How to deal with nerves

How to Deal with Nerves Before Your Interview

We all get nervous from time to time, and sometimes it can feel like your nerves are holding you back. With a job interview just around the corner it is important to understand how to rein in your nerves and present yourself in the best light.

Look after yourself

Start your day in the best possible way, have a good night's sleep, eat a healthy breakfast, stay hydrated, and wear professional clothes which make you feel confident and comfortable. Allow yourself plenty of time to get to the interview and remove as many stressors as you can in the lead up. It is amazing how much anxiety can fade away if you are in control of your environment, and if you are feeling good in yourself this will be reflected in your interview style.

Understand yourself

Have a think about what it is that is making you feel nervous. Think about the times you have felt confident in the past, and how you can replicate those circumstances now. Some people use exercise as stress relief, others mediate or listen to music. Figuring out what works for you, and getting into a routine which calms your nerves can be an important tool, and many of the most confident people you meet will have their own methods to combat and mask their own nerves.

Prepare yourself

If you feel like you are unprepared then taking action to rectify this will make you feel much better. Research the role, find out as much about the company as you can, read about similar roles and what might make you stand out from the crowd. Make a list of questions you might be asked and practise your responses in front of a mirror or with a friend.

Be kind to yourself

It's easy to feel like you are the only one who has to deal with nerves. The structure of an interview will often see you on one side of the table with two or three panelists, already at ease in their surroundings, already acquainted with each other, and with nothing to lose, all focused on you. Try to remember that anyone who is interviewing you has been in your shoes before. They felt exactly the same way, and have probably beaten themselves up about their own shortcomings at some stage. Yes, you need to impress these people, but they understand that this is a high pressure environment and won't hold your nerves against you. If you are well-prepared, well-presented and make an effort to engage with the panelists, you are already well on your way towards making a good impression.


Last minute interview tips

Congratulations, you have a job interview! What are some last-minute, quick tips to make sure you give yourself the best chance at success?

During the job-hunting process it’s not uncommon to become disillusioned and frustrated by the number of hoops you need to jump through before you even reach the interview stage. You’ve probably already spent an hour responding to the key selection criteria and tailoring your resume, figuring out public transport routes and maybe even buying a new outfit to wear.

As exhausting as the lead-up has been, when it comes to your interview it’s important that you’re in the zone because you don’t want all the hard yards to be for nothing. Job interviews never seem to get any easier, but if you follow our last minute interview tips you might just land the job you’ve been wanting.

  • When to arrive
    The best time to arrive is five to ten minutes before your interview.  Any earlier and you become annoying, putting pressure on the interviewer and leaving them unprepared, any later and you’ll leave them waiting which reflects very badly on you.
  • Know who to ask for
    When standing at the reception desk, don’t go flicking through your phone trying to find the email from the recruitment agency containing the interviewer’s name. Know who to ask for and ask with confidence – introducing yourself.
  • Make a great first impression with everyone, including the receptionist
    Often employers will talk with their staff about you after you leave.  While the interviewer is primarily interested in how your skills relate to the job at hand, everyone else in the office will want to know what you’re like to work with as a person.
  • Answering interview questions
    Feel free to take your time and breathe.  Answer confidently and wherever possible, use a specific example.  If you need an extra few seconds to think of an example, rather than get flustered and say “um...”, tell them “that’s a great question” then go into deep (and confident) thought.
  • Focus on your body language
    Smile, make eye contact, have good posture and listen actively. Don’t fidget!
  • When they ask if you have any questions?
    This is an ideal opportunity to find out about the culture of the workplace. You could ask the interviewer to describe the culture of the company, how many staff it employs and how long it has been in operation. This is also the moment to sell yourself and let them know how interested you are in the position. Be careful not to sound scripted – you want to use this as a catalyst to turn a structured interview into a friendly discussion and put your best foot forward. A great example is: “I really love what you guys do here and it seems like a role I would be perfect in. Can you tell me where you see the company going in the next 12 months so I can start thinking of ideas on how I could contribute?”  You’ll score bonus points if you can think of some great ideas on the spot.

Good Luck!