How To Calm Nerves Before An Interview: 12 Tips

Learn how to not be nervous for an interview.

Last Updated: July 2024

Preparing for an interview can be nerve-wracking, but learning how to calm nerves before an interview is crucial. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a first-time job seeker, knowing how to not be nervous for an interview can significantly impact your performance.

According to a survey by employment screening company JDP, 93% of respondents confessed to feeling anxious before an interview, highlighting the common challenge many face in managing pre-interview nerves. If you’re wondering how to calm your nerves before an interview, you’re not alone.

In this article, we’ll explore 12 effective tips to help ease those pre-interview jitters and present your best self to potential employers.

93% of respondents confessed to feeling anxious before an interview, highlighting the common challenge many face in managing pre-interview nerves. If you're wondering how to calm nerves before an interview, you're not alone.

1) Go For A Walk

Taking a breather outdoors can really work wonders for you. So, if you’ve got a phone interview lined up, why not step outside for a quick stroll around the block? Or, if you’re up for it, go for a jog to get those feel-good endorphins flowing. And if it’s an in-person interview, give yourself a solid five minutes to take a walk and clear your head before you step through those doors. Trust me, a bit of fresh air can do wonders for your mindset.

2) Practice The S.T.O.P Method

Chris Charyk, an executive coach, promotes a practical and powerful mental approach for handling difficult situations:

  • Stop your activities and focus on your thoughts.
  • Take multiple deep breaths.
  • Observe your physical sensations, emotions, and thoughts, and assess their origins.
  • Proceed with the aim of incorporating your insights into your actions.

This method highlights the significance of intentional behavior and mindfulness, empowering individuals to manage and alleviate fears, uncertainties, and anxieties, particularly in stressful situations.

3) Prepare For The Worst

Regardless of the source of your anxiety, there are effective strategies to confront it directly. Consider a scenario where you’re concerned about lettuce getting stuck in your teeth during a crucial interview. A practical solution is to keep a small mirror and some floss in your bag, along with other essential items for interviews.

We’ve all faced situations where we’re stumped by a difficult question. Instead of succumbing to panic, why not take a proactive approach? Invest time in learning how to navigate those moments of uncertainty. Preparedness is key. Even if things don’t unfold as anticipated, you can remain composed, knowing you’re equipped to handle it.

4) Make An Interview Cheat Sheet

Preparation is key, no doubt about it. When you’re getting ready, it’s all about having everything in order to ease your mind. Start by jotting down important stuff on your phone: where the interview is, who you’re meeting, what time, the main points you want to cover, any questions you have, and whatever else comes to mind. Keep that note handy, so when you’re about to go in, you can quickly glance over it and feel totally on top of things.

5) Plan Something For Afterwards

You may not relish the prospect of enduring two hours of nervous sweating in front of a total stranger. But consider this: What would justify it for you?

Perhaps it’s as basic as relishing a delicious meal afterward or indulging in a soothing massage. Alternatively, it could involve spending quality time with your furry friend while binge-watching your favorite Netflix series.

Ensure whatever it may be, it’s prepared and available once you’re finished. This ensures you have a positive focal point to anticipate, diverting attention away from any apprehension about the circumstances.

6) Eat A Good Breakfast (or Lunch)

A good interview usually starts with a decent meal. You might go for something healthy with lots of those energy-boosting antioxidants, or maybe you’ll just want to enjoy your favorite comfort foods.

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer here; it’s all about what suits you best. But whatever you choose, make sure it’s filling enough because no one can focus on giving good interview answers when their stomach is growling.

7) Boost Your Morale WIth Positive Self-Talk

Engaging in self-talk isn’t unusual; in fact, it’s a beneficial practice. Research demonstrates its effectiveness in boosting motivation and morale. Take the opportunity to affirm your capabilities, intelligence, and readiness for challenges. Vocalizing these affirmations, particularly in a serene environment, enhances their impact and bolsters self-assurance.

8) Reach Out To An (Inspiring) Friend

Reach out to an inspiring friend or family member when you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed. Personally, I often turn to my mom for a pep talk before facing daunting challenges. Seeking encouragement is perfectly normal, regardless of age. Don’t hesitate to connect with someone who can provide the uplifting support you need to boost your spirits.

9) Listen To Music

Check out some music, or maybe find something else that gets you going, like a podcast or a motivational speech from someone you admire. It’ll help shift your focus from negative thoughts to feeling energized and excited.

10) Smile

Smiling can significantly enhance your confidence, even if it’s forced. It’s worth trying, as there’s no negative impact. Furthermore, maintaining this habit might positively influence the hiring manager’s perception of you.

11) Use Your Stress As Adrenaline

When you’re nervous, adrenaline tends to kick in. Research suggests that embracing that pumped-up feeling rather than trying to calm down, like saying “I’m excited” instead of “I’m calm,” leads to better outcomes when speaking in public.

So, if you’re feeling shaky and your heart’s racing, that’s alright. Embrace it. According to Mark Slack, a writer, if you think of your nervous energy as excitement instead, you can still be amped up but in a way that boosts your performance rather than holding you back.

12) Remember It’s Just A Conversation

Just keep in mind, you’re not about to skydive or wrestle a shark here. It’s just you, maybe a couple of others, having a chat about your career. To sum it up: “You’re eager to work for them, and they’re equally hoping you’re the right fit.”

So, don’t sweat it all on your own. Understand that it’s not just them interviewing you—you’ve got your own questions, and they’re likely feeling the pressure to make a good impression too.

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In summary, understanding how to calm nerves before an interview is crucial for achieving success. By implementing the 12 strategies outlined herein, candidates can effectively manage pre-interview jitters and exude confidence. Preparation, mindfulness exercises, and positive self-talk serve as potent tools to ease nervousness and showcase skills during the interview process.

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