Graduate job interviews can get the better of even the coolest of cucumbers.
And that's totally normal. Job interviews are stressful and everyone will feel some level of anxiety towards them. What's important is how you channel those nerves into positive energy and not let them hinder your performance.
Experience will play a big role in this - the more interviews you do, the more familiar you'll become with them and the less they'll scare the bejesus out of you - but there's also a few simple ways to control your jitters which will help you get through the interview in one piece.
1. Be fully prepared beforehand
You know what they say: if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail. The more prepared you are going into an interview, the calmer and more confident you'll feel during it. Make sure to have revised your CV beforehand, brainstormed some potential interview questions and swatted up on the company and their values. Always have a couple of questions to ask the interviewer in your back pocket too; you don't want to stumble at the final hurdle. By preparing as much as possible, you're less likely to be thrown a curved ball during the interview that sends you into meltdown.
2. Arrive to the interview calm and collected
Start as you mean to go on. If you turn up to the interview flustered, you'll feel distracted and off kilter the whole way through. Avoid rushing around before the interview by giving yourself enough time to get to wherever you need to be (or in the case of 2020, have your laptop fully charged and Zoom up-to-date). Try to keep all preparation to the days before too, so that all you need to do on the day is refresh your memory on any key information.
3. Channel the adrenaline
Nervous energy can be really useful in an interview, so long as you channel it into something positive. Instead of letting your anxiety overwhelm you, use the adrenaline to demonstrate your enthusiasm for the role and the show the interviewer than despite being nervous, you do really want to be here. Being too laid-back can often go against you, and an interviewer might infer that you're not that interested.
4. Take your time answering questions, and breathe
You're allowed a few moments after each question to think about how you want to answer. Don't be tempted to rush into saying the first thing that comes into your head only to realise after a minute that you're not sure what point you were trying to get across. A good tip is to take a breath right before you begin answering each question, to give yourself a second to gather your thoughts. Be aware of how fast you're speaking too - nerves tend to cause you to speed up and stumble over your words. Make sure to talk at a steady pace and take regular pauses to breathe. Consider trying some deep breathing right before the interview too - it'll help relax the body and rid you of any jitters.
5. Remember that the interviewer is on your side
73% of graduate interviewers would rather you just admit that you're nervous. Remember that they've been in your position before so will know how you feel. (Most) interviewers aren't there to catch you out or make you trip up; they want to give you the best chance to demonstrate your skills and experience, and show them why you're a good fit for their company.