Tricks to Combat Interview Nerves


Just the word interview makes most job seekers nervous. During an already stressful time of changing careers or losing a job, the process of career management usually adds to the stress. Preparation is the key to nailing interviews and finding a new career that is rewarding and lucrative. Updating your career documents to accurately represent your current job focus and showcase the adequate skills, experience and accomplishments is the crucial first step towards finding you new job.


Once your documents are in order you must tackle the job search as if it is your job. Develop a business plan for securing a new job. Make sure to update the plan and track your progress daily. As you are contacted for interviews treat your interview opportunities as a competition - a race with the other job seekers. Gain your advantage by researching the company, the industry, the position, the work ethics, projected future, current notable activities or expansions, and anything else pertinent to your interview. The more you are familiar with the company the more you will understand it and know whether this is a company worth competing to be a part of.


Next, it is imperative to practice your response to frequently asked interview questions by writing down and rehearsing your answers out loud. Knowing how you will answer the interview questions is your best defense against nerves during the interview. Have a friend or family member conduct a mock interview with you and practice saying your answers to someone else. Video taping your mock interview can assist you in improving your verbal and non-verbal skills.


When applying for any position I remind clients repeatedly that the interview is just as much their interview of the company as it is the company doing the interviewing. It is important to find out information about the company and its’ environment to determine if this is even a place where you want to work. What do you want from the job? Make sure the person you are meeting answers all the questions you have.


Another trick to reduce interview stress is to rehearse the actual interview in your head. Visualizing a productive and successful interview incorporating sight, sound and other senses make the visualization even more real. Rehearse the introduction, the actual interview including questions asked and answered and the offering of the position to you for the perfect salary. Your mind believes imagined events as though they are real. This process will reduce your stress level helping you feel more familiar and confident during the interview


Learn to develop cues that help you relax. Try meditating to a particular song or while looking at an object such as a pencil or a ring. The meditation object can even be a place in your mind that relaxes you such as a vacation spot or somewhere in your home. When you are in the middle of an interview and start to feel pressure or nervous, take a couple of deep breathes and focus on your target object or location to help you calm down and regain focus and mental composure. This technique takes a little time to master so practice at work, with your children, while fighting traffic or with the in-laws.


Positive self talk is always helpful to psyche yourself up and build lasting self confidence. I have several mantras I repeat to myself that are both professional and personal in nature. The more I say these statements and say them out-loud with real conviction, the more believable and effective they are. Your positive self talk can help to change negative thought patterns or habits. For me, the harder the mantra is to say to myself out loud the more I need correct that thought pattern. So repeat to yourself 50 or 100 times a day, “I am a great communicator” or “I deserve a great job” or something you come up with and see what happens.


The time to try these techniques for controlling nervousness and build interview confidence is before you actually go to an interview. Start working through these stress relieving techniques and see which ones feel comfortable. The more comfortable you are during the interview the better results you will have. Comfort will come from your career management and interview preparation. Not only will you feel more confident and comfortable but you will place yourself at an advantage over the other interview candidates that are not prepared.


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