Even the most seasoned professionals get nervous before an interview, and for good reason. Let’s face it: it is completely unnatural to try and sell yourself in the space of thirty to sixty minutes, recalling all of your achievements and successes, speaking slowly yet confidently, remembering specific examples, all while trying to seem “relaxed”. With this in mind, our team has compiled a list of six tips to help you stay calm ahead of your next interview.
Everyone gets nervous
While it’s tempting to be frustrated with yourself for being anxious, it’s important to remember that it is natural and even okay to be nervous. Your job is to not let that nervousness and anxiety get the best of you. Accept and embrace the nerves, and remember that great rewards come to those who step outside of their comfort zones.
Overprepare (but don’t be a robot)
It’s a simple fact: the more prepared you are, the less nervous you will be. While there are plenty of tips and tricks on the best ways to prepare (such as The secret to successfully preparing for your job interview), the trick is to make sure you give yourself enough time by not cramming hours worth of preparation into the ten minutes before an interview.
However, a word of caution: do not try and overprepare by memorizing whole sentences worth of information or a script. Not only will you get thrown off track if you forget a single word, you will come away sounding overly rehearsed and mechanical.
Create a mind map
In order to clarify your thoughts pre-interview, try creating a mind map of your main speaking points. Create four to five main bubbles, each with two or three sub-bubbles that will summarize the key points you want to incorporate during your interview. Main bubbles might include: “Why Me?”, “Relevant Skills”, “or Demonstrated Examples”. Try to limit the sub-bubbles coming off each main bubble to a few words or short phrases that remind you of specifics topics you want to bring up. Having clear, concise ideas written out on paper will help ease anxious feelings around the fear of forgetting something.
Plan the evening before
In order to minimize stress on the day of an interview, make a plan the night before. What do you need to make the experience successful? Pick out your outfit; take your notes or a photo of them; Know the route from your home or office to interview location.
Visualize the interview
To employ this technique, walk through each step of the interview: How will you introduce yourself? What will you look like when you are speaking? How will the interview conclude? What’s the worst thing that can happen? By visualizing your success (and preparing for any worse case scenarios), you gain control of the interview, coming off as more confident and improving the interview experience.
Get there early
If you have an in-person interview, arrive to the location early. Arriving early will not only help you avoid any train delay surprises or a hard to find building, you will feel more relaxed by not being rushed. Added bonus: use any free time while you’re waiting to have a quick look at your notes to refresh your memory.