It’s great that you’ve been offered the chance to present yourself in person, but how do you get past the awful nerves? The tips below could help you before, during and even after the big day.
Do your research. One of the most common fears relating to interviews is that you will be asked something you can’t answer. The more prepared you are, the less likely this is to happen. Research the company you are interviewing with thoroughly. Think about why you are the right person for the role. Pinpoint situations where you have shown particular skills, such as leadership, organisation or working as part of a team.
Practise! You may feel like a bit of a wally sitting in front of the mirror reciting pre-prepared answers, but ideally you will set up some sort of ‘mock interview’ before the big day. Get a friend (or a couple of friends if it’s a panel interview) to put you through your paces. That might be more intimidating than the actual interview, but remember they already like you and want you to succeed! You don’t need to be word perfect, you just need to get used to answering the kinds of questions you may be asked.
Remind yourself of your skills and qualifications. Not only will this help you prepare, but it should build your confidence. Remember that degree you aced? Remember those sales targets you smashed? Remember that call centre you saved? That’s why you’ve got the interview in the first place. The employer thinks you have potential and so should you.
Look after yourself. Don’t forget to eat, sleep and exercise in the lead-up to your interview. If you’re super tired or rundown you might not even make it there, and if you do you might end up falling asleep or passing out in the interview room. Drink plenty of water and eat healthily, and avoid drinking too much caffeine, which could give you the shakes. The healthier you feel the better you are likely to do on the big day.
Leave plenty of time. Plan how long the journey will take and leave plenty of time to get there. It won’t help the nerves if a train is cancelled or your car won’t start and you were already cutting it fine. It’s also worth preparing what you’re going to wear the day before so it’s all ironed and ready to go in the morning. Don’t forget to wear deodorant if you’re of a particularly nervous disposition!
Actively steady your nerves. When you get to the interview venue you may find yourself sitting in reception waiting to be called through. This may make you feel extremely anxious as you go over the questions in your mind while trying to make a good impression on everyone who walks past. Take deep breaths and try to relax your body without slouching. Avoid tapping your feet or hands. If there’s time, pray!
Project confidence. Once inside the interview room it’s important that you look confident even if you’re not. Give good eye contact and offer positive body language through gestures and a warm smile. Hold yourself upright and speak in a steady voice. Don’t rush what you’re saying; it’s fine to leave short pauses. If you feel shaky, place both feet flat on the floor and push your weight down on them. Use wide, open-handed gestures to show that you have nothing to hide and lean forward to convey enthusiasm.
Thank your interviewer. The way you leave your interview is important, so don’t wind down until you’re out of the building. Shake hands with everyone and thank them for seeing you. You may even wish to send a thank you email when you get home if you have the energy to do so!