How to conquer the interview jitters

Got an interview coming up and feel crippled by nerves? You’re not alone. Nerves affect all of us – even the most polished performers on stage and screen still get the ‘jitters’. Feeling anxious is an entirely natural response to an unnatural situation. Despite protestations to “just be yourself” we all know that interview success depends on many factors – some entirely beyond your control. And this perceived loss of control can really pump up the fear factor. 

Fear not! You’re definitely not alone.  The good news is there are plenty of strategies to employ to cam those nerves and put your best foot forward.  With the right strategies and mindset, you can manage the nerves and confidently navigate the interview process!

Preparation is Key

“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success” Alexander Bell

One of the most effective ways to combat interview nerves is through thorough preparation. Research the employer, the role you’re applying for, and the industry.  Remind yourself on why you want to work here, what are the company’s values and what are they looking for in a candidate.  Familiarise yourself with common interview questions and practice your responses. The more prepared you are, the more confident you’ll feel going into the interview.  A word of warning though: you can over prepare! By all means draft some answers and think about key phrases you’d like to drop in, but don’t rehearse stock answers. This will only add to pressure on the day as you desperately try to recall – verbatim – what you were going to say.  It’s at this point that panic can set it and you lose momentum.

Practice relaxation techniques:

Learning relaxation techniques can help calm your nerves and reduce anxiety before an interview. Deep breathing exercises, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation are all effective methods for managing stress. Practice these techniques regularly, especially in the days leading up to your interview, to promote a sense of calm and focus.

Positive mindset:

If you visualise success, it’s more likely to happen

Monitor your internal dialogue and replace negative thoughts with positive affirmations. Remind yourself of your strengths, accomplishments, and qualifications for the position. Visualize yourself succeeding in the interview and focus on the opportunities it presents rather than dwelling on potential pitfalls.

Mock interviews:

How about practicing with your friends and family can simulate the interview experience and help alleviate nerves. Constructive feedback from mock interviews can identify areas for improvement and boost your confidence by increasing your familiarity with the interview format. Did you know you can book a mock interview with your Career Service. Select ‘Career Guidance’ (or ‘Career Coach’ if you’re a WBS student) appointments. To help us prepare questions based on what the employer is looking for, please attach any information (for example interview invitation, your application documents, job description and specification)  to the booking.

Practical preparation:

At a practical level, make sure you’ve got the logistics covered. The last thing you don’t want to do is leave something to the last minute.  How is the interview being conducted? Is on online or in-person?  If it’s in in-person, plan your journey, factor in potential delays and aim to arrive 10-15mins early.  This will allow you time to collect yourself and settle into the environment.   

Don’t forget first impression matters!  Dress professionally according to the company culture and role your applying for.  Professional attire fosters confidence and projects a sense of preparedness.  Don’t forget to prepare a folder with your application documents and any other relevant documents you may need.

Maintain perspective:

Remember to congratulate yourself on making it through! An interview is just one step in your career journey, focus on the positives and don’t berate yourself too strongly if you don’t receive an offer.  This does not define your worth or potential. Embrace the opportunity to learn and grow from the experience. Maintain perspective by reminding yourself that setbacks are temporary, and each interview provides valuable learning opportunities that you can use to your advantage next time round.

To sum up, interview nerves are natural, but they don’t have to control you. By employing the strategies outlined here, you can transform anxiety into a source of motivation and focus. Go forth with confidence, showcase your skills, and let your personality shine through.

Good luck!

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