Interviewing is one of the most anxiety-producing experiences out there. Not only are you in an unfamiliar environment, the stakes are high—but you must remain calm, confident, and eloquent the entire time.
We don’t blame you for getting stressed. Fortunately, there are relatively simple steps you can take to make yourself feel more comfortable (and increase your odds of a successful interview!).
The more prepared you are, the less nervous you’ll feel. Before every interview, come up with a list of things you want to communicate. That might include a few specific skills, a previous role that’s similar to the one you’re applying for, three questions you have, and so on.
Then, practice various ways of saying that information. Maybe you want the hiring managers to know you’re a capable leader, even though you’ve never had a formal management role. If they ask, “What’s one of your strengths?”, you could respond with an explanation of your leadership skills. Or if they want to hear about a time you successfully faced adversity at work, you could relate the project you led and how your team members were able to finish on time and within budget despite having the project’s scope doubled.
Meditation is a fantastic and easy way to calm your nerves before the interview. Better yet, you can do it immediately beforehand in your parked car, Uber or taxi, the restroom, or even the office lobby (provided you don’t close your eyes). We recommend a simple three-minute breathing exercise, which will soothe your nerves and help you focus.
To make the time even more calming, try visualizing somewhere that makes you feel at peace—like your favorite childhood place or a location from a recent trip.
3. Use a mantra
Mantras may sound a little too zen retreat for you, but they’re actually quite practical. Pick a short affirmative sentence that will motivate or relax you.
For example, here’s a famous Julie Andrews quote that serves well as a mantra:
“Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th.”
Repeating this to yourself will give you a nice dose of perspective and help you put your best foot forward during the interview.
You can also come up with a personal mantra, such as: “I got through (X difficult experience) and survived, so I can definitely handle this lesser challenge.”
4. Take a walk
If you can, exercise prior to the interview. Maintain your typical workout routine—meaning someone who always runs at 8 a.m. should do the same the morning of her interview.
I’d also suggest going for a walk sometime in the hour before the interview. Walking is incredibly calming; not only does it give you an outlet for your physical energy, it allows you to think about other topics for a bit. For an added boost of calm, listen to your favorite playlist or movie soundtrack (I like any of the Harry Potter ones).
With these four techniques up your sleeve, going into an interview will be a little less nerve-wracking.