Do you find yourself getting nervous before a job interview or a major meeting? Don’t worry, you are not alone. Today I want to share with you some practical tips that can help you calm those nerves & inner voices so that you can think clearly, answer questions well and present yourself to the best of your ability.
Nerves are part of the body’s defense system and they start to work when it can sense that you are about to enter or have entered a stressful situation. It can be in the form of sweaty hands or body, a high heart rate, inability to focus properly or hear, lack of appetite and the need to go to the bathroom (a lot!) – which is all due to the body creating cortisol – none of which are good to experience during an interview when you want to look your best. From my experience, the main causes of stress prior to an interview can be summed by these points:
- You REALLY NEED the job – because of financial or family reasons
- You REALLY WANT the job – because it is something that you are passionate about or it is related to your dreams and aspirations
- Not being PREPARED
- SELF DOUBT about your own abilities and performing well in interviews
Here are some of the tips that I tell people when I counsel them on Interview Skills Techniques:
- Eat: Sometimes it is hard to eat before an interview, sort of like before playing an important sports game – but even having a banana can help fuel your body and brain so that you can perform your best
- Be at least 15 mins early:. Then you won’t have to stress about being there late & already starting the interview on the defensive. If you have never been there before maybe try a test run getting there or take the earlier commuting option to double ensure your promptness. One note here: even if you arrive more than 15 mins before the interview, don’t enter the building or business prior to 15 mins. Sit outside and try to relax and breathe!
- Wear your superhero outfit – I know this sounds funny, but when I go to important meetings I always wear a suit and my favourite cuff links because they make me feel like I am wearing a bullet proof vest or superhero outfit that will protect me.
- Prepare before hand: The more you prepare the less they can throw at you in the interview that will unnerve you. Practise how you will answer specific questions like: tell me about yourself, what are your strengths and weaknesses (insert link), what do you know about the firm and the role. Best thing is to practise this with friends and family (they are usually brutally honest and yet they want the best for you).
- You have the power: The most common misconception of going for an interview is that all the power resides with the interviewers and their company because they are the ones doing the hiring. WRONG. You also have the power – the power to decide if you want to work for them.
- Detach yourself: This doesn’t mean speak in the 3rd person but simply consider that you are representing a product that you are selling to the employer – your skills, experience, education and personality. This will help you to talk more positively and openly.
- What’s the worst that can happen? If you go in there thinking that you can only do your best then you will put yourself in a better disposition to start with. Sometimes, not getting the role can be the best thing – whilst the job may have sounded good, it turns out they have a bad culture which you would have hated!
Most of the techniques I have mentioned above require more thought application prior to the interview and even practise. Give it a go and I am sure that you will see the results. Good luck