Regardless of our experience, level of confidence, or even our desire to land the job. We can all probably think of a time when our nerves got the best of us before an interview. Sometimes, you can quickly shake it off and regain your confidence, but it’s not always that easy. That’s why it’s helpful to have a few tricks in your back pocket that will allow you to calm down and re-center before the big meeting.
Interview anxiety will often subside once you sit down and start getting a little more comfortable during your conversation with the recruiter or hiring manager. However, walking into the interview with all of that anxiety can leave your voice shaky, hands trembling (or sweating), and confidence lacking until you start to relax. While this behavior is understandable to just about anyone, research has shown that around 80% of interviewers make a decision on whether or not to move forward with a candidate within the first 15 minutes of an interview and that the candidate’s impression management typically plays a role in making this decision. So, the sooner you can relax and beam with confidence, the better.
Of course, getting rid of interview anxiety is easier said than done (and this information likely doesn’t do your nerves any favors). But, with the right approach, you may be able to relax enough to at least fake some confidence during the interview until you’ve calmed down enough to exhibit your real confidence. Here are some things to try to help you loosen up a bit.
How To Ease Interview Anxiety
1. Do A Quick Review
Grab all of your notes from your pre-interview research and give them a quick once-over. The chances are high that you already know all of this information anyway. But, this miniature crash course will help remind you that you are well prepared for the meeting and that you can answer whatever questions they throw at you confidently.
2. Get Some Fresh Air
Whether the interview is over the phone, online, or in-person, block off about 10 minutes to get outside. Take a short walk and get some fresh air and vitamin D. It will allow you to focus on something other than the thoughts swirling in your head and naturally help you calm down a bit. Try not to get too sweaty if it’s a sunny day.
3. Fuel Up
You’ve probably heard people say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It’s not because a bowl of cereal and a banana have magical abilities. Instead, it’s because you are better able to focus when you have a satisfied stomach. So, make sure you take a little time before your interview to have a quick snack that will leave you satiated (but not too full) enough to keep your mind on the task at hand.
4. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a practice that can be extremely helpful in bringing you back to the present. It’s great for people with anxiety who are stressing out about the unknowns of the future (like you may be about your interview). There are many ways you can practice mindfulness, but one easy method is with your five senses. You can bring yourself back to the present by identifying something you can see, something you can hear, something you can touch, smell, and taste. Try it. You’ll be surprised how helpful it is.
5. Take Deep Breaths
Breathing happens naturally, so you probably don’t pay much attention to it regularly. However, when you’re anxious, your breathing can become more shallow, causing more tension. You can combat this through deep breathing exercises that will help the body naturally relax. You can find some great guided exercises online, or you can breathe deep into your belly, hold it for a second, and then slowly release it. Repeat this a few times and feel your body start to relax.
6. Listen To Something Empowering
Maybe you gain confidence through music or by listening to motivational speakers. So grab your earbuds and pull up something that will help you feel energized and empowered. If you need a suggestion, Beyonce’s “Who Run The World (Girls)” is a great place to start.
7. Give Yourself A Reality Check
When you’re so focused on your interview performance, it can be easy to forget the reality of the situation. Take a step back and evaluate the meeting for what it is: two or three professionals sitting down together to discuss whether or not this job is a good fit for you. The people who are interviewing you are not inherently better than you, and while they may be evaluating you, you should also assess them. It is a two-way street and you have more power than you realize.
8. Make Some Plans
Give yourself something to look forward to after the interview. It could be meeting up with a friend for a specialty coffee afterward or treating yourself to a delightful ice cream sundae. Whatever you choose, let it be something that you can use to remind yourself that there is light at the end of this interview tunnel.
9. Have A Laugh
One of the best ways to relax is through laughter. Depending on how much time you have before your interview, you can calm your nerves by watching a silly show that never fails to make you laugh, like Schitt’s Creek. Or, if you’re a little more limited on time, play a stand-up album on Spotify to listen to while you drive to the interview. By the time you meet your interviewers, you’ll be a little more relaxed, and your smile will be a lot more genuine.
10. Think Of The Worst-Case Scenario
Yes, this may seem counterintuitive, but this is an excellent technique to help get you out of your head. Think about the absolute worst thing that can happen as a result of this interview. You don’t get the job, right. That can be tough, especially if you have a lot riding on it, but if you zoom out to look at the big picture, you and your family will likely still be okay one way or another, and that can be a comforting reminder in times like this.
📖 Read More: Got an interview scheduled? Use our interview guide for more helpful tips.
Don’t Try Too Hard
There is only so much you can do to calm your nerves before an interview, and if you start stressing out over being unable to manage your anxiety, well, that’s just counterproductive. So, if it’s just not happening despite your best efforts, don’t try to force yourself into relaxation because it won’t work. Give yourself some grace. It’s normal to be a little nervous before an interview, and any good recruiter or hiring manager will understand that before they even shake your hand for the first time. Take a deep breath. Even though it can be extremely frustrating, remember that there is only so much you can control in this situation. Now, go rock that interview.
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