Answered by Kristin, Hiring Expert at Pitney Bowes, on Thursday, April 11, 2013
This is a great question! There are several key behaviors that I usually pick up on when someone I am interviewing is nervous.
The first thing to come to mind is speaking too quickly. I find that when candidates are nervous they have a tendency to speak at a very fast pace. In addition, I find that nervous candidates also don't take the time to pause and think about the question I have just asked them. I have seen many launch right into an answer without much thought or reflection and then go on and on with their answer trying to find their point.
Another issue that can be an absolute deal breaker is the inability to make good eye contact. I find that candidates that are nervous tend to gaze around the conference room or office quite bit. This can easily translate to the interviewer that they are not focused, distracted, don't want to be there, or even worse...that they are rude. Make sure to always make good eye contact.
Lastly, I would say that sometimes I have had nervous candidates try to make jokes or act lightheartedly, probably driven by their nervous energy, only to inadvertently make an inappropriate comment. Of course, once this happens it makes them even more nervous and the interview usually goes downhill from there.
Overall, try to take a deep breath, remember that the interviewer is human too! Ultimately their goal is not to make you nervous but to get to know you and the professional experience you bring to the table and how that could translate to added value on their team.