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Andrew Arkley|September 7, 2018

How To Calm Interview Nerves: Our Top Tips

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Job interviews can be daunting, but there are many things you can do to help calm interview nerves. Most of us will experience interview jitters at some point, whether it’s days beforehand or the moment you walk in the room, so we’ve put together a list of top tips to help keep your nerves in check.

Use relaxation techniques

One useful way to help calm interview nerves is to practice some relaxation techniques beforehand. 

Meditation can be a great way to help control your thoughts. It may sound difficult if it’s not something you’re used to, but meditation can be a really useful way to help you focus on your breathing and to relax. There are a number of meditation apps that provide vocal guidance for beginners. 

A good yoga class can help reduce any physical symptoms you may be experiencing, such as an increased heart rate or rapid breathing. Yoga classes often incorporate some relaxation at the end which can help realign the body and mind, ideal for when you really need to calm interview nerves. 

Doing something you already enjoy can help too, whether it be a long walk or listening to some of your favourite music. Being outside in a green space or in the fresh air is great for reducing stress and anxiety. Anything that makes you feel at ease is bound to keep the butterflies in your stomach at bay.  

It’s easier said than done, but there’s a lot to be said for a good night’s sleep. Websites such as Mind or NHS offer advice on good bedtime practices and other relaxing exercises.  

Be prepared

Calm interview nerves by making sure you are as prepared as possible. Do your research on the company and the industry you’re applying to. Look at what skills, experience and qualities the job description asks for, then think of examples that show how you’ve demonstrated them in the past.

Taking the time to think about any questions you might be asked will ease the fear of the unknown. The National Careers Service also provides a list of potential questions and preparing for these, as well as any industry or role specific questions, will help you to feel more confident. Go to your interview armed with examples of times where you have demonstrated initiative or dealt with a difficult situation. 

Practising your responses will help to calm interview nerves. For instance, you could write down your answers then say them out loud, multiple times. Or if you can set up a mock interview with a friend or family member, even better. Preparing properly before the interview will help take a lot of the pressure off.

It sounds small, but planning what you will wear and how you will get there will help calm interview nerves as well, and will allow you to arrive feeling ready for the day. 

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Use your nervous energy

Employers are humans too, and the chances are they have been in your shoes before, so don’t worry if you’re feeling nervous during your interview. 

Nervous energy or adrenaline might make you feel uneasy, but you can keep it under control by recognising it’s normal to feel that way. If anything, it shows you really care about the task at hand and can motivate you to do well.

Use up some of your nervous energy by exercising, which is good for both the mind and body. Going for a run will release those feel-good endorphins, and generating positive energy will really help calm interview nerves.

Control your hands

You’ll no doubt feel as though you have lots to think about during your interview, but don’t lose sight of your body language. Even if you’re feeling anxious, you can control how this comes across by pulling back on the fidgeting. Be aware of what your hands and feet are doing to prevent the interviewer from becoming distracted.

When you arrive, be sure to give a firm (but not too firm) handshake. This will establish a bond with your interviewer and help you appear confident. Maintaining eye contact will also make you come across more engaged and at ease.

Speak calmly and clearly 

Finally, if you find your nerves getting the better of you during the interview, take a deep breath and hit pause. 

Lots of us ramble when we feel nervous. To help combat this, try to answer questions with only one thought or idea at a time to prevent yourself going off on tangents. The key is to maintain a sincere tone so that even if your answers are brief, they don’t come across curt. 

Don’t worry about not saying enough – if the interviewer wants to know more, they’ll ask you to elaborate. 

Have to attend an assessment centre instead of a regular interview? Check out our assessment day tips and guidance on what to expect.

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