Every company has a different interview process and environment. However, all interviewers should have a common goal of making the candidate feel comfortable enough to open up and be honest during the interview process. Just because a candidate is showing sign of nervousness, doesn't mean they should be written off immediately. Believe it or not, 92 percent of job seekers admit to fearing something about the interview process, according to a recent study for Everest College conducted by Harris Interactive.
Make the candidate feel welcome
When the candidate arrives, ensure they are greeted warmly and offered a beverage (if available in your office). Being cold or indifferent in your initial interaction can make the candidate feel as though you have already decided they shouldn't have the job, and will only heighten their nerves.
Actively listen to the candidates responses: Don't simply nod your head at random as you scribble notes while the candidate talks. Do your best to make eye contact, smile when appropriate, and nod in understanding during the candidate's responses. By listening to what they have to say, and actively responding, you will make them feel as though you're genuinely interested in what they have to say. Also, make sure you pick up on their mannerisms, and do your best to combat any obvious nervousness. If they are speaking quickly or answering instantaneously, give them a few extra seconds after their response to expand upon their answer.
Present your company culture honestly
Though you want to make sure a candidate is comfortable, staying true to your company culture is important as well. Being honest with them about your culture and work environment will help both sides determine whether or not it's a good culture fit.
Stop asking complicated interview questions with no purpose
It may be kind of fun to see your candidate sweat and stutter as they try to figure out how many ping pong balls will fit in the overhead storage bins of a 747, but you really don't learn much about the candidate from these kinds of questions. Don't ask questions to purposely freak out the candidate or to just "see what they say". All of your questions should have a purpose, and tell you something valuable about your candidates.
Everyone struggles with nerves at one time or another, and we all have to learn to overcome them. However, as hiring managers and interviewers, we need to do what we can to ensure our candidates feel as comfortable as possible in the interview process in order to get the most reliable and honest answers. A nervous candidate is more likely to be closed off and less talkative, keeping you from seeing the whole picture and truly analyzing them for your position. Following a structured guide for all of your interviews will help you keep things standard and provide the same experience for each candidate you bring into your interview process.