Got nerves? Getting ready for your big job interview? A few nerves are always a good thing, but if you feel like they’re getting the better of you, we have 19 tips to help you calm them whether it’s the day before or a few minutes before your big job interview.
Day Before the Interview:
1. Preparation. Review your interview materials, research, and practice your responses to common questions. The more prepared you are, the less anxious you’ll feel.
2. Treat Yourself. Indulge in a piece of dark chocolate that has a natural calming molecule (PEA) or do something fun like solve a puzzle or visit a friend to give your mind an escape.
3. Interview Checklist. Put together your interview checklist of everything you need to bring with you. Makes sure everything is in its proper place and check the list twice (and once more in the morning.)
4. Exercise. Exercise is a great way to reduce the stress and anxiety of your upcoming interview and to boost chemicals in the brain the promote more positive, clear thinking.
5. Sleep. A good night’s rest will do wonders for frazzled nerves. Be sure to get 6-8 hours and no staying out late or partying the night before.
Day of the Interview:
6. Power Dressing. There’s never a better time to dress for success than the interview. When you look good, you feel good and have a more positive outlook.
7. Have a Good Breakfast. Fruit is great. Blueberries are good for boosting your memory. Bananas have natural beta blockers which help with nerves. Oats are a natural tonic for the nerves and help relieve anxiety and stress. Sunflower seeds can provide a mood boosting dose of serotonin. And, don’t forget the protein which promotes stable blood sugar levels.
8. Skip Caffeine & Sugar. These two morning fixes only aid in the anxiety factor. Keep it to a minimum if you must partake.
9. Herbal Therapy. Chewing some peppermint gum or having some non-caffeinated herbal tea like mint, chamomile, or ginseng, among others can help calm you before your big meeting. (But, remember to spit out the gum!
10. Hydrate. Water is cooling and relaxing and one of the best things you can drink when your anxiety is running high. It can also help curb an upset stomach from nerves.
11. Walk it out. Pace, go for a walk, do something slightly active to release any nervous energy. Just don’t do it in plain sight of employees going into the company.
12. Arrive Early. Always arrive early, but if you’re nervous try extra early so you have time to sit and gather your thoughts or take part in another activity to reduce your nerves prior to your interview.
13. Meditation/Breathing. Center yourself before you go into the interview. Try some breathing exercises or meditating to help gain mental clarity and slow your heart rate.
Minutes Before the Interview
14. Fresh Air. Blast the AC in your car or take a few minutes to spend outside. Cool air can be refreshing and relaxing. And sometimes a temperature shift can shock your senses momentarily which will help change your frame of mind.
15. Get Rhythm. Whether it’s humming your favorite tune, tapping your tongue against the roof of your mouth, or listening to a song on the radio you like, you can use your subconscious memory to escape your nerves and stride into the interview to the beat of a new drum (that is with confidence and positivity.)
16. Positive Thinking/Visualization. Speaking of positivity, visualize your success and positive outcomes. Remind yourself of all of your positive attributes and avoid any negative cross thoughts.
17. Play. Take a small toy or puzzle such as a rubix cube, yo-yo, or sudoku and distract yourself using other parts of your brain while you’re still in your car or in a coffee shop across the street from the interview. Having a little fun also has the added benefit of putting you in a good mood.
18. Count. Only have a minute, count backwards from sixty. Focus on the numbers and try imagining each one as a different color as you go. Similarly to meditation (or counting sheep before you sleep) this can have a calming effect and help you to focus.
19. Smile. Start smiling before you even walk into the building. Fake it till you make it as they say. Trust us. Even if you have to force it for a few minutes, your brain and body will start to react and it will come naturally and you will feel more positive and prepared. (Keep it up throughout the interview!)
During the Interview
20. Breathe. This is an important one. Don’t forget to do it! (You’d be surprised, some people get so nervous it’s as if they forgot how to.) Take a moment before difficult questions to take a breath.
21. Eye Contact. Sometimes nerves can have you avoiding the other person in the room, but resist that reaction and make eye contact with your interviewer. That human connection can help snap you back in the moment and put you at ease.
22. Pressure Points. If you still feel some anxiety, discreetly try pressing gently on the middle of your hand (this is one of several pressure points to help relax the mind and ease anxiety) and then release and repeat while breathing all the way into your belly to release tension.
These are just a few techniques that can help you get over job interview nerves so that the interviewer can see all that you have to offer. What are some of your favorite techniques to reducing job interview nerves and letting go of stress and anxiety?
Robin L. Rayburn is the Editor & General Manager of Interviewing.com. Robin was introduced to the recruitment industry in 2007 and her passion for people has never let her stray far from it since. In her spare time she manages her blog, RestlessPillow.com, tweets from @interviewingcom and @chitowntexan, and is always striving to help those around her who have a vision for success. You can also find Robin on LinkedIn and Google+.