So how can you stay calm in your interview and overcome your job interview nerves? What can you do to face an interview panel with confidence? Here is the lowdown on how to handle and overcome those interview nerves for good. Ultimately, it’s worth remembering these important pointers. A) stay positive, B) believe in yourself and C) good interview preparation. Those 3 key points are the mantra to diminishing your fear!
Follow the rest of our top tips to keep those nerves in check!
Remember you are not alone
First and foremost, remember that everyone experiences some nervousness prior to an interview. There are very few people who are able to stand up and speak in front of strangers and not feel some degree of tension; top actors, television presenters, senior businessmen all succumb to nerves and all have their own way of coping and getting on with the job.
Nervousness during a job interview is good
Firstly it is important to realise that interview nerves are not necessarily a bad thing; if you learn to leverage them you can even become a better interviewee. With your brain engaged and your senses heightened, you can make connections quicker and perform well when put on the spot.
In addition, interviewers will expect to see some nerves as this indicates enthusiasm and a desire to get the job. A candidate who presents at a job interview all cool and laid back will be less likely to succeed as the interviewer will assume they are not interested enough in the role.
Turn interview anxiety on its head
The trick is to turn the anxiety on its head without getting overwhelmed by it. Because it is equally unhelpful to go into an interview in an overly relaxed state, which might lead to just as many slip-ups as if you are a gibbering wreck.
A certain amount of nervous energy is useful. It will make you appear interested and enthusiastic keen to take on the role. In our experience a candidate who appears too laid back, too calm could be seen as apathetic and perhaps not really interested in the job.
Make the interview familiar
The interview is an unfamiliar and artificial setting made all the worse if you don’t know what to expect. It is very much based in our fear of the unknown however by preparing properly and practicing repeatedly, interviewing will become more familiar and as a result your nervousness will be reduced.
Anticipate the interview questions
Putting your mind at ease before an interview is essential, so make sure you are ready to face whatever questions they might throw at you and are prepared to talk about yourself positively. A lack of prep is likely to increase your natural apprehension about the event itself and make nerves harder to overcome.
Clear your head
Before the interview begins, take as much time as you can to gather your thoughts and work with your body, not against it. If you have the opportunity, taking a short stroll around the block can be
immensely helpful, as sitting still will give you time to stew and will not provide the hit of endorphins that light exercise can deliver to quell any qualms.
What you eat and drink before an interview plays a big part in how your nerves manifest themselves. Steer clear of coffee and other caffeinated drinks, as these will make you more likely to appear shaky and unable to concentrate. Drink water, but make sure that you enter the interview room with an empty bladder to avoid distraction.
Some experts advise that chewing a stick of gum can smooth out any jangling nerves, but remember to dispose of it discretely well before you encounter anyone in your potential place of employment, as this is not a good look for a first meeting.
Repeat confidence-boosting mantras
People often find that having a confidence-boosting mantra to repeat to themselves is a boon, whether said out loud in private or echoing silently in your own head. Simply chanting something like “I am fully ready for this” or “I can do this brilliantly” can muster a bit of mettle and make the prospect of the interview less daunting.
Watch your posture
Sitting comfortably but attentively is necessary to make sure you can complete the interview without having to fidget and shuffle around, and to project an air of confidence and dynamism. Slouching is not an option, nor is sitting on the edge of your seat, so try to find a balance between the two; upright and engaged without appearing flighty.
Calm shaky hands
If you feel your hands shaking, do not clamp them in your lap or fold your arms. By clenching your thigh muscles instead you will calm the shakes and still be able to use them to make open, honest gestures as you speak.
Focus on the questions
Nerves can crank your inner critic up to 11 and might mean that you miss an important aspect of a question you are asked, so try to focus on what the interviewer is saying.
Making a conscious effort to breath evenly and listen will naturally combat other issues caused by anxiety, such as a rising pulse rate, so there are a range of benefits to gain.
Keep in mind they are on your side
Your interviewers will know you are nervous and will allow for this. In fact, in our experience we have never seen a candidate miss out on a job because simply because they were nervous. We have however seen candidates lose out because they were too relaxed and came across as not interested.
With adequate preparation you can turn your interview from an unfamiliar to a more familiar one, and thus reduce your anxiety levels significantly. It is facing the unknown that instils anxiety. Preparation is the key to lowering your anxiety levels, subconsciously you know you have prepared so the fear diminishes.
Even rugby players get nervous! As part of our Kicking Business into Touch series, professional rugby player – Isaac Miller explains how it’s important to take your nerves and channel them into something positive.