9 Ways to Calm Your Job Interview Nerves

By Megan Richardson

Updated June 10, 2022 | Published January 3, 2020

Updated June 10, 2022

Published January 3, 2020

Megan Richardson is the Lead Career Advancement Trainer at Goodwill Central Texas. With over 10 years of experience in training, instruction, and career development coaching, Megan currently supports a diverse client base in digital skills training and job search preparation where she emphasizes the use of simple, practical, and accessible tools and techniques to help her clients reach their career goals.

Related: 5 Ways to Calm Your Pre-Interview Nerves & Be Prepared!

Got an interview coming up? Feeling a tad bit nervous? We get it! There's definitely ways to ease your anxiety and feel more confident. In this video, our host Sinead will offer 5 ways for you to calm your interview nerves and be prepared!

You've found a job posting you love, polished your resume, submitted your application and now you've landed the interview. Congratulations! 

However, if you are like many job seekers, this is right around the time that your nervousness about the interview begins to make you dread what is, in reality, an amazing opportunity. While nerves can stem from many reasons, being able to overcome them is crucial to setting a confident and well-collected tone when meeting with potential employers. 

A person wearing glasses looks out a window

In this article, we look at some ways to conquer those nerves before and during the interview.

Why do we get nervous?

Nerves are the body’s natural response to perceived threats, both real and imagined. When the stress response is triggered, the body starts preparing to fight or flee, which can result in physical reactions such as rapid heartbeat or breathing, pale or flushed skin, clamminess and trembling.

These responses are involuntary, and while they are helpful in a dangerous setting, they can lead to those feelings of nervousness when the threat is minimal. Fortunately, there are several practices and techniques you can try to ease your case of the interview nerves.

Related: How to Overcome Fear of Failure

How to calm your nerves before the interview

Here are five tips you can use to help relieve nerves before a job interview:

1. Prepare yourself

One big reason we get nervous before interviews is a fear of the unknown, and while we never know every question we might be asked, preparing for the most common questions will go a long way to reducing nervousness. Before going to the interview, research the company, practice your responses to common interview questions, have a mock interview with a friend and have your resume and notes ready.

Write down any questions you may have, particular points about yourself that you’d like the company to know and any notes you want to mention or remember. Being able to quickly reference your notes during the interview is a great way to refocus when you feel your mind start to freeze.

Learn as much as you can about your interviewer, too. Are they the hiring manager or direct supervisor for this role? Will you be meeting with one person or a panel? Having an idea of what to expect will make you feel more calm and comfortable.

2. Plan your day around the interview

Your day will be more productive if you adhere to your schedule and stick to any plans you may have. Arrange for your job interview to take place in the morning if possible, so you are not stressed and waiting for it all day. 

The night before, make sure you get plenty of sleep so you can be alert. Make a plan to go somewhere fun or exciting after the interview so you will have something pleasant to look forward to.

3. Eat breakfast

Eat a good breakfast before your interview so you have the energy you need. Being hungry can add to your worry and stress. Choose one of your favorite foods to help with your mood.

4. Talk to a family member or friend

Talking to a cheerful friend or family member can greatly boost your confidence level. It’s easier to listen to someone else’s positive words than it is your own, and hearing compliments from a loved one can ease nervousness.

5. Take a walk

Being outdoors is good for your mental health, and exercise releases positive neurochemicals. Try to go for a 15-minute walk before your job interview, or take five minutes to walk around before entering the building to help clear your head.

Read more: 15 Things To Do Before an Interview

How to calm your nerves during the interview

Related: How to Be Confident in an Interview: Best 4-Step Strategy

This video shares 4 powerful tips you can use immediately to be more confident in an interview.

Even when you are well prepared, nerves can still creep in during the job interview. Luckily, there are several things you can do to help relieve nervousness in the moment. Next time you’re nervous at an interview, try these tips:

6. Try the STOP method

The STOP method is a mental technique to help you overcome stressful situations. The steps of this technique are:

  • Stop what you are doing and focus on what you’re thinking.

  • Take a few deep breaths, as many as you need.

  • Observe what is happening inside your body. Observe your emotions, what thoughts are in your mind and why you are feeling these things.

  • Proceed with the intention to incorporate your observations into your following actions.

The purpose of the STOP method is to slow down and be aware of what you’re doing and what you’re feeling at that moment. It allows you to remember that you are in control of your actions and thoughts. 

7. Focus on your breathing and pause before you speak

As often as you can, focus on your breathing. This will help keep your mind from wandering and your emotions from spiraling. Before you speak, pause for a moment and take a breath. Paying attention to your breathing aids in remaining calm, and pausing before speaking gives you more time to put together a thoughtful and composed response.

8. Remember you are having a conversation

Reframing how you think about an interview can help to relieve stress, as well. Remind yourself that a job interview is a conversation, not an interrogation. They are trying to figure out if you would be the best fit for the role, but this is also your chance to determine if the position and the company would be a good fit for you. Having questions at the ready and being curious can help to create a more equal power dynamic and lessen feelings of intimidation.

Related: 30+ Questions to Ask in a Job Interview (With Video Examples)

9. Show confidence in your body language

During your interview, sit or stand with confidence. Your physical stance can affect your mind and have a calming effect. Smiling can also trick your mind into feeling happy, which will allow you to relax a little more.

Related: How to Appear Confident in an Interview

Related: Top 7 Interview Body Language Tips to Show Confidence

In this video, Holl shares 7 key tips and interview strategies at every stage of the process. Make sure to stick around till the end of the video for important advice on signals of dishonesty in the interview process that you should definitely avoid!

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