Most people are nervous before a job interview. And that’s normal. A job interview is nothing less than an oral exam. In most cases, it is very important because the outcome could change a person’s future, milieu, income, and so on. But when large groups of people are asked whether they feel nervous before an interview or during it, the vast majority say they feel nervous before the interview. Why? The reason is that we focus on ourselves, and what makes us nervous is that (1) we listen to the little voices in our head that are doubting our abilities, performance, education, and capabilities and (2) we’re facing the unknown. Why is it that during an interview, people are not nervous—or are, at least, less nervous? The reason is that they’re so focused on the interview itself that everything else pales.
So, how to overcome nervousness? Unfortunately, no one answer works equally well for everybody. But here are a few thoughts for consideration.
- Most definitely a good night’s sleep would help. Trying to cram in all the information the night before while sacrificing a good eight hours of sleep is not ideal.
- A checklist for the details that need to be taken care of in preparation for the interview relieves having to remember everything. For example, personal grooming, proper clothing, clear directions or a map, extra copies of the résumé, gas in the car if driving, and so much more.
- By visualizing yourself in the interview, you can walk yourself through the process right in your mind. Feel confident and in control. See yourself relaxed and smiling yet focused.
- Spending some time the day before the interview with positive people is a good idea. It will build up your confidence and help you believe more in yourself. Don’t let any negativity into your life. For instance, don’t watch TV news, and skip the front page of the newspaper—at least for the 24 hours before the interview.
- Physical exercise and/or relaxation exercise generates endorphins in the brain. It will make you feel happy and relaxed.
- Role-play and mock interviewing with a career coach who can prepare you for the interview is the best idea of all. As second best, do them with a friend or family member even though a friend or family member probably doesn’t have the right answers and know-how. Plus, there’s the danger that they could instill in you false confidence.
- Making sure to eat, say, one hour before the interview is important. Don’t attempt to go to an interview on an empty stomach. Have a cup of coffee or tea before the interview. Best to avoid sweets, however.
- Of course, you will be well prepared about the company and its problems; and you’ll have several examples to recite regarding various success stories of yours that are relevant to the company’s problems.
- Last, you must look your very best. Looks and image are memorable, and the details of your answers to questions—well, maybe?
Interviewing is not easy, but with the right knowledge about how to prepare, one can build up sufficient self-confidence with which to overcome at least some of the typical nervousness.
by Alex Freund