Could Being Too Nervous During an Interview Cost You the Job?

Interview nerves and anxiety are very real feelings that many people experience before and during a job interview. For some candidates, nerves become more significant and can adversely affect their success in the interview. Good preparation and the use of some basic calming techniques can help offset some of the intensity of interview nerves.

The Waiting Game

In some cases, your nerves actually can affect your interview the minute you walk in the door. Some hiring managers have receptionists and office staff observe you as you wait. Acting fidgety or speaking rudely to administrative staff can lead to a negative perception of your office decorum. Managers want to know whether you appeared confident and professional in the natural office setting as you wait for your interview. They want to see how you operate under pressure, says Workopolis.

Answering Questions

Perhaps the most significant way nerves affect your interview success relates to answering questions. Being really nervous during an interview can cause you to stumble over challenging interview questions, even those you may have prepared to answer. Interview questions such as "What are your strengths?" and "What are your weaknesses?" are among those more critical to the hiring manager's decision. If your nerves cause you to stutter, pause awkwardly or lack clarity in your responses, you can't effectively sell yourself as the best candidate for the job. You can also practice common questions ahead of time and prepare yourself a cheat sheet, says The Muse.

Nonverbal Communication

Hiring managers read your nonverbal cues in the interview just as they listen to your answers. Moving back and forth in your chair and avoiding eye contact are two common traits of nervous candidates. Some hiring managers show empathy and try to put you at ease; others have concern that if you can't overcome nerves in an interview, you won't on the job, either. A relaxed but professional posture and good eye contact throughout the interview project the confidence and professionalism you want.

Overcoming Your Nerves

Knowing that nerves can affect your interview performance can help you take steps to prevent them from getting in the way. Research and preparation are key. When you know a lot about the company and the job and take time to prepare an interview strategy and practice, you have less reason for nerves.

Lack of preparation accentuates nerves, so practice the tough questions and have a plan on what strengths you want to emphasize. Prepare examples to demonstrate your best skills. Prior to the interview, review your goals and focus on the objective of getting the job, and find out as much as you can about the interview format ahead of time. Using breathing techniques or meditation can help calm your nerves.