We have had a couple of instances lately where candidates have received feedback on their interview performance that they didn’t “sell themselves” adequately, were shy &/or nervous.

Having worked closely with these candidates during the recruitment process & knowing that they’d invested significant time & effort into their interview preparation, it was disappointing to receive this feedback on a candidate’s behalf.  Certainly recruiters & candidates should work together to ensure that a candidate is well-prepared going into an interview, though despite their best efforts, sometimes nerves take over.  And not everyone is a born interviewer.

In my experience, a candidate who is nervous during an interview should not necessarily represent a red flag or be rejected on that basis.  Rather…

  • Perhaps the interview environment did not elicit the best performance?
  • Are there ways of determining a candidate’s fit other than a panel interview?
  • As an interviewer, how can you improve your skills to make a candidate feel most comfortable & able to share information in an open & clear manner?

Importantly, for the most part – nerves indicate that a candidate cares.  For me, a candidate who is invested in the outcome of an interview is far more appealing than an overconfident/slick interview professional, who may have several other opportunities on the go.

Of course, this depends on the role & whether the candidate has potential to fulfil your brief, though I am assuming if you have proceeded to interview, then this is the case.

Sally West

Principal Consultant