Your thoughts have turned to mush, your carefully planned answers are now word salad and your hands are extra clammy. Sound familiar?
Job interviews can be nerve-racking and almost everyone feels at least a little bit anxious about them. But those nerves don’t have to be a negative! With a bit of planning and some tried and tested strategies, you can use your nervous energy to your advantage.
Prepare Well In Advance
Definitely prepare in advance! This is a must for any candidate, nerves or no nerves. Employers expect every candidate they interview to have prepped beforehand and it’ll be obvious to your interviewer if you haven’t.
Research? Check. Answers? Check.
If you’ve researched the company, prepared answers to your interviewer’s questions and reminded yourself of your CV in advance, you can go into the interview knowing you’ve done your due diligence and feeling confidently prepared.
Focusing your thoughts and energy on your interview prep can also help distract you from your nerves and reframe the interview process: you’re controlling what you can control and empowering yourself with knowledge.
Location, location, EXACT location
Make sure you know exactly where you’re going and how to get there. There’s no room for ball-park guesstimates on the day.
If you’re not quite sure of the exact location and how long it’ll take to get there, it’s worth doing a dry run before your interview day.
Look the part
Choosing your interview outfit and laying your clothes out the night before your interview can save time and worry on the day.
Check out the dress code of any office and go just a little bit smarter. Being smart and comfortable is key - it’s not the day to wear-in your new shoes and find out they give you massive blisters or squeak!
Snooze for the win!
It’s best to have all your interview prep completed at least a day in advance of your interview so you can have as relaxed a pre-interview evening as possible.
How much sleep someone needs really varies from person to person. Whatever your ideal bedtime is, make sure you’re snuggled up in time to get enough sleep to wake up feeling refreshed.
Calm Your Nerves On The Day
You know you’ve prepared as best you can, now all that’s left is the interview itself.
Be an earlybird (but not too early!)
Aim to arrive for your interview ten minutes before it’s due to start, this shows you’re keen and prepared. Ten minutes is plenty early, any earlier and you could find yourself inconveniencing your prospective employer.
Allow for your journey time to accommodate delays. A delayed train, a traffic jam, these all happen but you don’t want them to make you late to your interview.
Eat for positive energy
If you’re low on sleep and “hangry” after skipping breakfast, it’s unlikely you’re going to be able to showcase your best-employee-self. Make sure you fuel your body and mind with a good breakfast.
When you’re any kind of nervous it’s best to hit the decaf or skip the coffee altogether because regular caffeinated coffee will make the physical symptoms of anxiety worse.
It’s a two-way conversation
Although you’re being interviewed by your prospective employer, you’re also finding out if this is who you want to work for.
Asking pre-prepared questions about the role and the company when appropriate, will not only make you look keen and interested, it’s also an opportunity to discover more information about the company culture and the role you’re interviewing for, so you can decide if the job would be the best fit for you.
There are some topics you definitely shouldn’t ask about in your interview. Don’t ask about time off or holiday allowance, these are questions for further on in the process, not the first interview.
Remember, that this is a conversation and all the normal rules apply for what makes a good one. The difference is that a job might be waiting at the end of this one!
Quick calm down strategies
Despite all your planning and preparation, you may still find yourself a ball of nerves on the day.
To soothe yourself quickly before the interview, here are some strategies you can use:
1. Deep breaths
Take deep breaths in for a count of 5 and out again for another count of 5. This can help shift your focus and lower your heart rate.
2. Walk it off
A brisk walk will help burn off some of that excess nervous energy and reduce your adrenaline levels.
3. Chat to a friend
Talking to a friend before the interview can help reduce your stress levels and help boost your confidence.
Before your interview, watch funny videos or speak to someone who properly makes you giggle. Laughing releases endorphins and reduces the stress hormone cortisol, making you feel more relaxed.
5. Shift your focus
In your mind, focus on an object you can see and describe it in as many ways as you possibly can - like the colour, texture and shape.
A combination of good preparation and stress-reduction techniques on the day will harness your nerves to your advantage so your skills and personality can shine!
For more Candidate advice and tips, follow us on Facebook and download ‘How to Wow at Interviews’ our short guide to securing your dream job!