for you, then it’s okay to feel a little nervous.

However, if your nervousness is getting in way of conducting the interview smoothly and you feel you require some time, then you should apologize to the candidate and ask for a couple of minutes to gather yourself.

How to not get nervous in an interview

Unlike interviewees who may get nervous before, during, and even after the interview as they anticipate a call back from the recruiter, In the case of interviewers, the nervousness is usually limited to the initial two situations.

So, the 2 possible areas when you as an interviewer can find yourself being more nervous than ever while conducting interviews are:

  1. Interviewers get nervous before the Interview
  2. Interviewers get nervous during the interview

Things to do before the interview to avoid getting nervous

1. Understand the requirement for the job

The first thing you need to do is to clarify the requirements for the job. Does the job require the candidate to possess certain specific skill sets? Or a certain degree? Does the job require experienced candidates or freshers? Does it require the candidates to belong to a specific location or is it remote?

Understanding all these criteria can ease your filtering process and help you focus on the candidates that meet the basic requirements of the job to further scrutinize and refine your search.

To make this initial screening smoother and less time-consuming you can take the help of some sites or portals that help in identifying specifics from every candidate’s profile.

A list of such hiring sites are:

2. Understand the candidate 

To ask the right questions to the particular candidate, go through their resume very well. Understand their strengths, their skills, past experiences, and anything else that can be of any help to you when interviewing them.

You can also try to find areas in their profile they haven’t given much information about and ask them to give more clarity on that during the interview.

Many interviewers also tend to check the candidate’s social media to get a better idea about them.

In fact, according to CareerBuilder, about 70% of interviewers check out their candidate’s social media and about 54% of them have used it to screen out candidates as well!

Some of the reasons why you can screen out candidates through their social media are:

  1. Derogatory or discriminatory comments made by the candidate
  2. Posting offensive or Inappropriate things online
  3. Use of drugs or excessive alcohol
  4. Lying about their qualifications
  5. Talking about the previous company or colleagues or sharing the company’s private information
  6. Having an inappropriate username
  7. Not having any social media presence

3. Plan out a well-laid structure

Having a structured interview is very helpful, especially in cases wherein you suddenly feel nervous during an interview. It can help you get back on the already framed structure and thus save you from any embarrassment.

You can plan out the interview based on the topics you feel like covering and then check out the candidate’s profile to frame your question accordingly.

An example of such structure for interviews is given below,

  1. Opening questions: like tell us about yourself? Why do you think you’d be a fit candidate for the job?
  2. Skill-specific questions
  3. Questions based on the candidate’s experience
  4. Lastly, ask them if they have any questions for you

4. Plan out the questions

The other option is to come up with a set of questions and ask the same to each candidate. They can be marked accordingly. This method helps in maintaining consistency and would help compare candidates for the job. But it might not give an in-depth understanding of each candidate.

Check out our short video for more tips on how to calm your nerves before an interview.

Things to do during the interview to avoid getting nervous

When it comes to nervousness before an interview, it is easily manageable. But when interviewers get nervous during the interview, it becomes a task.

When interviewers get nervous during the interview, they cannot show their nervousness to the candidates nor can they set out a plan as there is no time for it.

Instead, what you can do is focus on any of the following:

1. Think of it as a conversation

Something that is suggested to all the interviewees to cope with their nervousness during the interview is to see it as a conversation rather than an interview.

And guess what? The technique can work wonders for interviewers as well!

Interviews require you as an interviewer to follow a code of conduct or a format but conversations are open and don’t have a question-answer pattern. Directing your thinking in this way will help ease the stress that you might be feeling at that moment.

2. Acknowledge and pass

Another way of dealing with nervousness during the interview is to acknowledge that you are feeling nervous and let the feeling pass. Getting nervous about your nervousness is a very messy business.

If you are interviewing with a panel, then you can ask someone else to take over as well.

An example of this is given in the video below. The interviewer while interviewing Russell Westbrook acknowledges that he is nervous and frankly tells him. H then hands over the mic to another interviewer.

3. Devise ice breakers

Awkward silences can be something that may make interviewers nervous. What you can do to avoid such awkward silence is to have some icebreakers in store for you to use whenever the interview requires it.

