Nobody would pretend that being interviewed by a prospective employer isn’t nerve wracking. After all, the stakes are high: being turned down means financial insecurity, more job hunting and the not-so-little issue of your self esteem. But anxiety before and during a crucial interview can quickly become a self fulfilling prophecy. Managing your nerves on the big day and confidently presenting yourself lets your employer know you are secure and able to manage stress. Here’s how.
Deal with the scary unknowns of the interview room by rehearsing an interview. Brainstorm questions you may be asked (including those awkward ones you’d rather not answer) and practice with a friend. Pay attention to your breathing, voice, posture and facial expression. You’ll feel more calm about doing the interview if you feel like you’ve done a few dry runs beforehand.
Take care of the practical things
On the day, you’ll need all your energy and focus for the interview. Don’t sabotage yourself by getting stuck in traffic, forgetting to prepare a good outfit or waiting till the last minute to find out where the interview actually is. Prepare a few days in advance so that you’re well slept and have had a good breakfast. Then, arrive early and gather your thoughts.
Be your (best) self
Sure, employers want to see someone who is going to be a real asset to them, but don’t be afraid to show your genuine, human side. Think of the interview as a conversation rather than an interrogation, and show them everything that makes you special – including a few little quirks. If you don’t feel like you’re play-acting the perfect employee, you can relax and let them see how awesome you actually are.
Do your homework
Be a boy scout and be prepared. Don’t just brush up on your skills and history – do some research on the company, their vision, their staff, recent news and the general tone of their business. This will prevent awkward moments and give you the opportunity to pitch more directly to them.
Be open and warm
Nervous people are communicating the fact that they feel under threat. Change your mindset: your employer is not an enemy, only a new person who you’re getting to know. Nervousness often comes from having a shaky self esteem or feeling overly-invested, so combat this by meditating beforehand on all your great qualities, staying positive and curious, and presenting a warm, receptive attitude during the interview.
Lower the stakes
You’re nervous because you’ve weighed the interview very heavily. Trick your brain by making yourself think of the interview as less important than it is, at least temporarily. Remind yourself that there are other jobs out there and that it’s OK to fail. This way, you can relax and let go of being perfect – ironically allowing you to probably have a better interview!
It’s natural to be nervous during something as important as a job interview, but don’t let nerves derail all your efforts. Try to channel stress before the big day into preparing yourself well, pumping up your confidence and practicing portraying the best, most confident parts of yourself.