You’ve prepared for every conceivable interview question. You’ve done a thorough investigation into the company. You’ve been anticipating and planning for this moment for what feels like years, and it’s almost here.
You, on the other hand, are a nervous wreck. Maybe it’s a few hours away, perhaps it’s just a few minutes, but you want to do something to get yourself back in control before it happens.
While your resume, experience, skills, and education are all critical factors in getting a job, the interview is usually a company’s first accurate impression of you. It is crucial to present yourself well in a job interview, but interview nerves can make this difficult.
What exactly are interview nerves?
Nerves are the body’s natural reaction to being in an unfamiliar situation. Interview nerves occur when the stress response is activated, and your body prepares to fight or flee in response to the perceived danger of a job interview.
The body may begin to exhibit physical reactions such as rapid heartbeat, rapid breathing, pale or flushed skin, dilated pupils, or trembling during this process.
These are involuntary responses, and while they can be helpful in a dangerous situation, it is best to remain calm before going to an interview. Fortunately, there are many practices and techniques you can try to alleviate your interview nerves.
How to Calm Your Nerves Before an Interview
There are several things you can do to help alleviate anxiety during a job interview.
Try these steps the next time you’re nervous at an interview:
- Keep your hands occupied.
- Attempt the S.T.O.P. method.
- Pay attention to your breathing and pause before speaking.
- Remember that you’re only having a conversation.
- Be upbeat and confident in your body language.
1. Keep your hands occupied
Keeping your hands busy can help you channel your nervous energy. If you are seated in front of a desk, and your hands are hidden, try twiddling your thumbs to relax. Keep a small object in your hand, such as a pencil, but be aware that playing with it may draw more attention to your hands.
When you have something to do with your hands, you are less likely to fidget during the interview.
2. Attempt the S.T.O.P. method.
The S.T.O.P. method is a mental technique for dealing with stressful situations.
This technique’s steps are as follows:
- Stop what you’re doing and pay attention to what you’re thinking.
- Take as many deep breaths as you need.
- Examine what is going on inside your body.
- Examine your emotions, thoughts running through your head, and why you feel the way you are.
Continue with the intention of incorporating your observations into your subsequent actions. The S.T.O.P. method’s goal is to slow down and be aware of what you’re doing and how you’re feeling at the time. It helps you remember that you control your actions, even if they aren’t always pleasant.
3. Pay attention to your breathing and pause before speaking.
Concentrate on your breathing when you are not answering questions.
The less you wander your mind, the less nervous you will be.
Pause for a moment and take a deep breath before speaking.
Paying attention to your breathing helps you stay calm, and pausing before speaking gives you more time to prepare the best possible response.
4. Remember that you’re only having a conversation.
While nerves are evident, altering the way you think about an interview may help to reduce stress. Remind yourself that a job interview is simply a conversation between you and another person about yourself. All you have to do is answer the interviewer’s questions and be truthful about your background.
In an interview, you are not required to do anything else.
5. Be upbeat and confident in your body language.
Sit or stand confidently during your interview.
Your physical posture can have a calming effect on your mind.
Smiling can also trick your mind into thinking you’re happy, allowing you to relax a little more.
Some More Tips to Calm Your Nerves Before an Interview
Here are a few more suggestions to help you relax before a job interview:
Take a stroll
Being outside is good for your mental health, and exercise releases neurochemicals that are beneficial.
Try to take a 15-minute walk before your job interview, or walk around for five minutes before entering the building to clear your mind.
Nervousness can be reduced by feeling prepared. Prepare for the interview by researching the company, conducting a mock interview with a friend, and having your resume and notes ready.
Learn everything you can about the person who is interviewing you if you know their name.
Write down any questions you may have, details about yourself that you’d like the company to know, and any notes that will help you stay focused. Knowing what to expect will make you feel more at ease and relaxed.
Make your day revolve around the interview
Your day will be more productive if you stick to your schedule and any plans you have. If possible, schedule your job interview in the morning, so you are not stressed and waiting all day.
Make sure you get enough sleep the night before so you can make a plan to do something fun or exciting after the interview so you can look forward to it.
Exaggerate your apprehension
This may appear to be the polar opposite of a calming exercise, but as you prepare for your interview, ask yourself what the worst that could happen, and then magnify it. “Most people try to suppress anxious thoughts with positivity, but expressing your worst fears is more effective,” says Jackie Viramontez, a life coach in Los Angeles.
Using exaggeration allows you to laugh at yourself and regain a practical perspective.
Play that scenario out, and you might be able to calm your nerves by having the experience in the comfort of your own home.
Techniques for Relaxation and Confidence Boosting
Some people find that anti-nervousness techniques, such as breathing exercises and mental imagery, help them.
Here are a few that have worked wonders for nervous candidates:
A simple two-minute nonverbal communication trick can instantly boost your confidence and assist you in performing better in interviews. Power posing entails posing like a superhero for two minutes before your interview. Just stand stall and strong with hands-on-hips and legs confidently apart.
It may sound ridiculous, but it works. According to a recent study, power posing resulted in significant increases in testosterone (the dominance hormone) and decreases in cortisol (the stress hormone). This technique alters the chemistry of your body.
A subsequent experiment focused on job interviews. The interviewers overwhelmingly chose the high-power posers as hiring material. Try it right now and see what you think. Just remember to do your posing before the interview in private.
Visualizing a successful interview may help you relax. Imagine yourself in the interview room, making a great first impression and imagining yourself with a strong sense of positive confidence.
The best results will be obtained if you combine the visual with a strong positive feeling and associate the two. It is a quick and easy way to focus your thoughts and boost your confidence.
Breathing is a simple and effective breathing exercise that is sometimes referred to as box breathing. It takes only a few seconds no matter where you are and works wonders for relieving anxiety.
Box Breathing Instructions:
Box-breathing can be accomplished in four simple steps:
(1) Slowly inhale for 4 seconds.
(2) Hold your breath for 4 seconds at the end of the inhalation.
(3) Exhale for 4 seconds,
(4) Hold your breath for 4 seconds at the end of the exhalation and repeat.
You will feel instantly calmer after completing the cycle just once, but repeat as many times as necessary to handle your anxiety dissipate.
If you find yourself stumbling over your words, it’s probably because your anxiety has taken over, and you’re speaking too quickly. Nervousness causes you to speed up your mannerisms and speech. It may also prompt you to talk before you have fully considered the question.
Slow down, and don’t be afraid to take a breather. If you rush to fill every silence, you’re likely to say something you’ll later regret. Don’t be embarrassed to take a break.
Before answering complex questions, interviewers expect you to pause and think. If your pause becomes awkward, you can say something like, “That’s a great question.” I need a moment to think about the best example to share.
You won’t know the answer to every question, which is sometimes deliberate on the job interviewer. Some interviewers will ask you stress-related questions only to see how you react.
The best way to handle these difficult questions is to gracefully redirect the question to a similar topic you are familiar with, preferably while emphasizing your strengths. Maintain your composure at all times. Don’t let one difficult question alter the tone of the interview.
Concentrate on answering the following questions correctly and concluding the meeting on a positive note.