One of the toughest aspects of interviewing seems to be sort of out of our control… and that’s our nerves. I know that I personally have gotten extremely nervous right before interviews and have not been able to successfully talk myself out of it.
The most annoying part? The more excited I was about the job, the worse it was!
Here are a few tactics to calm your nerves before an interview:
1. Practice answers to a few common questions (in front of a mirror, with a friend, in the shower, etc.)
Practicing ahead of time will do two main things for you. 1. It will make you less nervous just because you feel more prepared. 2. Even if you are really nervous, you will still be able to answer the question (even if your voice is a little shaky you can still get your point across).
The most important one to practice is “tell me about yourself” or “walk me through your resume” since it is usually the first one asked (when you’ll be the most anxious), and the most open ended. Check out a few other common questions and suggestions on answering them here.
2. Don’t over-engineer it – just be “you”
Your goal in an interview is to be the best version of yourself. It’s hard to mess that up since you know how to be yourself better than anyone else does. When you’re asked a question in an interview, don’t panic. Just pretend you are explaining the answer to one of your friends’ parents – simply and honestly. Don’t over-think about the way you “should” answer it. When it doubt, just speak from the heart.
Note: I like to use your friends’ parents as the example (versus your own friends) because you always want to keep the filter of answering things professionally and diplomatically. Be you, but don’t be too casual.
3. Know that being nervous is not a “disqualifer” for a lot of jobs
Being unprepared, not doing your research, not having the technical skills, etc. are all things that will knock you out of the interview process and disqualify you for the job. However, if you walk in there, know your stuff, know how your background can be an asset to the company, prove that you have the skills to do the job, and show your passion, nervousness alone isn’t going to knock you out of the process.
As long as you can answer the questions well and have what it takes, a sweaty palm or a shaky voice isn’t going to be the thing that disqualifies you. Just knowing that should help with the nerves. Believe it or not, people get nervous about the fact that they’re nervous – it’s a vicious cycle!
We’re all human. Your interviewers know that too and guess what else – they’ve been there before. If you get stuck on an answer, it’s okay. You can always say “Sorry, I’m a little nervous because I’m really excited about this job. Do you mind if I start over?”
Practice a ton, be yourself, and don’t get nervous about being nervous. That in itself will help you calm your nerves before an interview and you will be able to shine!