The Job Interview: 5 Ways to Calm Pre-Interview Jitters

Score — you got the interview! The date is set, but the closer the day comes, the more nervous you get. You are afraid of not having good answers and being tongue-tied and too stressed to think straight.

That’s normal. When asked why interviewing is stress-inducing, most candidates say because there is a lot at stake and because they don’t know what questions will be asked.

Here’s the good news: There are five easy steps you can take to calm your nerves before that next interview!

Practice, practice, practice

Do a mock interview! Ideally you can practice with a professional. For instance, make an appointment to come to the Career Center, and we will do an in-depth mock interview with you. We will talk through the most commonly asked questions and work out the best answers with you. If that’s not an option, do an internet search for the most commonly asked questions, or check out our website. Then carefully craft your answers and practice with a friend. Take out your smart phone and video yourself. That way you can see your body language and catch potential issues! (For tips on body language, see this post.)

When you have come up with the best possible answers, write them down and practice, practice, practice. The more confident you feel in your answers and how to deliver them, the less nervous you’ll be!

Prepare, prepare, prepare

You want to know as much as possible about the organization you are interviewing with. Check out their official website, social media presence, and recent news coverage.

You also want to prepare your route to the interview site and what you will wear. Check your clothes ahead of time to see if they need to be washed or dry-cleaned.

Again, the more prepared you are, the more confident you will be!

Listen to music

On your way to the interview, listen to music that makes you feel good. Sing, rock, rap along to your favorite music. It will energize you and make you feel good and at ease.

Do a power pose

Right before the interview, somewhere in a private corner, try power poses. Never heard of them? Check out this TED talk by Amy Cuddy. Stand up straight, shoulders wide, hands to your hips. Poses like this can make you feel more powerful and confident. Some studies even show that they can actually change your body chemistry to make you more powerful and confident.

Acknowledge your accomplishments

Last but not least, the fact that you were invited to the interview already shows that the organization thinks you might be a good fit. You made it to this stage past many other applicants and are one of only a handful (sometimes only two or three) candidates invited to interview. You have already crossed most hurdles, and the interview is just the very last one. Recognizing this should give you a feeling of accomplishment and increase your self-confidence.

Now that you are prepared and full of self-confidence, there is no room for nervous jitters. Go and nail that interview!

Written by Anne Nowak.