Many of us suffer from interview nerves. Did you know that 40% of candidates experience interview nerves before or during a job interview? Nervousness is the body’s natural physiological response as it prepares itself for a performance.
In new and hostile environments, our body sometimes releases excess adrenaline along with the hormone cortisol. These in turn cause an elevated heart rate, sweating, dry mouth and quickened breathing.
Firstly, it’s okay to be nervous. The fear of the unknown and anxiety about meeting new people can be stressful. But there are things you can do to reduce anxiety and lower your stress levels before and during an interview. Here are 5 tips for beating interview nerves.
1. Do Your Research
Candidates who feel fully prepared for an upcoming interview are less likely to suffer from a lack of confidence, which in turn can cause nervousness. Research the industry, the employer, their competitors and their employees. Research the company mission statement, organisational structure and social media to get a sense of their company culture. If possible speak to someone who works in a similar role in the industry or the company itself to gain a real insight into the role.
Ask a friend or a colleague to help you prepare for an upcoming interview by practising asking you questions. Prepare a list of possible questions and answers and spend time working on your interview technique. Ask them to point out any helpful suggestions they may have on how to improve your demeanour, body language and tone of voice. Practicing before an interview can help you beat the nerves on the day as it builds your confidence and removes one element of the unknown.
3. Arrive Early
If you are unsure about the location of the interview make sure to confirm this with the recruiter. On the day of the interview arrive early. Running late can induce stress and cause undue nervousness. If you arrive more than 10 minutes before your interview, don’t go in but instead wait outside.
Take the time to review your final interview preparatory notes, drink some water and check your appearance before arriving. Turn off your phone and relax for the few minutes before you are called in. These actions will help you remain calm, boost your self-confidence and positivity.
4. Stay Calm
Sometimes during an interview, you will experience nervousness for no apparent reason. It may occur after you were asked a difficult question and you are struggling to think of an answer or perhaps you are unclear about what the actual question was.
In these situations, the best advice is to stay calm. Smile and focus on your breathing for a minute, counting the breaths, which will relax your body and provide more oxygen to your brain. This, in turn, enables your quickened heartbeat to slow and clear your mind. Take a sip of water and sit back straight in the chair.
Another technique used to help reduce an anxiety attack is grounding. This involves acknowledging your anxiety and instead of fighting it let it flow through you. Take a minute to move your toes and feel the ground beneath your feet. This technique has been proven to help relax your body and help your focus.
If you are unsure about a question asked it is perfectly acceptable to ask the interviewer to clarify what they mean. If you need a minute to think about the answer you can pause and explain that you need to think about the answer.
5. Take Control
Nervousness can affect a candidate’s confidence during an interview. By feeling in control of the conversation a candidate can regain this confidence. It is acceptable for candidates to bring a notepad and pen into the interview. Also, it is advisable to refer to notes during an interview if asked a question about a specific fact or figure. For example, if asked about a sales target or a percentage increase, take the time to get the answer right by referring to your notes.
Finally, one of the best ways to take control is to ask questions at the end of the interview. Always ask at least one question, demonstrating your interest and enthusiasm for the position. In addition, it’s a great way to incorporate any important information you may not have mentioned during the main conversation.