Such scenarios are more likely to be encountered during the beginning of an interview. You can ask them about how their day was. Or talk about anything light that would ease both the candidate’s as well as your nervousness. Icebreakers also work best in forming the initial rapport.

4. Breathe

As mundane and basic as this advice might sound, Breathe. Literally. Take slow deep breaths to ease your nervousness.

You can couple these slow deep breaths with encouraging mantras that you can keep thinking of. A mantra like “I got this” or “I’m good and confident in taking interviews” etc would do the work.

The idea behind repeating such mantras in your mind is to give you relief from your nervousness and instill some confidence in you.

5. Try to listen to the candidate’s answer

Another way of calming your nerves during the interview is to distract yourself from your thoughts by listening to what the interviewee is saying. This also helps you bring your attention back to the interview and might give you enough points to come up with the next question.

How to avoid getting nervous while conducting group interviews?

A nervous interviewer with other interviewers

Sometimes, especially during campus placement drives or mass hirings, a group of candidates may be called for the interview. If interviewing a candidate was not daunting enough, imagine interviewing 3-5 candidates at a time.

Your nervousness can reach its peak while conducting group interviews. In this case, you can try to implement a few of the suggestions given below to help you manage your nervousness.

1. Interact with Panel before the interview

One of the first things you should do before starting the group interview is to interact with the other panelists. It is good as it helps in understanding their perspectives on hiring a candidate.

All the panelists can also come up with a common technique or strategy to evaluate candidates. This would make the interview a little structured and relieve you of any kind of nervousness during the interview.

It would also be helpful if you can decide on a structure or sequence of asking questions. This would avoid any overlap among the interviewers while asking the questions.

2. Ask questions as per decided

Ask the question as per the decided structure or sequence to avoid confusing the candidates. This would also help in avoiding any awkward silences between the interviewers and the candidates which could be a possible cause for your nervousness.

3. Take notes so that you can come back to them

Despite the following everything, there are still interviewers who may get nervous during the interview. In such situations what you can do is take notes of what is being said by the candidates rather than evaluating them at that very point. You can later go back to the notes when you feel a little better and make your decision accordingly.

4. Let the other panelist ask a question

The other thing you can do when you are feeling nervous while conducting the interview is to pass the question to another interviewer. You can do that by saying something like “I don’t have a question for you on this subject but maybe Mrs.Xyz might have. Mrs.Xyz?”

5. Mirror a confident candidate or interviewer

Mirroring is a very creative and effective way of taking control of any conversation by shifting either our or the other person’s energies. In cases when you feel nervous, try to observe someone who isn’t as nervous or better yet more confident than you. Often such observations lead to a shift in energy.

To know more about mirroring check out the video below!

How to avoid getting nervous while conducting online interviews?

An interviewer conducting online interview

Online interviews have become extremely convenient, saving everyone their time and travel expenses. However, interviewers can still find it challenging and may get nervous about them.

In such cases follow a couple of suggestions given below:

Things to do before the interview

1. Check your software and connectivity

One thing that can easily make you panic during online interviews is poor technology. As an interviewer, you should try to check and recheck your devices and connectivity to ensure everything is working fine. This would involve having your devices completely charged, and checking the camera and audio quality of your device.

Now there is a possibility that despite checking a gazillion times, there ends up being some issue in either connectivity or your device, do not get nervous. Take your time to figure out the issue or call someone to help you out with it. In the meantime, you can contact the interviewee and assure him or her that you’ll be continuing with the interview as soon as the issue is resolved.

If you feel your nervousness is taking over your capacity to make a clear judgment then you can check with the candidate if you can reschedule the interview

2. Practice

You can practice taking the interview online by video recording yourself and analyzing it later to see if you look confident enough.

To analyze your speech, make sure to check your tone and facial expressions as the candidates cannot observe your body language clearly through the screen. You can also check if you are using any filler words (uh and um) and try to avoid those.

Things to do during the interview

3. Try to not get nervous about your surroundings

Having someone step into the room we are interviewing in or having very loud noises in the background can be extremely distracting.

One thing that you can do to avoid this is trying to find a place in the office or your home, from wherever you are conducting the interview, and make sure that no one disturbs you there. You can put it on a “do not enter” or “do not disturb” board or lock the room, whatever you feel is convenient for you.

