Two thirds of jobseekers find that nerves get the better of them in interviews

young interview

A quarter of jittery jobseekers said they talk too quickly while one-in-five said they talk too much. Over one-in-three suffer from self-doubt during interviews, and 30 per cent lose their train of thought. Only 1 in 10 jobseekers say they don’t suffer from anything in an interview, while 1 in 5 feel very confident in interviews.

Given these pressures, it is perhaps no surprise that 47 per cent of jobseekers said interviews made them nervous or extremely nervous, third only to public speaking and giving a wedding speech.

Top 10 jobseeker jitters

Feel anxious – 41 per cent

Start to doubt their abilities – 34 per cent

Lose their train of thought – 30 per cent

Talk too quickly – 26 per cent

Talk too much – 20 per cent

Overheat and get sweaty – 19 per cent

Get flustered – 17 per cent

Fidget – 15 per cent

Feel like they are going to be sick – 9 per cent

Behave awkwardly – 8 per cent

More than 6,000 jobseekers and 150 employers were surveyed to learn more about what candidates believe are the biggest interview pressures. To help candidates through the daunting interview process, totaljobs has launched #TheElevatorPitch campaign with star of ‘The Apprentice’ Nick Hewer and psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos, to coach jobseekers in overcoming common interview pressures.

The biggest interview worry for jobseekers was not knowing the answers to interview questions – even more of a concern than not actually getting the job.

As part of #TheElevatorPitch, real jobseekers were invited to take on the challenge of the totaljobs elevator, where they experienced the physical manifestation of some of the top interview pressures, such as panic and self-doubt, whilst completing a 60 second pitch.

John Salt, Group Sales Director, totaljobs said: “An ‘elevator pitch ’is a simple, short description that a person might use to sell themselves to a potential employer. It is a vital part of any interview. Our research shows this, as 77% of employers felt it was important for candidates to prepare an elevator pitch.

“We get our candidates noticed and get them to interview, and now we’re taking it a step further by ensuring that they head into that interview fully prepared and confident in their abilities. That’s why we’ve launched #TheElevatorPitch. We invited our jobseekers to get expert coaching from Nick Hewer and Dr. Linda to help them overcome real-life interview fears before taking on the challenge of completing their own ‘elevator pitch’ in our elevator, no matter what happens.”

Nick Hewer, former star of The Apprentice, said: “I have interviewed many people who are often unprepared and in need of relevant interview advice, which is what attracted me to get involved in #TheElevatorPitch campaign. I believe the key to a successful interview lies in preparation – candidates should deliver answers with clarity, honesty and relevance to ensure they are in the best possible position to get the job.

“Employers are often looking for ability, reliability and most importantly likeability in future staff – a good fit to the organisation is as important as being competent for the role.”

Dr Linda Papadopoulos, Celebrity Psychologist, said: “Interview anxieties are something we can all relate to. It’s this shared experience that attracted me to totaljobs’ #TheElevatorPitch campaign. There are definitely things candidates can be doing to get them ready for interview and it’s important to remember that interview anxiety only becomes problematic when candidates don’t do anything about it.

“I’d recommend that interviewees try and harness any stressful energy that comes with interviews to prepare and learn as much as they can about their prospective employers.  It also helps to arrive comfortably dressed, focus on your answers rather than your physiology, and nail the basics: handshake, smile and good eye contact.”

The most feared questions among candidates were ‘why should I hire you?’, ‘tell me about yourself’ and ‘what is you biggest weakness?’. Most candidates believe that how they answer interview questions is the most important factor in whether they land the job.

To tackle these nerves, nearly half of jobseekers said they get to an interview early, 36 per cent said they practice answering interview questions, and 34 per cent said they listen to music.