Interview Nerves – Here is the remedy

by | 07.04.22

Us humans may have hauled ourselves up from humble beginnings to the current civilisation peak we occupy but strip away our fashionable clothes and smartphones and there is still a fragile creature lurking underneath, with a set of animal instincts underpinning our behaviour. When subjected to stressful situations it is all too easy to let these instincts take charge. A job interview can create the perfect storm of emotions that can knock even the most composed individuals off-kilter. A lot of this is down to the flight or fight response which floods your system with adrenaline and other potentially disruptive substances. So how can you stay clam in your interview and overcome your fears. What can you do to face an interview with confidence? Here is the lowdown on how to handle and ultimately overcome your interview nerves for good.

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 a degree of tension. Top actors, television presenters and senior businessmen all succumb to nerves, and all have their own way of coping.

Nervousness is good in a job interview

Firstly it is important to realise that interview nerves are not necessary a bad thing, if you learn to use 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 .

Turn your nerves into a positive

A certain amount of nervous energy is useful. It will make you appear interested and enthusiastic, keen to take on the role. No employer wants to employ someone who appears too laid back, too calm could be seen as apathetic and perhaps not really intrested in the job.

Make the interviewer appear familiar

Interviews are unfamiliar and artificial , they are made worse if you don’t know what to expect. It is very much based on our fear of the unknown that causes our nerves. However by preparing properly and practicing being interviewed will become more familiar and as a result your nerves will be reduced.

Prepare for 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 be prepared to talk about yourself positively. A lack of preparation is likely to increase your natural apprehension about the interview and therefore increase your nerves.

Avoid stimulants

Don’t think that by having a little drink, and by drink I mean anything alcoholic , will help you – it won’t , there is also a good possibility that the interviewer will smell it on you and think you are an alcoholic. Avoid too much tea and coffee as well as you may want to go to the loo during the interview.

Watch your posture

Sitting comfortably but attentively is necessary to make sure you can complete the interview without having to fidget and shuffle around. Slouching is not an option, nor is sitting on the edge on your seat, so try to find  balance between the two, upright and engaged.

Calm shaky hands

If you feel your hands shaking do not clamp them in your lap or fold your arms. Try to relax your muscles instead and that will calm your shakes and you will still be able to make gestures as you speak.

Proper preparation

With adequate preparation you can turn your interview from an unfamiliar to a more familiar one and thus reduce your stress. So be prepared, research the company , read the job specification carefully, practice answering questions you are likely to be asked , carry out a mock interview at home , make sure you have the right clothes in order to make a great impression and finally if possible visit the offices where the interview will be held so you know where you are going. All these things will help you prepare mentally and help you feel comfortable in the interview.

Do not rush to the interview

There is nothing worse for you as a candidate than having to rush for an interview. The last thing you want to be worrying about is being late, the potential embarrassment can trigger an anxiety attach. Give yourself plenty of time to get to the company however do not report to the reception until 10 minutes before you are due.

Use body language

At an interview you want to come across as confident so you should stand or sit straight without slouching and of course smile. These two simple actions will give the message that you are confident and as a result you will actually start to feel more and more relaxed.

Plan your day around the interview

Your day will be more productive if you adhere to your schedule and stick to any plans you may have. Arrange any interviews you get for the morning if possible so you are not stressed and waiting for it all day. Make sure you get plenty of sleep the night before you need to be rested and alert for your interview.

Eat before you go

Do not go it an interview on an empty stomach. Eat before you go so you have the energy you need. Being hungry can add to your worry and stress. Choose one of your favourite foods like chocolate or a bacon role to put you in a good mood.

Talk to a family member or friend

Talking to a cheerful friend or family member can greatly boost your confidence level. Its easier to listen to someone else’s positive words than your own and hearing complements from a loved one can ease your nervousness’s.

Remember an interview is just a conversation

Reframing how you think about an interview can help to relieve stress. Remind yourself that a job interview is just a conversation not an integration. They are trying to figure out if you would be the best fit for the role, but this is also chance to determine if the position and the company would be a good fit for you.

Plan something fun after your interview

Whatever you enjoy doing schedule it for after your interview. This will give you something to look forward to and takes the focus away from your interview. It will also help you visualise how you’ll feel once the interview is over. Whether it’s a nice lunch out with friends or a glass of wine in the pub. Thinking nice thoughts releases endorphins – the feel – good chemical that triggers positive feelings.

Remember no-one is perfect

Employers aren’t looking for perfect, they’re looking for flexibility and reliance. They want someone who can do their job but they know no-one is going to be perfect. Taking the pressure off the perfection valve will help you perform better.

Interviewing is never easy but with careful planning , research and self care you can show up feeling confident and enthusiastic. Now I’ve given you some tips on how to calm your nerves before an interview ma your nerves work in your favour. Go for it – you have nothing to loose and everything to gain.

Good Luck

Angela Burton