Stressful interviews

Interviews can be very stressful occasion especially if you have seen the grilling the candidates on the Apprentice have to go through!! Most candidates assume that the interview won’t be as bad as this; but you would be surprised how many candidates leaving an interview comment how hard and stressful the occasion actually was!

Some interviewers’ try to make the interview feel stressful on purpose. Consider this;  if you can handle a stressful interview and still interact well enough to be offered the job then you will be able to handle the actually job itself when the pressure hits!

Making the interview seem stressful can be accomplished a number of ways:

  • Ask questions in a quick-fire way to give you no time to react
  • Interrupt and question your statements and achievements
  • Provide negative reaction to constructive comments you might make
  • Intimidate you by seemingly invading your personal space and making the situation feel confrontational

These can all add up to make a very stressful environment, but as easily as the interviewer can create the stress there is a number of ways you can bring it under control.

Take your time – When you feel that the interviewer is trying to rush you and pick up the pace take a deliberate moment to consider the question and reply. An easy way to do this is to repeat the question back as though you are confirming what you are being asked and then launch into your response complete with examples from your employment history!

Try and be assertive without being rude. The hiring manager may just want to see how far they can push you to discover how you might handle rude clients. Be polite but assertive in handling this tactic and maintain your composure and professionalism at all times. Remember if the hiring manager is just being rude for the sake of it and you have no intention of working with them in the future don’t be afraid to thank them for their time and bring the interview to a close.

If you feel you are being intimidate by the Hiring Managers’ body language consider your own body language and avoid mirroring the interviewer’s actions. Remain open and responsive, looking them in the eye – if they are asking you for an example to a question or something where you could use diagrams etc you could always ask to demonstrative on a white board or flip chart in the room… This would put you on your feet with them looking up at you giving the power of the conversation back in your hands.

Quite a few candidates who find an interview stressful has not been put in a stressful situation deliberately, but it could be one of their own making. Attending an interview with a lack of preparation and research will automatically make you feel stressed as you will struggle to answer questions clearly and concisely. Ensure you do plenty of research beforehand and have a number of questions ready to ask the hiring manager should the situation present itself. Another issue that can cause stress could be the interviewer picking up on something in your CV that catches you off guard. Remember what you have put in your CV and don’t put anything in your CV that is not true!!


  • Take your time
  • Think carefully
  • Consider your actions and body language carefully
  • Prepare for the interview in advance
  • Don’t lie on your CV!!

Recent Posts