Interview Nerves And How to Combat Them

Do you find that nerves and anxiety get in the way when you’re sat in the chair facing your interviewer?

Feeling anxious during an interview process is perfectly normal. It’s a healthy reaction and given in small doses, it can be good for you. The Journal of Individual Indifferences found that participants who viewed stressful events as challenges, rather than threats, gained a boost in energy from their anxiety.

However, even if it does benefit you in some ways, nobody wants to be so crippled with anxiety before an interview that it impacts your performance. Below I’ve listed some ways to combat these nerves:

Prior to the day

Being well-prepared for your interview gives you an immediate advantage, as it will increase your feeling of comfort and confidence in your interview.

  • Research your potential employer. Who are they? What do they do? Get a really good understanding of what the firm does, what sectors they operate in and who their clients are. Being on top of any recent events such as mergers, new office openings or big deals/projects is great too.
  • Prepare answers. What are your strengths and weaknesses? Why are you leaving? Why are you interested in the role? Ready yourself for those tough competency questions and prepare answers. This prevents the embarrassment of being put on the spot and turning a blank!
  • Location. You do not want to get lost on the way to your interview. If possible, do a trial run to avoid any delays on the day.
  • Dress smartly. We all know to dress presentably. But remember, don’t get stuck in a stiff-collared, ill-fitting shirt that will make you writhe throughout your entire interview. This will only make you look anxious and uncomfortable. Get your outfit ready a few nights beforehand, so you don’t have the additional stress of finding an outfit on the day, only to discover a spaghetti stain on the front!
  • Mock interviews. Grab a member of your family or your partner and let them read through a reel of interview questions. Test the way that you talk through your answers, speaking is completely different to reading the answers you have prepared on paper.

On the day

  • Be mindful of what you eat or drink beforehand. Cut the caffeine to prevent your jitters and coffee breath. And it probably goes without saying, but you should avoid alcohol too, regardless if you think it will help you relax. Also, eat something light before the interview – you don’t want to fall either end of the spectrum of being either lightheaded or tired from bloating.
  • Arrive on time. You know where the company is, now the task is to get there on time. Also remember, arriving ridiculously early won’t go in your favour. You may be disrupting the interviewer’s day if you turn up half an hour before expected.
  • Think positive. The self-help gurus are correct. Although interviewing role after role can be depleting, you cannot give this impression to your interviewer. Being positive, happy and eager will help you come across more confident and capable.
  • Release your nerves smartly. Sometimes anxiety can seep through the seams. Guilty of tapping the desk, repeatedly brushing your hair or swinging in the chair in an interview? Try to exchange these anxious shakes with wiggling your toes under the desk or hold your hands together to avoid fidgeting!
  • Avoid desperation. This may be your perfect role, but your entire future is not in the balance if you don’t get the job. From an interviewer’s perspective, enthusiasm is good, but desperation can be uncomfortable. Would you turn up to a first date with a wedding ring?

Finally, remember not to let your job search demoralise you. It may take you some time to find the perfect position, but that’s fine. There’s no need fall into a pit of worry because you’ll never find anything. You never know what’s around the corner!

For more interview tips click here.