Most people dread job interviews. It is perfectly normal to feel pre-interview nerves since there is a lot riding on the outcome. But don’t panic. By following a few simple techniques and preparing properly, you can reduce your stress levels to help you perform to the best of your abilities.
Being offered an interview is a really exciting time for you! Embrace these feelings of excitement and picture yourself getting offered the job. Positive thinking can do wonders to combat anxiety and help you feel more confident.
Do not indulge in negative thoughts like “there must be better-qualified candidates than me”. Remember, you would not have been invited to an interview if they did not believe you were capable of doing the job.
If this is not your first interview, tell yourself that you have done this before and you will manage again. Every interview feels like a brand new experience but the general structure usually remains the same.
Remember, you are also interviewing them. The job interview is as much for you to see if you like the company as it is for them to see if they like you. Thinking about interviews as a two-way process can help lessen the pressure and help build your confidence.
Knowing you have prepared to the best of your abilities is the best way to deal with interview nerves. For a general competency-based interview, print out a copy of the person specification and list next to it how you match each of the requirements. Make sure you think of specific examples and prepare your responses based on the STAR technique. It can be helpful to practise speaking these out loud with someone or just by yourself. Pretending you are actually answering a question will help you decide how to frame your responses to avoid awkward pauses.
Also, make sure you take the time to plan for questions that are specific to your industry. For example, how you keep up to date with marketing trends.
Think back to previous interviews and consider what maybe hasn’t gone so well before. Plan properly for these sorts of questions just in case they come up again.
Of course, the amount of preparation you need to do is very much determined by the format of the interview. If you need to write a presentation, then you will need to spend a lot longer on this.
Preparation can help with nerves, but it is also essential to schedule some time to enjoy yourself and unwind. It is very difficult to stay focused for hours on end, so it is good to manage your time by ensuring you have plenty of breaks around your interview preparation.
Look after your body
Getting some exercise and eating properly before an interview will help to relieve stress and let you sleep better the night before. If time allows, it is a good idea to try and go for a walk or do some light exercise on the day of the interview to help you clear your mind.
Reduce stressors on the day
Reducing triggers for stress on the day of the interview will definitely help; you don’t want to arrive stressed before the interview has even started.
Plan your outfit beforehand to ensure everything is clean and ironed. Aim to wear something comfortable and that you are familiar with; it won’t help your confidence on the day if you are struggling to walk in brand new shoes.
Decide how you will get to the interview well in advance to avoid any last-minute panics. Try to arrive early so that you can take a seat beforehand and briefly look at your notes and take some deep breaths.
Plan something fun for afterwards
It helps to combat interview nerves knowing you have something fun planned for after the interview. This could be anything from meeting a good friend to having a nice glass of wine! Having plans after the interview will also stop you from dissecting every answer you gave and speculating on whether or not you will get the job. It is important to learn from mistakes and improve, but you also need some time to relax after a stressful situation.
Most of all, try to enjoy the interview and be proud of what you have achieved –you have been selected for their shortlist so they must think pretty highly of you already.