If you're feeling nervous in the lead up to a job interview, rest assured you are not alone. Most people experience a degree of nervousness before and during a job interview. Nerves are a natural response to an important event, and simply indicate that you care about getting it right.
Being too nervous can hold you back, though, so it’s important to know how to relax. Follow these tips to ace your interview:
1. Visualise success
Top performers in all walks of life use visualisation techniques to overcome nervousness. Visualisation simply involves running through the interview in your mind ahead of the event. Picture yourself entering the room feeling calm and in control. Visualise yourself standing tall, smiling and shaking hands with ease. Imagine answering questions with confidence and poise, building a good rapport with the interviewers and leaving the room feeling happy with your performance.
Focusing on the best-case scenario will help you keep your composure in the lead-up to the interview. Your positivity and confidence will show during the interview, and the employer will probably mirror your positive energy. If you are confident that you deserve the job, they may just feel the same.
2. Practise your responses
Interview nerves are often caused by a fear of the unknown, or concern that you are going to freeze or say the wrong thing. To avoid getting flustered, rehearse answers to common interview questions. This will help you to feel more comfortable and confident in your ability to provide coherent, succinct responses on the day.
You may also be thrown an unexpected question. Try practicing your answers out loud with a friend to get feedback on your delivery. If you can't get a friend to help, consider recording yourself answering hypothetical questions, then play it back to hear how you sound. If you use a video recorder, watch for nervous body language and try to be mindful of any fidgeting that could reveal your nervousness.
3. Be prepared
If you don't prepare yourself for the interview, nerves can really take over. Taking the time to prepare for your interview will help you stay relaxed, and the interviewer will be able to tell you've put some time and effort in before turning up.
Confirm the name and contact number of your interviewer, the time you should arrive and what you plan to wear. Ensure you have all relevant documents on hand, including your CV and examples of past work. Give yourself plenty of travel time in case you get delayed – being late could lose you the job before you've even begun. Being on time will also give you the opportunity to compose yourself prior to the interview.
4. Take your time
Taking your time is something you associate with being relaxed. Give yourself ample time to answer the questions as they come. When feeling nervous at an interview, you may be tempted to rush your responses. This will often cause you to miss the point of the question and leave the interviewer struggling to keep up as you hurry through your answer.
Avoid stumbling over your sentences by taking a few seconds to consider what it is you’re being asked. Breathe deeply, then focus on articulating your answer slowly and clearly. If you forget what the question was, avoid giving an answer that you hope might be correct. Instead, keep calm and ask the interviewer if they feel you have covered their key points. Don’t forget that you can ask questions too.
5. Think positively
Mindset is a powerful thing. Changing the way you think about an interview can have a huge impact on the amount of pressure you feel. A positive mindset will be evident to your potential employer. Be sure to smile and reflect your positivity through your body language as well. Rather than thinking that you’re being judged, try viewing the interview as an exciting challenge to overcome.
Remind yourself of past successes and concentrate on the strengths you could bring to the role. Avoid putting expectations on yourself to give perfect answers, or thinking about things over which you have no control, such as the competition. Instead, focus your energy on simply giving the best interview you can.