How Not To Be Nervous Before An Interview
So, you’ve done it. You made it to the interview stage. All the hard work that was put into your CV, cover letter and any other stage that might have come before, such as online assessments, have been successful and now you’re invited for an interview or a trial shift. And I bet it makes you feel really scared, doesn’t it? No one wants to be nervous before an interview.
Of course, you want to come across as well as possible and really make that lasting impression. Here’s how to stay calm and collected in order to achieve exactly that.
Leave enough time. There’s nothing worse than stressing before an interview or running the risk of being late. Check the address and how to get there the day before, double-check train times and take the earlier one just in case. You can always sit in a cafe nearby should you happen to be there way too early but at least you know you will be punctual.
Breathe. It sounds redundant but when we’re feeling nervous before an interview, our breathing can become funny. Take a few minutes to consciously breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, about three seconds per breath, not focussing on anything else but your chest lifting and lowering.
Remember why you’re there. You’ve convinced them every step of the way, hence why they now want to chat with you in person. Whilst admittedly, this is a bit scarier than sending an email, it might help to just see it as the next step in the interview process you’ve already been undergoing. They liked everything you’ve submitted so far, and that’s definitely something to take confidence from!
Wear something you feel confident in. There’s nothing worse than not feeling your best in an important interview. Wear something that is appropriate but still comfortable for you. Don’t try to wear what you think you should be wearing – after all, you want to present yourself as genuine as possible. This also counts if you have been asked to wear something specifically. If the dress code is “all black”, wear your favourite black top and not one that you think will impress the interviewer the most – all within appropriate boundaries, obviously.
Prepare. And don’t do it on the train that morning. Take some time the day before to re-read the job advert and familiarise yourself with it again. What exactly was stated in there, what are they looking for? Are there any keywords which you can also mention or is there a specific qualification or trait they are looking for which you know you have?
There are also some general interview questions that might pop up which you can prepare for. Try to think of what makes you unique, why you applied for that specific job, which useful experiences you take from past jobs etc. Whilst you never know what they are going to ask, it is a calming thought knowing that you have some answers ready. However, don’t make them sound memorised and prepared once a question does pop up. Just imagine you’re in conversation with a friend, and answer as relaxed as possible.
Talk slowly. You’re not in it to win a race. It is okay to take a moment to think about a question – don’t be afraid of the pause! Your answer will more than likely be better and more suitable if you have given yourself a few seconds to think it through.
“Fake it ’til you make it.” Something that may not be everyone’s cup of tea but which I found to be very helpful. The essence of it is to just pretend you’re confident, even if you don’t entirely feel like it. Try to use confident body language, such as sitting up straight and meeting the interviewer’s eye, and use convincing phrases. That way, you will not only convince the interviewer but also yourself of your capabilities.
Feeling nervous before an interview is absolutely normal and shows that you care about the outcome of it. There is no need to hide it completely; it is just important to not let it overcome and have a negative impact on you. The most important tip is always to just be yourself, and if you can additionally eliminate your nervousness by using some of the suggestions above, you can be sure that you have done everything to influence the interview as positively as possible. You have no need to be nervous before an interview.