Five Ways To Overcome Job Interview Nerves

Do you want to overcome job interview nerves and approach interviews with confidence?

You’ve landed the interview, done your research, practised answering potential interview questions and now the big moment has arrived. Here’s five practical ways you can overcome job interview nerves:

1. Visualise

In the days leading up to and right before the job interview, visualise your interview unfolding beautifully. See yourself answering the interview questions eloquently and with confidence. Imagine your interviewer’s smiling faces, their satisfaction with your brilliant responses and generally how well things are going.  It might sound very alternative, but many highly successful executives and elite athletes frequently use and recommend visualisation techniques to achieve goals.

2. Breathe

If you suffer from pre-interview stress and anxiety it’s likely you will benefit from controlled breathing technique to help calm your nerves. You’ve probably heard of the ‘fight-or-flight’ response which happens when we perceive we are in danger. Stress and anxiety responses often result in shallow and/or accelerated breathing, clenched teeth, tightened muscles including those in the chest and throat. Other signs are sweaty palms and increased perspiration.

By adopting a controlled breathing technique you can address the symptoms and normalise your heart rate, relax your muscles and reduce tension. You might find a controlled breathing technique useful. Try breathing deeply for a count of seven and holding it as long as it feels comfortable before breathing out for a count of eleven. Repeat this until you feel your anxiety level drop and you’ve developed a sense of calm or until your interviewer emerges to show you to the interview room!

3. Fake it

One way of helping yourself to feel confident and calm is to use the ‘fake it until you make it’ approach. By this we mean use your body language to portray how you want to feel. If it’s confident and professional you want to feel, adopt confident body language by standing tall, head held high, put on a warm smile and generally take on an air of feeling  calm and in control. The idea is that your external body language will affect how you feel on the inside. You’ll begin to feel a sense of confidence, professionalism and calm.

4. Don’t rush

One of the biggest mistakes we make during job interviews is feeling that we need to launch immediately into a response as soon as a question has been asked. Wrong. It’s much better to listen carefully to the question and take a moment to contemplate and construct an appropriate response.  If this is a particular problem for you, you’re likely to find it a challenge at first as those couple of moments will undoubtedly feel like minutes but with practice it will become second nature.

If you’re unsure of the question that has been asked, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification or for the question to be repeated. I’m often asked if it’s okay to take a notepad and pen in with you to an interview. If this is something that will help you then by all means do so but be careful not to spend the entire interview taking copious notes.

5. Positive self-talk

Remind yourself that you have the necessary skills, strengths and experience to perform the role you are being interviewed for. The interviewers already believe it otherwise they wouldn’t be wasting their time interviewing you! Be clear about what you have to offer in terms of knowledge, skills, experience and attitude, and don’t allow that pesky negative voice take over. You CAN do the job and you ARE the right person for the role.



Registered Career Coach with more than 20 years’ experience helping people plan, manage and find happiness in their careers.

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