Getting nervous before an interview is only natural. You’ve probably spent a significant amount of time searching and applying for this job, so being successful in the interview, understandably, means a lot to you.
So how can you stop those jitters letting you down on the day?
We’ve spoken to some of our Careers Consultants to give you some advice on how you can beat those nerves.
Sometimes you don’t have long between receiving the invite to be interviewed and having it, so it’s important to be as prepared as you can. This includes:
- Researching the company
- Researching the sector
- Re-reading the job description
- Re-reading your own application
- Creating responses to questions you think are likely to arise – an interview cheat sheet is very valuable
Jane Batchelor, our Real Estate and Planning Careers Consultant, said “you will still feel nervous but hopefully also reassured by the work you have done before attending.”
Which leads us on to…
Thinking about the questions and your answers is a great start, but if you have time to practice with someone it will give you a chance to try your answers out loud and practice on-the-spot answers.
Graham Philpott, Masters Careers Consultant, suggested that “you can ask your Careers Consultant to help, perhaps in identifying likely questions, practicing answers, even doing a full mock interview – preparation increases confidence.”
Like Graham says, we’re here to help! If you want expert and impartial advice, book an appointment to practice first. And if that sounds too daunting, you can talk about the process instead.
- Be confident in yourself
You’ve been invited to the interview, so you must have shown you’ve got what is needed for the job! Confidence is key to success, but it can be easier said than done. Remind yourself that you can do it! Think about your skills and abilities and everything you have achieved so far, as well as what you can accomplish.
Will Peshall, Undergraduate Careers Consultant said “picture what a successful interview looks and feels like. It sounds silly, but frequently imagining yourself in an interview room, delivering excellent answers with confidence and a smile can really help.”
Okay, you’ve done some of the above, but you’re still feeling nervous… what’s next?
Try reframing your nerves to a positive reaction instead. Remember the last time you went on a rollercoaster – how did you feel? Excited? Nervous?
Your body responds to nerves and excitement in the same way, so when you start to feel nervous, tell yourself you’re excited instead! Think about the opportunities the interview will bring.
There’s lots of research on this, such as this blog written by Sutava: https://medium.com/@sutavanews/are-anxiety-and-excitement-the-same-thing-69059b9be315
On the day
There are a few things you can try on the day to feel more confident, such as breathing techniques and the power pose.
The main thing interviewers will pick up on with nerves is if you are speaking too fast or mumbling. Concentrate on turning these nerves into adrenaline! By reframing your nervous energy into excited energy, you can feel amped up and ready to tackle any question.
It is good to practice the S.T.O.P method to help combat these pesky nerves:
Stop what you are doing and make sure you focus on your thoughts,
Take a few deep breaths,
Observe what is going on in your body. Are you shaking? Try calm your mind alongside your body,
Proceed by changing what you have just noticed in your body and mind into banishing your own fears and doubts.
You can also watch this Ted Talk from Amy Cuddy about the importance of body language:https://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_may_shape_who_you_are?language=en
- Dress the part! If you look qualified and like a professional, you will act accordingly.
- Make sure you arrive at the interview location in plenty of time, whether that’s at home over a video call, or at the actual office. Coffee can also add to anxiety, so stick to water.
- Distract yourself a bit from the interview by calling a friend or scrolling through happy photos on your phone. While you wait you want to make sure that you are sat straight in your chair with your shoulders open to allow your lungs to expand. Breathe in through your nose while counting to 10, hold for 5 and exhale for 10. Repeat until you can feel your body physically relax.
- Once the interview has begun remember to keep eye contact with your interviewer, breathe, avoid fidgeting, and most importantly, think positively! Interview questions aren’t there to catch you out, the company just wants to check that you are a good fit for the role and for their company culture.
And finally, remember this piece of advice from Jane “the interviewer wants to see the real you so won’t be out to trick or trip you up – they want you to relax and show your personality.”
Written in collaboration with Sarah Chorley (Careers Communications Officer).