One of the most nerve-wracking events in life can be attending a job interview. Nerves can get a hold if you are new to the interview process, but for some, it is a feeling that never goes away. Being on the spot in front of an interviewer can lead to headaches, anxiety, and lapses in memory, and no one wants to forget what they were going to say right in the middle of an interview.
Here are a few tips to help you deal with and overcome interview nerves.
1. Prepare as much as possible
The biggest factor in reducing interview stress is preparation. The more prepared you are the more relaxed and ready you will feel for anything that the interviewer throws at you. This means researching the company and the advertised position thoroughly. Look for reviews, news about the company and try and find out what other employees have to say about working there. Revise the standard interview questions and rehearse your responses. Think about situational questions and how you will answer them. Be ready for those questions that place you in a situation and ask how you will handle it. The interviewer cannot predict how you will react to certain events so they want to see how you will react.
2. Look after your physical self
When attending your interview you will want to be as bright and sharp as possible, so do everything you can to facilitate being relaxed on the day to help reduce interview nerves. Work out, get a good night’s sleep, or meditate the day before the interview so you are on point when you arrived, Don’t stay up late, go out drinking with friends, or do anything else that will dull your senses. Keeping your wits sharp and being able to function clearly and in top condition will help to keep your stress levels down.
3. Watch your breathing
While this may not be the most obvious piece of interview advice, monitoring your breathing can help a lot. It will help you to overcome interview nerves by regulating your stress and reducing your anxiety. Try and breathe deeply and slowly with long measured breaths, and remember to breathe property when talking. Monitoring the depth and pace of your breaths will also help you to speak at a calmer and slower speed, and it will prevent you from speaking too fast or babbling.
4. Be attentive
Pay attention to what the interviewer is saying, it will demonstrate your attentiveness and make the interviewer feel good. Really listen to what is being said or asked and consider your answer thoughtfully before you respond. If you need a bit of extra time ask them to repeat the question or paraphrase and repeat it, ask the interviewer if you correctly have what is being asked, and await their answer before you proceed. While helping to combat your interview nerves this can also show that you are thoughtful and that you pay attention to detail before jumping in. Try and ask some questions of the interviewer about the job or even themselves if it is appropriate. Interviewers listen to people talking about themselves all day. Mixing it up a bit makes things a bit different and makes you more memorable as a candidate.
5. Stand, sit, share
Think about your physical positioning when you attend your interview. For example, try to stand instead of sit while you are waiting. When the interviewer comes to meet you, you will be stood up straight ready to shake their hand. Not struggling to get out of a chair while holding onto your bag or briefcase. Similarly, when you are in the interview room consider how you will sit. Don’t slouch back in the chair or spread out like you are on the couch chatting to friends. Sit slightly forwards with a straight back and look attentive. Hand gestures are important, make sure the interviewer can see your hands. Psychologically speaking it instills a sense of trust. Use a few open-handed or sharing-type gestures.
6.Be on time
Probably one of the easiest to manage and most often overlooked influencers of a successful interview is turning up on time. It may seem like a tiny detail, but it can impact the entire interview and how you are perceived. Not to mention if you already suffer from interview nerves it will only add to your stress. Being late is inexcusable and unforgivable, and even if it seems that it’s ok, you can bet that it is a black mark against you, even if only subconsciously in the interviewer’s mind. But trust that lateness will be noted and can count heavily against you.