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How to avoid being nervous for a job interview

CareerBuilder | May 31, 2022

How not to be nervous in an interview

While it's completely normal to be nervous about a job interview, following these steps can help you feel more at ease and confident so you can get that job.

Odds are, at some point in your life, you will get nervous as you prepare for a job interview. While it's completely natural to find yourself anxious before the interview, being prepared and possessing the right attitude can go a long way in controlling your pre-interview nerves. Following these 10 tips can help you avoid this common predicament.

Get prepared

One of the biggest reasons why you might get nervous is because you fear the unknown. While that's a normal feeling to have, you can do a little research to prepare yourself for the interview. Before going into the interview, consider doing the following:

  • Research the company. Do a quick internet search to learn a few interesting facts about the company, such as its business operations and leadership positions.
  • Practice your responses to common interview questions. Some of the more common questions involve telling the interviewer a little about yourself, mentioning some of your weaknesses and strengths, and explaining where you see yourself in five years.
  • Participate in a mock interview. Ask a mentor, colleague, or family member to complete a practice interview with you.

Know who you're meeting

Just like researching the company, you'll want to look into who's conducting your interview. Are you meeting with a hiring manager or with a direct supervisor? Will you be meeting with one person or a panel of people? Learning a bit more about who you're meeting with can help you not be so nervous before your interview. You can also use that information as a way to break the ice. For instance, if you're meeting with someone who's from Tampa Bay, you could ask if he or she is happy that Tom Brady is returning for another season.

Choose your outfit

This tip might seem silly, but selecting your interview outfit before the day of your interview can help ease your butterflies. Make sure the outfit fits well and isn't too tight or uncomfortable. If it needs to be dry cleaned or ironed, get that taken care of well enough in advance. Ideally, you want to go with an outfit that makes you feel confident and comfortable.

Relax the night before

Perhaps the most important tip to remember is to relax. On the night before the interview, avoid doing any last-minute cramming. Instead, do something to take your mind off the upcoming interview. Do whatever you believe will help you feel relaxed. A few examples include:

  • Take a walk and get some fresh air.
  • Listen to your favorite music.
  • Watch a lighthearted movie.
  • Read a good book.
  • Take a luxurious soak in a bath or a nice long shower.
  • Use an app like Calm to meditate for a few minutes.

Start the day right

On the day of the interview, get up early enough so you won't feel rushed. Leave yourself more than enough time to get ready, since rushing around will only make you more nervous. If you have nervous energy, get a quick workout and shower in before you head off to the interview.

Eat breakfast or lunch

Even though your stomach might feel like it's in knots, you don't want to go into an interview with an empty stomach. Being hungry can add to your stress and make you uncomfortable. Plus, you don't want to embarrass yourself by having your stomach growl in the middle of the interview. Consider eating something that has energy-boosting antioxidants or indulging in something comforting. While there's no right or wrong choice, avoid too much caffeine since it might make you too jittery or feel on edge.

Give yourself enough time

Hopefully, you know exactly where you're meeting your interviewer. The last thing you want to do is arrive late. By arriving early, you can run to the bathroom and double-check that you look presentable. If you're feeling too hot, run some cold water over your wrists and dab some behind your ears to cool yourself down. Take deep breaths to slow down your heart rate.

Keep the interview in perspective

Before you head into the interview, remember that it's just a conversation. You're facing at least one person, if not more, to talk about you and your career. As much as you might want to work at this company in this position, the person interviewing you is also hoping that you're the right match. Also, remember that the job you're interviewing for isn't the only one out there. While you might believe this is the perfect position for you, knowing that if the interview doesn't go exactly to your plan doesn't mean the end of the world.

Be confident

Once you walk into the interview, sit in the chair with confidence. Your body language can show the interviewer how much you're paying attention. Your physical stance can trick your mind into believing that you're in control of the situation. Smiling can also convince your mind into feeling happy and allow you to relax a bit more.

Reward yourself

If you're completely stressing about the interview, think about rewarding yourself after the interview is over. What's something that you'd be excited to experience after the interview? Maybe you'd enjoy a delicious meal, a stress-relieving massage, or just time on the couch watching your favorite show? Having a reward at the end of the interview can make the experience a little less stressful.

While it's completely normal to experience interview anxiety, you can take some steps to minimize those nerves. Meeting strangers who are in a position of authority, talking about yourself, and being evaluated and judged on your experience and ability to answer questions can all trigger stress and anxiety. Using these 10 strategies can help alleviate anxiety and help you not be too nervous for the job interview.


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