How to overcome being nervous in an interview.
Many of my candidates have said “Tracey the interview was going just great then I had That moment when I thought ‘Oh
You are in the middle
of the interview (it could be 15 minutes or it could be 2 hours in to the
interview) but all of a sudden something was asked or said by your interviewer
and you feel the panic set in.
Its ok relax, you aren’t the first
person this has happened to and you won’t be the last. But if you follow my
advice & guidance we are going to breeze through this interview. Here we
go! Remember, I lead, you follow and we will make it to the finish line, ok?
Great, let’s begin.
Why are you Nervous?
First let me explain what is happening to you at that crucial
moment. When in an interview, we perceive that we are in
a high stakes situation, the brain doesn’t distinguish the high stakes of a job
interview–where it would help to be
calm, cool and collected– from the high stakes of being in a car
accident. We tend to respond the same way–the fight or flight initiative
takes over. We experience inconvenient and uncomfortable reactions which
would make complete sense if we really were in a car accident.
Nervousness prior to a job interview is caused
mostly by the fact that there’s so much at stake. Getting a job, especially one
you really want, can certainly impact your self-worth and general
happiness. Also, feeling rushed when getting to the site after getting lost,
not finding parking easily, or not allowing enough time to arrive, can all
We should also keep in mind that this is the
first time that the interviewer has met you and they will be making some
initial judgments or first impressions. You want them to be good, of course,
which makes you nervous.
It happens (but
it never should happen!!!). The more time you spend preparing, the more
confident you’ll be. Those who have done their research and can articulate how
their skills and qualifications align with the position will be prepared, even
when they’re asked the tough questions.
Here are some of the negative
- This kind of anxiety can make it difficult to
think. Your focus is on hiding your anxiety so your attention is divided.
- Candidates can be in one of two mindsets when
they’re nervous. Some will rush their thoughts and
move faster because they feel as though they need to jump right into an answer without thinking it through.
Others, their thoughts go completely
blank and they can’t think of an answer at all. The infamous drawing
of a blank. What makes it worse is that you know you’re not
showcasing yourself to the best of your ability.
- You might also not come off as a confident applicant for the position.
Because your mind isn’t focused on
the mission at hand. We all know that employers want to hire the best
and the brightest. That being said they want a candidate that knows themselves,
reflects on their experiences and is able to articulate how they’ve developed
their skills and abilities the employer seeks.
Now that we have addressed the Cause & Effects of your
Nervousness, How do we conquer it? ( See my tips below! )
10 Tips to conquer Nervousness
I have given out these
tips to my candidates over the years. They are tried and true. You want that
job, then you want to absorb as much as possible from my advice.
1. Be prepared.
Do your research. Research the organization, their products, what
they do, and who their competitors are. Most importantly, research the folks who will
be interviewing you. View their LinkedIn profile(s) and learn about their role(s)
within the company. Write down the questions you have for the interviewer.
answers ( Aloud ) to anticipated questions. Employers want to know that you’re
a good fit for not only the position, but also the organization.
an interview is like going to an exam to be successful one needs to study.
You shouldn’t go to an interview without having done your homework.
Being prepared also includes doing what you can ahead of time. The
fewer details you have to worry about the day of the interview, the better.
until the last minute to:
- Print out copies of your resume.
- Ready your interviewing clothes.
- Map your travel route.
- Deal with
get you frazzled faster than being late or not coming to the interview prepared
and looking spectacular. Oh, and GET
A GOOD NIGHTS SLEEP!!!!!!
Think about likely questions you will be asked. Make a mental
checklist of outline points you want to make and think about the message you
want to convey.
“Practice makes prepared.”
–Tracey Greene, (Every time I am on the
phone with a candidate 2005-Present)
I suggest conducting a practice interview. Like with
anything, the more we practice, the more skilled we become. Have your practice interview in front of a
mirror. Aspects to keep an eye out for:
- Voice trembling.
- Poor Posture,
- Awkward Facial Expressions
- Evasive Eye Contact.
4. Arrive Early & Relax.
There is nothing wrong with
arriving 15 minutes (or earlier to the interview). Allow yourself plenty of time to sit
in your car, gather your thoughts, breath, center yourself, check in with the
front desk/security, etc.
daughter arrived on her first day of college, her mentor gave her this mantra:
To be early is
to be on time,
To be on time
is to be late,
To be late is
5. Think of the interview as a Conversation.
While it may be difficult to do, don’t think of it as a job
interview. Think of it as a conversation between two people who are trying to
get to know one another and to see if they will be compatible working together.
Also, keep in mind that the hiring manager may be nervous or distracted with
pressing issues that are work related, so if you walk in with a smile, you
can put them at ease which will help put you at ease. You are not talking to
your friend from school, but you are talking to someone that is searching for
help. Keep that in mind. No one gets up in the morning and jumps out of bed
because they are so excited to grill and torture potential job applicants at
the office. They want someone to come in and take the job as quickly as you
want to have the job offered to you.
6. Think Positively & Be Confident.
Prior to the interview, visualize yourself answering the questions
clearly, succinctly, and impressing them with your knowledge of the position &
Do You Have;
- Shaky Hands? Then fold them & place them in
- Trembling Voice? Then take several deep,
Remember: You were asked to come in to
the interview for a reason. Someone at that company liked your resume and felt
that you may be a great fit. Remind yourself of your skills, accomplishments,
and why you are the best person for the job. If you walk into an interview
feeling confident, then the hiring manager will overlook any nervousness you
7. Think FRIEND, not foe.
Learn what you can about the person interviewing you—and make them
into a human being rather than being a rejection machine. You’ll be able to
relax more and be yourself when you remember that they need you; they want to
learn about you to see if you’re right for the job. Like I stated before “No one gets up in the morning and jumps
out of bed because they are so excited to grill and torture potential job
applicants at the office. They want someone to come in and take the job as
quickly as you want to have the job offered to you.”
Focus on your Strengths & Purpose.
Anxiety has a way of making the best of us feel like unqualified
losers. Remember to ask yourself, if you were to get the job, what are the
reasons why? Nothing burns through panic like purpose.
Think, “What do
I want to convey about myself?”, rather than second-guessing what the interviewer
is thinking. Remember, one can’t be on stage and in the audience at the same
time. You do your job, and the interviewer will do theirs.
Breathe and take your time.
When we’re stressed or anxious we tend to take quick and shallow
breathes. A deep inhale followed by an equal exhale brings more oxygen
into the blood, which is a natural relaxant. When we’re relaxed we can
think more clearly.
You’ll want to take your time. Hey we all have been caught
off guard by a question we didn’t expect at some point in life. Remember you don’t
have to jump right in with an answer to a question every time. This is an
interview, not a race. So take your
time to formulate your thoughts, which will allow you to provide a well thought
out answer that’s more likely to impress the interviewer.
10. Accept the fact that mistakes
I have had a ton of candidates make an error at some point in the
interview. Want to know the difference in the candidates that ended up
getting an offer and the ones that did not? It was how well they recovered after the error! Don’t focus on the error. That
is just going to distract you more. Focus on the next question, it is your
opportunity to make up for the previous error. You have to stay in the room
until the interview is over anyway, so why not keep taking swings at the plate
(It’s a baseball metaphor (look it up))
Hope this helps you as much as it has helped my candidates!!!!!
Director of Executive Management & Technology Divisions