Job interviews are your chance to get your skills and capabilities across, but also to help the interviewer understand why you would be a great fit for their team. When you are calm you can think clearly, but your brain reacts to interviews in the same way it does to danger, not great when you need to be sitting calmly in a chair highlighting your suitability for the job. Here are our tips for staying calm before and during the job interview.
Before the interview
One of the best ways to alleviate interview nerves is to be prepared. Start by researching the company you will be working for. Know the job specification inside out and think of some questions that you want to ask the interviewer. Don’t learn everything like a script or it will sound awkward, but make sure you are comfortable answering the usual interview questions.
Sleep is your body’s way of recovering and the lack of it can affect concentration. The night before distract yourself from the interview by watching you favourite film or reading your favourite book.
Some people find it hard to eat when they are feeling anxious, but if you skip breakfast or lunch before your interview then you might not be able to focus as well. Eat healthy, slow release energy foods like porridge and brown rice that keep you feeling full and alert. Bananas are also good as they contain serotonin, which is also known as the happy hormone.
Plan your journey
It’s really important that you know where you are going on the day, as unknown locations can add to the stress of preparation. Decide which trains you are going to get and what time you are going to leave home, as well as printing off directions to the office. If you can leave early, that way you will arrive with a few minutes to focus and mentally prepare yourself before you go in.
Wear something comfortable and appropriate
If you’re not sure what you should be wearing then a quick ring to HR will confirm the dress code. Don’t wear anything that makes you feel uncomfortable though, like a shirt with a tight collar or shoes with extremely high heels. Looking good makes a great first impression, but tripping over or fidgeting doesn’t.
At the interview
Take some deep breaths
Whilst you are waiting to meet the recruiter, use this tried and tested technique for calming your nerves. Breath in slowly through your nose and count to three and then out slowly through your nose for a count of three. By repeating this three times you will have lowered your heart rate, so will feel less panicky.
There are two reasons why water is great for preventing nerves at interview. If you are even a little dehydrated it can affect your ability to think clearly as well as your mood. Sipping water during the conversation stops your throat from feeling dry and gives you some thinking time.
Stress can affect your listening abilities and if you aren’t careful, you could misinterpret the question. Communication skills are as much about listening as they are speaking, so if you can focus on this you will come across well to the interviewer, and the effort required will make you forget about your nerves.
An interview is not only a chance for you to tell the recruiter a little more about your skills, it’s also an opportunity to find out if you would be a good fit for the company. Trying to act differently or use words you’re uncomfortable with in the hope it will impress just adds to the pressure you’re already feeling. Being yourself is the best chance you’ve got of securing that graduate job or internship, so shine in your own way.
An interview is the best chance you get to make an impression on a company you want to work for, so it’s understandable that you feel anxious. These tips will make sure that nerves don’t get the best of you on interview day.