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Calming your nerves before an interview

There’s no denying it.  An interview can be a really daunting prospect, especially if it’s your first.  So how can you calm yourself down before an interview and stop you freezing mid-sentence?

Research

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.  Simple as that.

Find out as much as you can about the company including the type of people, the culture, products, offices, locations, profits, losses, turnover, vision etc.  All this along with the job specification can help you prepare examples of why you are the best candidate for them.  Find ways of relating the information you find back to you, how you can help them achieve goals and targets, how you have helped a previous employer hit a target similar to one you have found for this company.

You should know your CV inside and out.  Read and re-read it to make sure any questions that might arise from information on there is going to come quickly.  It’s obviously not possible to know every question that could come your way, but you can prepare for some of the more common questions.  This preparation will reduce your likeliness of not knowing something, pausing too long or stuttering on what you want to say.

Some popular questions are:

  • What can you tell me about yourself?
  • What motivates you?
  • Why should I consider you for the role?
  • What are your strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • Why do you want to work with us?
  • Are you a good team player and why?
  • What is your salary expectation?
  • Do you have any questions at all?

Preparation

If you are asked to wait in reception before the interview you can utilise this time to try and relax.  Think about what you can say to your interviewer, breathe deeply and slowly and try and be calm.  It’s ‘only’ an interview.

Try and get a good night’s sleep the night before your interview.  If you’re tired it might be quite obvious.  Go to bed in a good mood and try and be positive all morning.  Making yourself feel positive will have a good effect.  Also, try and schedule the interview for the morning, this will help keep you from being nervous all day.

Plan as much as possible the night before.  Clothes and shoes are something that people forget to think about and it can be a frustration not having everything ready.  Clean your shoes, make sure your clothes are ironed and laid out ready to go.  All this will help reduce stress as you know it’s sorted and ready to go.

Travel can be a really stressful part of an interview.  Feeling like you are going to get to the interview late will stress you out.  Plan to get there early, walk around the block or wait in your car if you have to.

Confidence

Act confident, even if you’re not.  A bit part of this is thinking about your body language.  You don’t want to appear too keen, but leaning forward rather than slouching shows you are ready and willing to start.  Look your interviewer in the eye(s) and shake their hand.

Finally

Relax.  Be yourself.  They want to get to know you, so let them.