Interview nerves are going to happen – they go with the territory. They are not a sign of weakness, or that you do not know enough about the subject matter (necessarily!). They are a symptom of your body responding to the situation you are in. Nerves help us to focus our minds and actions on the urgent problem ahead and consequently, because of them, we are probably reacting at our very best (though we sometimes feel as if we are drowning!).
However, when those nerves get out of control they can be detrimental to how we put ourselves over. Instead of putting us ahead of the game they can prevent us from functioning. So how can you make sure that interview nerves do not destroy your chances of that dream job?
1. Temper the Desperation
If you are over -nervous you can appear anxious to please. This may well be the job of your dreams, but there is a difference between appearing enthusiastic and desperate. If you are not careful your nerves will focus on the “fear of losing” rather than “offering substantial answers”. If you are truly enthusiastic about gaining a position it will come over positively in the way you present, in the way you speak and in the knowledge, you convey. Desperation is a thin veil for why you should be the right person for the post. Also, the more desperate you appear, the less likely you will be able to negotiate terms if you are offered the position.
2. Check Out the Environment
The unfamiliar always causes concern – especially if the place where the interview is taking place is nothing like you imagined. Where you can, find out as much as you can about the structure of the interview (is it a panel or one person? who will be taking the interviews?). Visit where the interview is taking place, so it is not a shock on the day.
3. Plan Before Hand
Sort out the practicalities in your mind well before the day. This includes what you will be wearing; how you will get to the venue; the logistics of the journey; what you need to take with you; preparation for the questions at the end; where you will park; a contact number if there is a problem.
4. Do Your Research
If you are sure you have researched every nook and cranny you will necessarily feel more confident and less nervous. So start early and do the work – otherwise you have every right to feel nervous.
5. Put Things in Perspective
Part of the fear of interviews is down to being afraid of the people who are asking the questions. Almost as if they have more knowledge than you, are more experienced than you and they want to catch you out. This is rarely true. At the end of the day, they are likely to be employees of the company who, just like you, hate the sound of the alarm clock, love their families, scramble through bad traffic and get things wrong sometimes. They want to see you succeed. Interviews cost time and money – they are on your side.
6. Get There Early
The journey to the interview is likely to cause stress. So give yourself time to sit down and relax in the waiting room. This will be a time when you can gather your thoughts, perhaps use a few relaxation techniques (see below) and brush up on those important questions.
7. Relaxation Techniques Before You Go In
After just going through the stress of and worry of making the right place at the right time you are now standing on the edge of a cliff. Now is the time to spend some time to use quick and simple relaxation techniques to bring you down and get you focussed. There are many different techniques you can use and often it is a matter of individual choice as to what is most effective for you. It could include breathing exercises or mental imagery techniques. See this link for quick techniques
8. Consider the Worst Scenario
By looking at the worst scenario you can have ready-made solutions at your finger-tips. For instance, if you are late because of problems out of your control, how will you deal with this? Having this knowledge in your mind as you hurtle towards the venue, can reduce stress. Ultimately the worst scenario is you will not get the job. If you see it simply as a learning exercise it is a win-win situation and hence lessens anxiety.
9. Rehearse Those Difficult Questions
You have hopefully done a lot of revision, but questions in an interview environment can put those facts you have learnt in a completely different context and send your blood pressure through the ceiling. Rehearse the actual interview with a friend or colleague after considering what are likely to be possible questions.
10. Slow Down!
When you are stressed or anxious, you tend to rush. Blurt out the first answer which comes into your head or ramble without any real focus on the question you were asked. This isn’t a race. The interviewers understand you are under pressure so use the aids at hand. For instance, if water is supplied, take a sip to give yourself time to think. Wait five seconds before answering. Be honest: Just say “Can I think about that a second?”. Asking the interviewer to repeat the question or explain what he/she means can give you valuable time and help you focus on the exact answer needed.
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