• Most of us get nervous before a job interview, even when we’ve got a few years under our belts. But when those nerves stop you from showing off your true ability, it can become a problem. Management Today went in search of a few pointers to drive away those butterflies and bag the job you deserve.

    Most of us get nervous before a job interview, even when we’ve got a few years under our belts. But when those nerves stop you from showing off your true ability, it can become a problem. Management Today went in search of a few pointers to drive away those butterflies and bag the job you deserve.

  • 1. BE PREPARED:  ‘Confidence is key and the key to confidence is knowledge,’ says Holly Andrews, MD of KIS Finance. If you expect some competency-based questions ('describe an obstacle you’ve overcome, a time you’ve worked in a team' etc.) then you ought to have some canned responses prepared.

    1. BE PREPARED: ‘Confidence is key and the key to confidence is knowledge,’ says Holly Andrews, MD of KIS Finance. If you expect some competency-based questions ('describe an obstacle you’ve overcome, a time you’ve worked in a team' etc.) then you ought to have some canned responses prepared.

  • 2. ...BUT NOT TOO PREPARED:  ‘Trying to rehearse every single situation is only going to stress you out, and chances are you’ll place far too much on your plate to remember anyway,’ says Lee Biggins, MD and founder of CV-Library. Instead of thinking of the interview as a Q&A session, approach it as a two-way dialogue. This will help you keep calm and present yourself in the best possible light.’

    2. ...BUT NOT TOO PREPARED: ‘Trying to rehearse every single situation is only going to stress you out, and chances are you’ll place far too much on your plate to remember anyway,’ says Lee Biggins, MD and founder of CV-Library. Instead of thinking of the interview as a Q&A session, approach it as a two-way dialogue. This will help you keep calm and present yourself in the best possible light.’

  • 3. KNOW YOUR WEAKNESSES:  This question is always a toughie. Be too honest and you risk falling short of what the interview requires, be too rehearsed and you sound fake. The key is to answer not what you’re bad at, but what how you’ve worked on becoming better at what you struggle with.

    3. KNOW YOUR WEAKNESSES: This question is always a toughie. Be too honest and you risk falling short of what the interview requires, be too rehearsed and you sound fake. The key is to answer not what you’re bad at, but what how you’ve worked on becoming better at what you struggle with.

  • 4. REMEMBER THAT NERVES ARE NORMAL:  'It’s important to remember that it’s natural to feel anxious about a job interview,' says Matt Humphries, MD of Babel PR. 'Many people think they shouldn’t be nervous and this can only add to the pre-interview jitters. By recognising that this isn’t a weakness, but something we all experience from time to time, candidates can focus on the task at hand.'

    4. REMEMBER THAT NERVES ARE NORMAL: 'It’s important to remember that it’s natural to feel anxious about a job interview,' says Matt Humphries, MD of Babel PR. 'Many people think they shouldn’t be nervous and this can only add to the pre-interview jitters. By recognising that this isn’t a weakness, but something we all experience from time to time, candidates can focus on the task at hand.'

  • 5. THINK ABOUT WHY YOU’RE PERFECT FOR THE JOB:  Self-doubt can be crippling. But you wouldn’t have applied for the role if you didn’t think you could do it, and you wouldn’t have been offered an interview if the employer didn’t like the look of you. ‘Recall previous scenarios where you went above and beyond, solved a problem, and just generally some of things you are proud of,’ says Andrews.

    5. THINK ABOUT WHY YOU’RE PERFECT FOR THE JOB: Self-doubt can be crippling. But you wouldn’t have applied for the role if you didn’t think you could do it, and you wouldn’t have been offered an interview if the employer didn’t like the look of you. ‘Recall previous scenarios where you went above and beyond, solved a problem, and just generally some of things you are proud of,’ says Andrews.

  • 6. KEEP UP APPEARANCES :  Dressing well represents so much more than fashion sense. True, some places might have a more relaxed dress code, but it's easier to explain being overdressed than too casual.

    6. KEEP UP APPEARANCES : Dressing well represents so much more than fashion sense. True, some places might have a more relaxed dress code, but it's easier to explain being overdressed than too casual.

  • 7. SLEEP:  Of course you know you need a good night’s sleep to function properly, and if you’re feeling really nervous then it’s even harder to get some shut-eye. But even if you’re struggling to drift off, you’re better off persevering (try counting sheep?) than getting up and cramming questions.

    7. SLEEP: Of course you know you need a good night’s sleep to function properly, and if you’re feeling really nervous then it’s even harder to get some shut-eye. But even if you’re struggling to drift off, you’re better off persevering (try counting sheep?) than getting up and cramming questions.

  • 8. AVOID COFFEE:  If you are feeling super tired the next day, resist the urge to sink a few double espressos. ‘Your nerves will cause your adrenaline to start racing,’ says Emma May, head of employment at Work Avenue. ‘Caffeine will simply cause you to ramp up further and make you feel even more nervous.’

    8. AVOID COFFEE: If you are feeling super tired the next day, resist the urge to sink a few double espressos. ‘Your nerves will cause your adrenaline to start racing,’ says Emma May, head of employment at Work Avenue. ‘Caffeine will simply cause you to ramp up further and make you feel even more nervous.’

  • 9. ARRIVE EARLY:  ‘There’s nothing worse than sprinting in at the very last minute out of breath and sweating furiously,’ adds May. ‘If needs be, visit the interview venue the day before so you don’t get lost looking for it. This will mean you remain calm and poised.’

    9. ARRIVE EARLY: ‘There’s nothing worse than sprinting in at the very last minute out of breath and sweating furiously,’ adds May. ‘If needs be, visit the interview venue the day before so you don’t get lost looking for it. This will mean you remain calm and poised.’

  • 10. PACE YOURSELF AND TAKE A BREATH:  When you’re nervous it can sometimes feel as though the words you’re trying to say can’t leave your lips quick enough. Even if you have great ideas they can end up sounding like a garbled mess. ‘Remember to breathe and pause between sentences,’ says Claire Walker, CEO of Firefly Communications. ‘It’s OK to allow yourself some time to think about your response before answering a question.’

    10. PACE YOURSELF AND TAKE A BREATH: When you’re nervous it can sometimes feel as though the words you’re trying to say can’t leave your lips quick enough. Even if you have great ideas they can end up sounding like a garbled mess. ‘Remember to breathe and pause between sentences,’ says Claire Walker, CEO of Firefly Communications. ‘It’s OK to allow yourself some time to think about your response before answering a question.’

  • 11. GET SOME PERSPECTIVE:  Other jobs will come along. Even if this is your dream job, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to apply again if you fail this time around. ‘If you convince yourself you must get the job or else it is the end of the world, that will not help your nerves!’ says Andrews. ‘You can ask for feedback to learn from and move on. It is not the be all and end all, so relax.’

    11. GET SOME PERSPECTIVE: Other jobs will come along. Even if this is your dream job, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to apply again if you fail this time around. ‘If you convince yourself you must get the job or else it is the end of the world, that will not help your nerves!’ says Andrews. ‘You can ask for feedback to learn from and move on. It is not the be all and end all, so relax.’

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11 ways to conquer job interview nerves

There's a knack to peaking for big occasions.

by Jack Torrance
Last Updated: 19 Feb 2018

Images: Shutterstock

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