Do you suffer from interview nerves? We all know the signs. Heart beating too fast, hands sweaty and shaky, mouth dry. It feels like you might explode. Well, don’t worry. It’s all very natural and common to be nervous before and during your interview. Everyone feels the same way. And why not? It’s one of the most important things that you will do. The trick is to not let the nerves get ahead of your ability to deliver a great interview.
Here’s the good news. There are a number of things that you can do to control those nerves, both before and during the interview. Let’s look at a few of the things that you can do before the interview to keep those nerves in check.
Before the Interview
- Research the organization for which you have applied, and understand what they’re looking for in an employee. Don’t wait until the last minute; do this well in advance, even before you get invited to the interview. You never know how much time they will give you to prepare.
- Carefully review the job poster and invitation to interview to get a sense of the type of interview they will be doing and what traits they will be assessing. Look for competencies that are important for the candidate to possess, i.e. initiative. Understand them and be prepared to demonstrate how you meet those competencies.
- Get your professional outfit ready (cleaned and pressed) a day or two before the interview. You certainly don’t want to be looking in your closet for something to wear a half hour before you should be walking out the door. Having this prepared ahead of time means one less thing to worry about.
- Keep the day(s) leading up to the interview as free from stress as possible. Try to eliminate overloading yourself with additional responsibilities. Keep your routine simple. Ensure you get a good nights sleep the night before, and have a good breakfast before you go the interview. If you have time, get a bit of exercise in before you go. Identify the activity that gives you the most relaxation, i.e. a nice long walk.
- Arrive at the interview in plenty of time. Ensure you know where you are going and don’t be late. There is nothing like arriving late to raise your anxiety levels.
There are also things that you can do during the interview to keep those nerves in check.
During the Interview
- Have water available and drink it periodically throughout the interview. This will help keep your body temperature down, cool your hands and get those cotton balls out of your mouth.
- Take notes during the interview to help you gather your thoughts while you think of how to answer the question. It is way less intimidating if you are doing something while you are thinking rather than just staring at the interview board like a deer in the headlights.
- Maintain good posture throughout the interview. If you are sitting up straight but relaxed, it will give you a sense of having a bit more control, which translates into less nerves.
- Ensure you maintain good eye contact with each of the members of the interview board. Keep them engaged. That will help keep them focused on your answers and keep you feeling like you have control.
And remember, keep the entire process in perspective. What will happen if you aren’t successful with this interview? Whether it be an interview for an upcoming promotion or a new job, know that if you aren’t successful this time, there will be another opportunity waiting around the corner.
And as I have said in a number of previous posts, practice, practice and practice some more. There is nothing more effective to beat the interview nerves than feeling that you are completely prepared. Find someone who is experienced at conducting interviews to help you, or reach out to a Certified Professional Career Coach to get the help you need.
Do you know someone who is faced with this challenge? Feel free to share this post by using the share links at the top of this page. Also, if you’d like more interview tips, feel free to check out the interview resource page.