Even when you’re totally prepared for an interview and know that you are qualified, it can still be a nerve-racking experience to walk into a room (of potentially more than one person) and be judged for your past performances. Job interviews come with very specific feedback—either you’ll get the gig, or you won’t. No matter what your qualifications may be, how you conduct yourself in an interview can make a big difference when it comes to the impression you leave on your interviewer.
The next time you’re up for a new job and have a big interview coming up, consider some of these tips to help settle your racing mind.
How to Calm Your Nerves Before a Job Interview
Prepare for everything…even the worst.
It goes without saying that one of the best ways to ace an interview is to prepare as much as possible beforehand. This includes everything from researching the company and the person who will be interviewing you to memorizing your best accolades and practicing in front of a mirror. What you might not have considered is the importance of also preparing for the worst.
According to The Muse, it’s helpful to consider your biggest fear, and then try to come up with an answer for it. Proactive thinking—like coming prepared with floss for that errant piece of spinach you notice in your teeth right before you walk into the building—will help you rest assured that no matter what happens during the interview, you can handle it with aplomb.
Take the guesswork out.
We often spend a lot of unnecessary time and energy on the small details involved in a job interview—like what we should wear, and the best route to get there. Instead, a Forbes piece suggests eliminating the unknown by taking some solid steps to move past them. For example, if you are worried about traffic the day of your interview, try taking multiple routes to your destination in the days before the meeting to see which one works best. Not sure what to wear? Just call up the human resources department and ask.
Don’t be afraid to address the elephant in the room.
No one expects you to show up to a job interview completely unnerved—you’re not a robot, after all. Instead, a Fast Companypiece recommends addressing your job interview nerves (jokingly is best) and using them as another way to bond with your interviewer.
Use LinkedIn to your advantage.
A few years back I had a big interview coming up at a website that would be mean switching gears and taking on a whole lot more responsibility. Needless to say, I was nervous. I found that the simple act of looking people up on LinkedIn—even just to connect a face to a name—made a big difference.
Finding out more about where people worked before and what their hobbies are all provide more ways to connect, and you just might get lucky and discover that you have contacts in common, which means you can learn even more before the big day.
Know your weaknesses.
If you’re craving that big cup of coffee the morning of your interview but just know that it’ll likely give you the jitters, do your best to skip it. If you know that taking some time to workout before the big meet-up will help you de-stress but you don’t want to take time away from your research and studying, grab your computer or phone and prop it up on the treadmill while you walk.
Whatever you can do to keep your routine as simple and normal as possible—including all the things you normally do before heading into a stressful situation—go ahead and do it. That includes skipping the exotic lunch before your 2 p.m. interview, too, unfortunately.
Include something fun in your planning.
For all the stress you’ll put yourself through when it comes to interviewing, I love the suggestion from The Muse to plan something fun for afterwards. Not only will it give you something to look forward to, but it just might help you distress during the actual interview, knowing that not only have you done your best to prepare, but that you’ll be rewarded afterwards with something you’ll very much enjoy.
Interviews are almost always stressful, so acknowledging that fact and finding a way to work with that stress will help you move past it. Best of luck as you seek to enter into your job interviews with a cool and calm demeanor!