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Interview Nerves? These Are The Questions Raising Our Heart Rate The Most

interview nerves scaled

Last updated on July 28th, 2021 at 09:47 PM

You’ve applied for your dream job. Great. Now you’ve got to nail the interview. You feel prepared having studied every interview question there is and researched the company and the people inside and out. But nothing can prepare you for what’s to come in the interview. 

No doubt, you’ll experience nausea, clammy hands, shaky voice and just an overriding sense of unease during an interview, and there may be certain questions your interviewer will ask that may cause your heart to skip a few beats. 

This led digital marketing experts at Reboot Digital PR to examine the interview questions raising our heart rate most, leaving us squirming in our chairs. 


To achieve the data, Reboot Digital PR interviewed 53 people who were asked prior to attending the interview if they’d be happy to wear a fitness/health tracker* to assess which questions left them  feeling most uncomfortable – thus raising their BPM**. 

The interview questions were delivered in the same order, and after every question was answered, the participants were asked to relay their BPM recorded***. Once all figures were collected, the average BPM per question was finalised highlighting the questions we feel most uncomfortable answering. 

The Results

A sudden ‘quick test’ from interviewers frightens interviewees the MOST. Reboot Digital PR recorded an average heart rate of 154 BPM – 93% increase compared to the average resting rate of 80.

Closely following, when asked ‘what salary range are you looking for’, participants experienced an average 66% increase in BPM

Expectedly, when asked about how much money they’d expect to earn, it caused participants heart rate to increase to 133 BPM

Thereafter, those interviewed recorded an average heart rate of 130 BPM when presented with the question ‘do you know what we do here’? Perhaps a startling result, as you’d expect most to come prepared for a question that seems rather standard, causing an unusual 63% average increase from an average resting heart rate. 

Unsurprisingly, when asked ‘tell me about yourself’, participants average heart rate was 94 BPM making it the least nerve-wracking question in an interview.

Other notable questions that increased participants heart rates include:

  • What would your last boss say about you? – 129 BPM
  • What are the gaps in your CV? – 115 BPM 

Reboot Digital also surveyed 1,357 Brits who have interviewed to expose the 10 most hated aspects of an interview

Perhaps expectedly ‘Too many interviewers’ scares prospective employees the most with 17% ranking it first. 

Up next was ‘waiting inside a full office’ at 14% of the votes. There’s something frightening and nerve wracking knowing you’re waiting in an office where all eyes are on you – and no idea what’s being said about you. 

‘Needing the toilet’ and ‘arriving too early’, were the least dreaded factors of an interview with less than 5% of Brits ranking these. 

Whilst physical anxieties about an interview such as ‘sweating too much/clammy hands’ and ‘going red for no reason’ affect 9% and 10% of survey respondents the most. 


*All participants gave permission to wear a fitness/health tracker during interviews they attended. The test was conducted over a month-long period. 53 out of 60 accepted.  

**Your resting heart rate is measured by counting the number of beats per minute of your heart while you are sitting still. A normal resting heart rate range is between 60 and 100 bpm. Source here

***Two-minute intervals of BPM were available using the fitness/health tracker.