Interviewing - Getting That Job

by Jane Tredgett

Handling nerves

Being nervous at interview is perfectly understandable and most people experience a few jitters. In fact, many interviewers might be concerned if they didn’t see any signs of nerves in a candidate. However, there is a big difference between having a few nerves and coming over as an emotional wreck.

Here are a few tips on handling nerves:

  • Be well prepared
  • Arrive in plenty of time
  • Keep items to carry to a minimum – nerves may make it difficult to juggle handbags, umbrellas, briefcases and so on when the interviewer reaches out to shake your hand...
  • Take some deep breaths. This is by far the quickest and easiest way to calm nerves. The trick is remembering to do it
  • Wear comfortable, familiar shoes (but make sure they are smart – you’d be amazed how many people notice shoes...)
  • Visualise positive outcomes – we often make ourselves worse by visualising all the things that can wrong and so we see ourselves tripping up, going red, stuttering and so on, and end up working ourselves up into a high level of anxiety. Instead, visualise the interview going well with you remaining calm and assertive
  • Find a song that makes you feel strong, positive and confident. Mine is ‘Eye of the Tiger’ (yes, really!), but this will be very personal. Play the song in your car before you arrive and in your head when waiting at reception (best to make sure you don’t sing it aloud though – unless the position you are applying for requires a good singing voice...)

Best of all...

And my favourite tip of all for handling those undermining nerves is this – the fake it until you make it technique.

Act as if you feel confident – keep a straight posture, look alert and interested, don’t fidget and make good eye contact. In other words, make yourself do all the things a confident person would do. You will then get positive body language signals back from the interviewer, which will boost your confidence and you’ll find you no longer need to fake it! On the other hand, if you look terrified the interviewer is likely to send out unconscious signals of pity and this may make you feel worse!