Getting over your interview nerves
Few of us feel super confident about job interviews, but if you’re really nervous there may be some practical things you can do to overcome, or at least hide the physical symptoms. Could singing a nursery rhyme and squeezing your buttocks help? The experts seem to think so!
Curing a shaky voice
If you know that your voice tends to quaver when you’re nervous, stick your tongue out as far as it will go and recite a nursery rhyme aloud. Doing so can help to open up your throat, giving your voice more confidence and authority. This is obviously one to do in private ahead of the interview, or we can more or less guarantee that you’ll be unsuccessful! Speak in your own voice during your interview rather than adopting a formal speaking voice, and don’t shout. If you can, pretend you’re having a chat with your friends.
Combatting a shaky body
Perhaps your hands, or even your whole body, get shaky under pressure. If so, try squeezing your thigh muscles. It’s difficult for any part of your body to shake while these muscles are clenched. It should be impossible for the panel to detect, and will give you the appearance of confidence even if you don’t feel it.
Reducing your talk speed
There’s a tendency among interview candidates to speak rapidly and jump from topic to topic. This reflects a subconscious desire to get the interview over as quickly as possible so you can escape! Before you’re called in, inhale through your nose for five counts, then out for five counts. Repeat this process three times. By the time you’ve done that, your heart rate should have dropped and you’ll feel less rushed and panicky.
It’s normal to feel flustered in an interview, but this can make it more difficult to concentrate on the questions being asked, which may cause you to give irrelevant answers. Take a deep breath after each question to consider what information is required, and how you can best answer. If your interviewers are answering questions you have asked or are telling you about the company, listen carefully and try to look interested!
With everything else going through your head, it can be difficult to remember to sit well. Don’t slouch in your chair, and avoid leading back, which can restrict your throat. Ideally, you will sit straight, but leaning slightly forward. This will give you an air of confidence, but also of approachability and openness.
Statistics suggest that candidates whose hands are visible during an interview are more likely to get a job. This may seem strange, but keeping your hands in sight subtly signals that you have nothing to hide. Holding your hands up is a sign of honesty. Just be careful that you don’t accidentally produce an offensive gesture or wave your hands around too much.
Telling an amusing anecdote can really help to lighten the mood in the room. Remember that your interviewer may be almost as nervous as you are. Avoid anything that might be construed as offensive, but use the opportunity to show that you have a sense of humour. You’ll instantly relax when you see your interviewers laughing along with you. If you’re too nervous for humour, try to smile at regular intervals to show that you are human and pleasant to be around.