As for distracting noises, there isn’t much you can do about it, so rather than getting nervous, you can just try to focus your attention on the candidate.

4. Avoid looking at the candidate for a while

If you feel nervous all of a sudden during the interview, you can try to avoid looking at the candidate. Now, this doesn’t mean that you start looking outside the window or at your ceiling.

You can either try to look at the wall or background of your candidate’s room or you can switch your viewing option from the interviewees to yours. In this way, you’ll be looking at yourself while asking them questions and if you had practiced before the interview, you’d already be familiar with interviewing yourself!

How can interviewers avoid getting nervous during all their interviews?

While most of the suggestions given above in the blog can be implemented within a short duration, nervousness can sometimes be a learned response. This means that your body tends to learn to react in a certain way when faced with those particular situations.

If you are looking for a more long-time or permanent solution for your interview nervousness then you might want to consider some of the suggestions given below.

1. Form a habit

Forming habits or rituals that you can do before the interview can help you learn to be calm during the interview.

Conditioning as it is called is a process in which you expose yourself to a certain calming activity and follow it with the thing that makes you nervous, in our case, it will be conducting the interview. Over time you’ll end up feeling calm as your mind learns to associate the calmness with conducting an interview.

A few things you can do to condition your mind are given below.

  • Go for a walk before the interview
  • Listen to a particular song or a playlist before the interview
  • Listen to a motivating video
  • Meditate for some time
  • Say 5 positive statements

2. Visualization

Visualization can help you feel more confident while conducting the interviews which in turn can help you avoid getting nervous during the interview.

You can try to visualize conducting an interview where you are confident and asking the right questions. You can also visualize that the interview you conducted went well and that you received a mail from the candidate telling you how they felt so welcome and comfortable giving the interview with you.

What to do if you have a job interview nervous breakdown?

While a little bit of nervousness before and during an interview is normal, having Nervous breakdowns or extreme anxiety isn’t normal.

You can for sure try out some of the many ways mentioned in the blog to calm your nerves. However, if it still makes you nervous, you might want to consult a professional to help you work with your fears.

How do you make an interviewer less nervous?

If you are an interviewee and are looking to know ways in which you can help the interviewer be less nervous, then you are at the right place!

As an interviewee, a few things that you can do when the interviewer gets nervous are:

1. Be patient

The first thing that you should do when you realize that your interviewer is nervous is to be patient. Give them some time to recollect themselves.

Have a calm smile on your face and wait for them to ask you another question or to give them a minute.

2. Try to reassure the interviewer

If your interviewer seems too nervous despite your being patient, then you might want to reassure them by saying something like “It’s okay please take your time.”

You can also offer to resume the interview after a small break if that would make the interviewer feel better.

3. Ask them some easing questions

Understanding that the interviewer is already embarrassed, you may want to continue the interview by asking the interviewer some easing questions. These questions could be about anything related to them that they can easily talk about and would also bring their attention away from their nervousness.

A few examples of such questions are given below:

  • Before we move to the next question, I’d like to know about your experience in the company and how it has helped you grow?
  • As a fresher who comes with the same academic background as you, what is the advice you would give to someone just starting off in the field/ company?

This brings us to the last bit and that is,

What to say to someone who is nervous about an interview?

A woman consoling an interviewer

When you see someone nervous about their interview, you must understand that they have bombarded themselves with negative thoughts. To ease their nervousness, try to motivate them and make them look at their strengths.

Simple words of encouragement can sound like “You have prepared hard for this interview, it’s going to go fine,” or “Every interview is a new experience and an opportunity to learn from, so don’t worry and give your best.”

If you have known this person personally, then you can also help them recall times when they did really well while conducting an interview.

Final Words

Interviews can be scary and can make you nervous even if you are the one conducting the interview. It is very important to keep calm during such situations by preparing yourself before the interview. Having some techniques to relieve your nervousness during the interview can also be of great help.

Besides that, visualization and forming a habit to ease job interview nervousness can help you in dealing with your nervousness in long run.

Lastly, it is absolutely okay for interviewers to get nervous. At the end of the day, we are all humans and come with our own set of fears, so acknowledge yours and work on them!

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