"Train, don't strain."
Your mouth feels dry, your palms are sweaty and you can hear your heart thumping. It can mean only one thing – an interview.
But it doesn't need to be like that.
Interview nerves can be managed with some simple techniques. Thinking of it as a conversation with your future employer rather than an interview is a good start.
You're there to work out if you're a good fit for the role – look at it like you're interviewing them too. And remember, you've been invited because they were impressed by your CV. They want you to do well.
That said, even James Bond would struggle to stay cool while being grilled under fluorescent lights, so follow our tips below to make sure your nerves don't get in the way of your best interview performance.
1. Be prepared
It's the obvious one but being prepared will help ease the tension of the unknown and make you feel more confident. Check out the advice in our Interviews section to make sure you haven't missed a trick.
2. Know your strengths
If you're aware of your strengths and how they apply to the role you want, you'll be in a far stronger position to sell yourself. Check out My Strengths to learn more about where you excel.
3. Be fresh
Have a quiet evening before the big day. Have a bath or watch your favourite film – anything that makes you happy. Stay away from alcohol, though, as it'll stop you having a good sleep.
4. Plan your journey
Make sure you know where you're going and plan your route. Don't forget to leave enough spare time for transport delays.
5. Use the right fuel
Breakfast is key. Avoid anything too sugary or greasy that might upset your stomach. Try to stay off anything smelly – don't kill a first impression with nasty breath. Steer clear of caffeine too. If you're reeling from that last coffee, you might struggle to stay on topic.
6. Take deep breaths
>Before the interview, calm yourself by controlling your breathing. Rest your hand on your stomach and breathe in through your nose for a count of four – making sure you feel your belly expand beneath your hand – then breathe out through your nose for a count of five. Do this ten times and repeat any time you feel a bit jittery.
7. Think positively!
It may sound cheesy but it's probably the best technique to overcome nerves. Imagine yourself at the interview in complete control with a big grin on your face and answering all the questions just as you'd hope. Do this several times before the interview. On the day, remember that smiling releases endorphins that can instantly cheat the brain into making you feel happier.
8. Chill out
If you're a bit sweaty when you arrive, nip to the loo and run your wrists under cold water and dab it behind your ears. These spots are where the arteries are close to the surface, so the cold water cools your blood.
9. Don't dwell on it
When it's all over, don't fixate on things you wish you had or hadn't said. The interviewer will make allowances for nerves so don't worry if you made a silly joke or found it difficult to get some words out.
10. Post-interview feedback
Whether you get the job or not it's important to ask for feedback on how you performed. Honest feedback means that you can go on to improve your interview style by working on the areas you didn't do so well in. This means that you've already started your preparation for the next interview and those sweaty palms will be a thing of the past.
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