Congratulations! You landed an interview. After the excitement wears off, the nerves and anxiety set in. These feelings increase to an all time high when you’re in the hot seat, but there are a variety of tips to calm interview nerves.
Nerves can run wild for many candidates during an interview because we perceive the situation as high stake, where you have to perform your best. Dr. Tamar Chansky, author of Freeing Yourself from Anxiety says the brain can’t distinguish between a good and bad high stakes situation. “When we perceive that we are in a high stakes situation, the brain doesn’t distinguish the high stakes of a job interview–where it would help to be calm, cool and collected–from the high stakes of being under threat from attack (say, from a tiger),” said Chansky. The body reacts the same way as the brain does, that is why there are a myriad of inconvenient reactions and gestures we experience.
Here are some tricks and tips to stay calm, cool, and collected during your next interview.
Prepare in advance: This is a common tip for job seekers as they prepare for an interview. The more prepared you are the less nervous you will be. Research the company and position well before the interview to have a solid understanding of what the role entails. This will in turn give you more confidence which will combat interview jitters. It’s also best to prepare your interview attire and route to take in advance so there is less to worry about day of.
Practice makes perfect: Role play with some mock interview questions. While you won’t know for certain what will be asked, practicing an elevator speech as well as answers to common interview questions will diminish nerves. If you can’t practice with someone, practice in front of a mirror paying close attention to posture, reactions, facial expressions, and eye contact.
Get some rest and eat right: During the week leading up to an interview, prepare yourself physically as well as mentally. Get some serious shut eye so you’re at the top of your game day of. Also, choose a well balanced meal the night before as well as interview day. Taking care of yourself will ensure you’re properly prepared for the interview.
Just breathe: When we get nervous, we tend to take shallow breaths. Take time to mediate, inhaling deeply and clearing your mind of clutter. Deep breathing brings more oxygen into the blood, naturally calming and relaxing the body. The more relaxed you are, the easier it is to think clearly and concisely so be mindful of breathing habits during an interview.
Think positively: Visualize success with the interview and remind yourself that you were chosen for a reason. Someone was impressed with your skills and is interested in hiring you. Stay positive throughout and visualize interview success!
Be mindful of body language: This can be a make it or break it for interviews so be fully aware of your non-verbal communication. Body language can be a dead giveaway of interview jitters.
It’s a meeting, not an interview: Rid your mind of the idea that an interview is some sort of interrogation. Instead, think of an interview as a meeting between two individuals who are trying to accomplish something. You both have factors at stake. Remind yourself; it’s really just a meeting of two minds who are working to fulfill a goal.
Remember, it’s natural to be nervous: Everyone gets nervous, even the most confident, qualified people. Prepare ahead of time, breathe deeply, and remind yourself why you are the right candidate for the position. Also remember, you’re not the only person who is nervous. Many times, interviewers have nerves running at an all time high, even if they have conducted interviews before. They have to choose the right candidate or else it’s their job on the line.