No matter how much you prepare for an interview – from learning how to impress interviewers, to co-ordinating your responses, to planning your journey – nerves can still hit you.
And whilst it is perfectly normal to feel anxious – hell, nerves can actually help to stimulate your senses and make you more alert (which is never a bad thing) – the last thing you want is for this pressure and stress to stunt your answers and ruin your chances of securing the job.
So what can you do? How can you eliminate pre-interview nerves so you’re 100% focused on the day?
1. Take a walk – it is possible to prepare too much, to the point where you’re unintentionally making yourself anxious. In moments where you feel like your nerves are getting the best of you, we suggest going for a walk and embracing nature. The sound of bird song, the fresh air and seeing nature at play will all help to keep you in the present and stop you from worrying about the future i.e. your interview.
Now, this walk doesn’t have to be long. You can take a stroll around your park if you want. However, we suggest walking for at least five minutes to help alleviate this stress.
2. Adopt the ‘STOP’ method –
– Stop what you’re doing and focus
– Take slow, deep breaths
– Observe your body – what is going on in your body and mind? Do a quick scan
– Proceed – move forward, taking what you have observed with you.
The idea behind this technique (created by Chris Charyk) is to make you slow down and stop rushing around. Typically, when we are stressed, we adopt a ‘fight or flight’ response, meaning it is easy to boost our anxiety by acting fast/speedy. To overcome this, try to slow down and give yourself space to stop and rationalise these fears, doubts, etc. By slowing down you will be able to take steps to prevent them.
3. Be prepared – even for worse case scenarios. If you let them, fears can easily grow out of proportion. But here is something you probably didn’t know… There is no fear that you cannot prepare for. This means, if you’re concerned about anything, you take steps to prep in advance. Worried about your makeup smudging or having food in your teeth? Bring a mirror and check them before you go in. In other words, analyse your fears and prepare a solution for them. This will give you back the control you crave, and will prepare you for even the worst case of scenarios.
4. Create a cheat sheet – you should never think you can ‘wing’ an interview. That is just asking for an anxiety attack. Instead, prepare a cheat sheet containing all your essential details i.e. interview address, name of the manager, when to arrive, the main points you want to get across during the interview, any questions you want to ask, etc.
This sheet will act as a gentle reminder which you can quickly scan before you go in, helping to reduce your nerves.
5. What is the plan after the interview – it is easy to focus on the interview itself and forget about everything else. To help calm your nerves, we recommend making a plan for the rest of your day. What else will you do? This will give you something to focus on or even look forward to other than the interview i.e. a meal, walking the day, going for a drink, etc.
6. Remember to eat – even if nerves usually curb your appetite, we urge you to eat before your interview as this will help you to perform at your best. From increasing alertness to providing your body with essential nutrients (to keep you going under pressure) to releasing happy hormones (when you eat something naughty); eating as a whole will give you the concentration to focus on your interview and excel.
7. Give yourself a pep talk – go find yourself a quiet spot where you can freely talk to yourself and remind yourself of how smart and qualified you are for the role. Saying it out loud will help it to stick and will encourage feelings of positivity. Just be sure to do it somewhere private so you can give this motivational speech your all.
8. Speak to someone positive – reach out to a positive friend who is part of your personal fan club. They can listen, offer advice and even help you to overcome your nerves by putting a positive spin on things. They’ll also be able to remind you of how great you are, so again you feel more confident.
9. Smile – the saying goes ‘fake it until you make it’, and this is true of interviews. Even if you feel like crying, smiling can release positive endorphins that can help you to feel better and more confident. So put on a fake smile and let the endorphins roll.
As you can see, eliminating pre-interviews nerves doesn’t have to be taxing. It is just a matter of recognising your triggers and taking steps to stop them. So if you’re prone to getting nervous before an interview, why not give these tips a try and witness the difference they’ll make to your mind-set?
For more information on how to improve your employment odds, check out our online courses today.