How to Calm Interview Nerves

Find out how to calm interview nerves, overcome pre interview anxiety and give yourself the best chance of success in your job interview.

It is normal to feel anxious before your job interview.  Poor interview performance as a result of feeling tense and nervous is one of the most common challenges candidates face.

Picture of smiley face in coffee cup with text on how to calm interview nerve.

Knowing how to calm your nerves before an interview builds your confidence and leads to better overall interview performance. There are several tried and tested techniques and strategies to overcome  interview anxiety.

How to Calm Interview Nerves in Six Simple Steps

How to calm interview nerves before your job interview. Take these 6 steps to feel confident about your job interview.

1. Prepare properly

One of the best ways to reduce nerves is to be prepared for your interview.

Find out what you can about the company. Practice your answers to common interview questions and be ready to explain any tricky issues on your resume such as employment gaps and reasons for leaving.

The more prepared you are, the more confident you will feel.

2. Make a to-do list

Before the interview think about the things that worry you and put some coping mechanisms in place. Making a list of what needs to be done helps reduce stress.

Prepare a list of what to do the day before your interview and check the items off as you complete them.

This way you can go to bed the night before the job interview knowing you have prepared everything and get a good night's sleep.

3. Get your interview clothes ready

Be confident that you will look the part and make the right impression with your interview attire.

Check your clothes are clean, pressed and tidy. Polish and clean your shoes. Try out the way you will wear your hair. If you look good, you will feel good.

4. Use positive self talk

How to calm interview nerves before your job interview includes using positive self talk.

Try replacing self doubts and negative thoughts and traps with positive affirmations. Tell yourself that you are a good job candidate, you are well prepared and that you will be able to successfully handle the job interview.

Acknowledge the positive aspects of  the job interview, it is an opportunity to show your suitability for the job, and expect the best. Remember you have got as far as the interview stage, when many probably didn't. This confirms your suitability and is an encouraging sign that you are the right person for the job.

5. Use visualization

Before you leave for your interview you can use visualization techniques to help you relax. This involves:

  • closing your eyes and  breathing deeply
  • picturing yourself confidently and calmly greeting the interviewer
  • picturing yourself answering the interviewer's questions fluently and establishing a good rapport with the interviewer

Remind yourself that the interview is not an interrogation, the interviewer wants to see you succeed.

6. Physically relax

On the way to the interview and while you wait practice smiling! Smiling releases endorphines which the body uses to reduce stress. Take a deep breath, slowly breathe out and smile.

Deep breathing helps slow your heart rate and reduces anxiety. Taking some slow, deep breaths just before your interview and during any breaks in the interview is a good way to calm interview nerves.

Practice sitting in a position that you feel comfortable and confident in, with your hands held loosely in a relaxed fashion.

How to calm interview nerves during the job interview

1. Use your body language to convey confidence

Keep your posture straight, with your legs crossed at the ankles or feet flat on the floor. This ensures you come across as relaxed and composed. Hunching in your chair or crossing your arms or legs makes you look nervous.

Be aware of signs of anxiety during the interview such as jaw clenching or face rubbing and correct these.

A description of how your body language in an interview impacts your confidence

Acting and looking confident by sending the right message with your interview body language, even if you are not feeling confident, helps you to feel in control.

Your posture, what you do with your hands, looking directly at the interviewer and maintaining eye contact will affect your mindset and how you perform in the job interview.

2. Actively listen

Make eye contact and listen closely to the interviewer. This will help you to stay present and focused and not get lost in anxious thoughts.

3. Take time to think

One of the best tips on how to calm interview nerves is to simply slow down and pause before answering questions. This gives you a chance to breathe and organize your thoughts. The interviewer will not notice a quick 10 second pause and this way you get your nerves under control before it gets worse. Speak slowly and calmly.

Don't be afraid to ask the interview to clarify or repeat the question if you are unsure of what you are being asked. If you feel yourself starting to panic, pause and take a deep breath. Regain your focus and continue.

What to do if you don't know the answer to an interview question.

How to respond when you don't know an interview answer in text.

Make the right impression in your interview

To succeed in your job interview it is important to make the right impression from the word go. Make a positive impression from the moment you arrive for your interview.

These tips for interview success will show you how to calm interview nerves and build your confidence, helping you to come across as the winning job candidate.

Overcoming your interview nerves and anxiety is a key factor in your success. Interview stress can cause you to make job interview mistakes. Be aware of common interview mistakes and feel confident that you can avoid them.

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