How to Calm your Nerves Before an Interview

Sweaty hands, a thumping heart and a dry mouth. Do these symptoms sound familiar?

Everyone knows what it feels like to be nervous and when the nerves kick in they can often have a negative impact on our performance. You may feel nervous prior to an interview, making a presentation, or before an important meeting, but whatever the situation there are some things that you can do to combat your nerves.

Follow these simple tips to beat those jitters:

1. Be Prepared

Doing research and knowing your stuff will make you feel more confident when attending a job interview. Conduct thorough research on the company, its values, mission, and recent developments to show that you’re genuinely interested and informed. Familiarise yourself with the job description to understand what the employer is looking for. Practice common interview questions, and consider utilising the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) method to articulate your answers clearly and concisely.

2. Be Fresh

If tomorrow’s a big day then a quiet evening and a good night’s sleep will ensure that you wake up in the zone.

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3. Plan Ahead

If travelling, know where you’re going and leave enough time for transport delays to ensure a stress-free journey. Being punctual will also ensure that you commence a meeting or interview feeling more relaxed and well-prepared.

4. Deep Breaths

Breathe in through your nose for four counts and then out through your nose for five counts to feel calmer.

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5. Think Positive

Embracing positive thinking before an interview is crucial, not just for projecting confidence but also for optimising mental performance. Entering an interview with a positive mindset fosters resilience against unforeseen challenges and the inevitable nerves.

Positive thinking also enhances cognitive functions, enabling clearer communication, sharper recall, and quicker problem-solving during the interview. Furthermore, it can be contagious; when you radiate optimism and self-belief, interviewers are more likely to resonate with your energy and perceive you as a valuable addition to their team.

6. Stand Up

Standing up or adopting “power poses” (see the video below) can make you feel more confident. If you’re meeting someone new, remember that first impressions are important and you don’t want to be struggling up out of a chair, so stay standing. You’ll look more confident if you are on the same level as the person you are meeting.

7. Control Shaking

Managing nervousness and preventing physical manifestations like shaking before an interview is crucial for presenting oneself confidently. Start by acknowledging that it’s natural to feel nervous; this awareness can sometimes reduce the intensity of the feeling. Deep breathing exercises, taken slowly and deliberately, can help calm the nervous system and decrease adrenaline levels. Visualization techniques, where you mentally rehearse a successful interview experience, can provide a sense of familiarity and reduce anxiety.

On the day of the interview, arriving a bit early and taking a few moments to sit quietly, focusing on your breathing, can also be beneficial. If your hands are shaky, avoid holding items like papers or coffee cups which might accentuate the shaking. Remember, everyone feels nerves; it’s how you manage them that will set you apart.

8. Be Yourself

Authenticity is not only refreshing but it allows both the candidate and the employer to make an accurate assessment of fit. When candidates present their genuine selves, they exude a natural confidence, devoid of pretence or over-rehearsed answers. This sincerity fosters trust and can create a lasting impression.

Moreover, attempting to be someone you’re not can be exhausting and is often transparent to trained interviewers. Authenticity also ensures that if selected, you’re stepping into a role and environment that truly aligns with your values, personality, and skills. After all, securing a job isn’t just about impressing the interviewer, but about initiating a fruitful and satisfying professional relationship. Being genuine ensures that this relationship starts on a solid foundation.

Good Luck!

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