Do interviews make you nervous? You’re not alone. Most job seekers get a case of interview nerves. And interviewers know that. But still, you ideally want to calm them as much as possible before they take total control of your words — and the job interview. So what can you do?
It helps to start preparing now, BEFORE the interview, so you can feel calmer and more self-assured as your interview approaches. And to help you learn how to stop feeding those nervous feelings during your actual job interview!
Some tips for dealing with interview nerves
(1) Practice, practice, practice! – There are many reasons for feeling nervous, but usually the main reason is worrying we’re not going to do well. So take lots of time to practice answering interview questions.
Ask a friend or relative to pretend to interview you, giving you a chance to come up with answers that feel good and comfortable. If you can, videotape yourself or at least record your voice so you can see where you might want to improve.
(2) Check out interview advice articles – The more you understand about the entire job interview process, the more comfortable you will feel when answering interview questions.
(3) Visualize yourself doing well – I know some people roll their eyes when they see advice about visualizing. But the truth is that it can help. What you’re doing is replacing some of those brain cells occupied by fear with visions of success. That alone can help calm interview nervousness.
(4) Remember to smile before, during and after the interview – A warm smile helps the other person connect with you. But it also helps you activate endorphins and serotonin, which lifts your own mood – and that may just be enough to help ease any of those interview nerves.
(5) Remember to breathe in AND out – When we get nervous, our breathing gets shallow. Or we even start holding our breath. The evening before, take about 5 – 10 minutes to breath in and out deeply and slowly (I like to use a count of eight) – maybe while visualizing your interview going well and everyone smiling.
Do the same the morning of the interview … remembering to breathe out at least as much as you breathe in. This helps calm you and also helps bring your brain back to the moment, where it belongs.
(6) See the interviewer as an ally – Your interviewer wants to find someone good for the job, and you’ll make his or her day if you are the one. I’m not saying there aren’t some terrible interviewers out there with their own agendas, but for the most part they want you to succeed. Help them see how well you match the job.
(7) See the job interview as a conversation – If you sit there as if you’re waiting to be grilled by an inquisitor, you won’t be as likely to connect to the interviewer – or leave a strong impression. Be natural, be conversational, and be yourself.
(8) Stay in the moment and listen – During the interview, it helps to just be in the moment and not go rushing ahead. Listen carefully and answer what was asked. It not only helps you stay calmer, but increasing your chance of answering well and connecting.
(9) Make sure YOU know how well you match the job – As part of your interview preparation, get really comfortable with all the ways you fit the job – and all the stories from your own career that help prove it. If you believe it, there is a far better chance they will!
The secret about interview nerves
If you don’t know this already, almost everyone is nervous about their job interview. No matter how much experience you have. Even some interviewers are nervous, especially folks who rarely conduct interviews.
But if you prepare, practice and remember to stay in the moment (adding that warm smile now and then), you will at least have a good chance of giving your best interview possible. And that’s all anyone can ask.
More tips to help you with your interview: