Almost everyone feels nervous before and during a job interview. But for some, anxiety and nerves can cause a great job candidate to feel ill-prepared and adversely affect their success in the interview.
What makes job candidates so nervous? In a high stakes situation, the brain doesn’t distinguish between situations where it would help to be calm and collected (such as in a job interview) from being under threat from attack (say, from a tiger), said Dr. Tamar Chansky, author of “Freeing Yourself from Anxiety,” in a Forbes article.
If you struggle with feeling nervous during job interviews and want to make a better impression, follow the tips below to ease job interview jitters, applicable for phone or in-person interviews.
Arrange a morning interview. If you have the option, try to schedule all your interviews in the morning, so you won’t dwell on it all day, said UK-based career advice center Target Jobs.
Watch your night-before activities. Avoid alcohol the night before an interview, as it can keep you from having a good night’s sleep and make your heart race well into the next day. Have a quiet evening doing everything that relaxes you, including taking a bath, watching your favorite (light-hearted) movie or reading.
Overprepare. Lack of preparation is a common reason we feel nervous, so research typical questions for your particular job online, ask the hiring manager or recruiter if there’s anything specific you need to prepare for, have the recruiter prep you for common questions asked and research the company itself.
Sit up straight, “as if a string were tied form the top of your head to the ceiling,” advises Cynthia Burnham, an executive presence and speaking coach, in a Forbes article on body language. Even if you're interviewing by phone, stand or sit up straight. Instead of leaning back, which can indicate boredom and strain your voice, or forward, which can make your answers sound more aggressive, sitting up straight is sign of confidence, which you can feel as you’re interviewing.
Be yourself. It’s tough trying to be someone else, when you’re already so good at being yourself. In other words, cut yourself some slack, and tell yourself in advance that it’s okay if you don’t answer every question perfectly. Just giving yourself some room to be imperfect may be enough to calm your jitters, make you present yourself more naturally and boost your confidence. Good luck!