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5 ways to handle interview nerves
15 June 2015
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 the role on offer.
Accept that these feelings are natural and follow these tips to stay relaxed in the interview:
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. 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 to keep your composure in the lead-up to the interview.
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. Rehearsing answers to common interview questions will help you to feel more comfortable and confident in your ability to provide coherent, succinct responses on the day. Try practising your answers out loud with a friend to gain feedback on your delivery.
Taking the time to prepare for your interview will help you to stay relaxed. 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 are delayed. This will also give you the opportunity to gather your composure prior to the interview.
Take your time
When feeling nervous at an interview, you may be tempted to rush into your responses or even forget the original question. Take 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 the question that was asked, avoid delivering an answer that you hope might be correct. Instead, keep calm and ask the interviewer if they feel you have covered their key points.
Changing the way you think about an interview can have a huge impact on the amount of pressure you feel. Rather than thinking you are being judged, try viewing the interview as a 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.
Staying calm and managing nerves are important skills to practice in the lead up to an interview. Follow these steps to ensure you feel comfortable and more likely to leave your interview feeling happy with your performance:
- Visualise success and think positively — you will turn nervous energy into excitement and confidence
- Prepare for common questions
- Confirm the interview details