10 Ways To Beat Interview Nerves

Sweaty palms, shaky voice, incessant fidgeting and an overwhelming urge to run out the door. Sound familiar?

Typical. Just at the crucial moment you need to keep it together, your mind and body betray you and render you into a quivering mess with little to no cognitive functioning. WHY?! Whilst there's no quick fix for this, there are some things you can do to appease the anxiety a little and mask those nerves. 

Take heed! 

1. Get it out the way

Try to book your interview for within the week and opt for a morning slot if possible. You want to give yourself enough time to research the company and prepare but putting it off gives you more time to dwell on what might go wrong!

2. Preparation is everything

OK, we know we bang on about this but it’s so important that it’s worth reiterating. Doing all your homework before you step into that interview room will significantly lower your odds of being caught out by a prospective employer.

Firstly, start by researching the company. You might have already done this during the application process but go back and reacquaint yourself with this information. Jot down any important facts and figures using our Researching Companies Cheat-Sheet and look over it each day leading up to your interview.

Secondly, print off your CV, Cover letter and application form and read these again. Pick out any points you think an employer might want you to expand on and make sure you can justify any statements you’ve made about yourself. Use our Skill Set Cheat Sheet to prepare for this one.

Finally, get practising your answers to Classic Interview Questions. ‘Tell me about yourself’, ‘What is your biggest weakness?’ and ‘Where do you see yourself in 5 years?’ are just a few. We’ve made a list of more interview FAQs for you to ponder in our Advice Section. 

3. Phone a friend

Do you know anyone who can help? Does a friend work in the industry you’re trying to get into? It’s worth asking them about their interview experience. Chances are the questions they were asked will be incredibly similar to those you’re going to face.

4. Do a dress-rehearsal

A couple of days before your interview, it’s a good idea to do a practise run. Ask a friend, parent or careers advisor to play the role of the employer, they may come up with questions you hadn’t considered which will give you a chance to practise thinking on your feet. Ask for HONEST feedback on the quality and delivery of your responses and get them to tell you one aspect you did really well and one you could improve on.

5. Do a practice journey

Ok, so this sounds a bit weird but hear me out. There’s nothing worse than running late for an appointment you’re already stressed about. Work out how long it will take you to get there (don't forget traffic/potential accidents/natural disasters, the usual.) Do a practise drive/bus journey/walk a couple of days before.

6. Get some rest

At the risk of sounding like your mum, we advise getting a good night’s sleep before your interview to ensure you’re feeling refreshed and alert on the day. It would be a shame to waste all your hard work just because you stayed up to watch one more episode of Family Guy. Plus, yawning mid interview won’t exactly give the best impression…

7. Cool off

Top tip - running your wrists under cold water and dabbing it behind your ears will quickly cool you down if you’re feeling hot and bothered. These areas are where the arteries are closest to the surface of the skin so the icy water will have a cooling effect on your blood. Bring a cold drink with you as well to stay hydrated.

8. Start as you mean to go on

Most candidates are nervous; it’s just that some can hide it better than others. Summon your best acting skills when you see the interviewer and mask any nerves with a friendly smile and confident handshake. Starting strong should help you carry this confidence through the interview and will give a positive first impression if nothing else.

9. Get some perspective

After desperately applying for job after job with no success it can feel like the stakes are incredibly high when you finally get that elusive interview. Yes, you may have a lot riding on a positive outcome, but it’s not life or death here. If you don’t get this one, chock it up to experience. Reflect on what you did wrong and make a point of improving on it for next time. Remember, you got this interview; chances are you will get another one soon.

10. Think differently

Sometimes, imagining the interview as a conversation or meeting with the employer can alleviate that feeling of formality which makes us all so nervous. Remember to ask the interviewer questions of your own at appropriate times throughout the meeting. This not only makes you seem interested in the company, it also helps to build a rapport with the other person and gives you a welcome break from time in the hot seat!

Post interview:

Phew! It’s over. The worst thing you can do now is to dwell on anything you did or didn't say. Instead, meet up with friends, do something fun and congratulate yourself on having resisted the urge to call up and cancel.

You – 1 Nerves – Nil

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