How to Calm Interview Nerves Before and During an Interview

The interview process can present challenges, including promoting yourself and asking questions about the interviewer and their organization. With adequate preparation and a few practical strategies, you can calm your nerves before and during an interview. This article shares how you can manage the nervousness typically associated with going through an interview.

Why is it important to be calm in an interview?

It is normal to experience some form of nervousness or anxiety as you face an interview for a new job. Managing jitteriness and stress is essential for successfully going through the interview process. You want to make a good first impression so it is important to stay calm and positive.

How to calm your nerves in the interview process

Here are some practical steps you can take to ensure you stay calm during your interview:

1. Firstly, start preparing well before the interview date

Prepare for your interview days in advance, if possible. Starting your preparations long before the interview is scheduled to take place will give you enough time to go over important details, such as what you will bring with you, how you will greet the interviewer, and even what you will wear. By going over your preparations, you will be a lot more confident on the day of the interview and less likely to be overcome by jitters. 

Advanced preparation will also give you sufficient time to learn about the company offering the position. Even if the company you are applying to is a major industry player, there could be something more to learn about them that you could use to your advantage. In addition to the company’s website and social media channels, you should also look through related forums and message boards to find out what other people think of the company. Thorough familiarity with the company will likely make you feel more comfortable about applying and can reduce some of the intimidation you might feel about the interview. 

2. Secondly, boost your confidence with a pep talk 

Giving yourself a pep talk is one of the most effective ways to calm your nerves and boost your confidence. Consider telling yourself that you deserve this job and that you are qualified for it. Some people find it more effective to say these encouraging statements out loud. If you can hear it, the more likely you may be to believe it. 

3. Thirdly, make a detailed plan for the interview

This step involves mapping out every aspect of the actual interview, from the moment you come face-to-face with the hiring manager to when you walk out of the office. 

Go over every detail to ensure that your words and actions give you as favorable an impression as possible. You will want to come across as competent and confident, so plan a suitable greeting and an opening statement for the hiring manager. You might also want to write down some talking points as an outline for important details you want to cover during the interview. 

Although you should have a definitive interview plan, be prepared to change course if the interview goes in another direction. Even if the interviewer asks you an unexpected question, having a prepared plan should help you maintain composure and remain confident. 

4. Fourthly, make your final preparations the night before

Make your final preparations the day before the interview. This is the last opportunity you have to perfect and fine-tune your interview approach, so try to devote as much time for it as you can.

Even a seemingly small modification to your approach could greatly increase your chances of getting accepted for the position. And of course, the more rehearsed your preparation is, the more likely you will be able to overcome nerves and jitteriness. 

In addition to practicing your interview skills, you can set out the clothes you are planning to wear. The more minor details you take care of the night before, the less you will have to deal with in the morning. 

5. Then, plan accordingly to arrive at the interview early

Get up early enough that you have sufficient time to prepare, and get to the interview with enough time to settle in. Ideally, you should get to the office about 15 minutes before the interview, but make sure to account for heavy traffic and unforeseen obstacles to your commute. This should also give you enough time to walk to the interview office in case it is located in another part of the facility or an adjacent building. 

Use the time to compose yourself and go over the notes you have prepared. A last-minute refresher should give you an added confidence boost and help you remember more complex points. This will also give you something to do while waiting to be called so you can prevent nerves from setting it. 

6. Then, talk to a supportive friend

Talking to a friend who believes in you is a great way to calm last-minute nerves and give you confidence. If you have a few minutes to spare before the interview, give your best friend or mentor a quick call. You can ask them to provide specific input about your positive traits or other job qualifications. 

7. Next, stay focused on your goal  

Try to stay focused on your goal from the moment you walk into the building and throughout the interview. Approaching the interview with determination, focus and intent should give you more confidence. Remember that you are there to get the position, so remain focused on your goal and what you need to do to achieve it.

8. After that, do the S.T.O.P. method

The S.T.O.P. method is one of the most effective ways to deal with stressful situations. 

This technique involves the following steps:

  1. Stop everything and focus on what you are feeling.
  2. Take some deep breaths.
  3. Observe how your mind and body are reacting to the stress. Acknowledge that all these thoughts and feelings are normal. 
  4. Proceed with your goal by managing the thoughts and feelings you have observed. 

These series of steps will enable you to slow down and take stock of your normal reaction to a stressful situation. You will then be better able to manage these and avoid being overwhelmed. 

9. Finally, actively participate in the interview

Although you should answer every question that the hiring manager directs to you, take a proactive approach by asking for clarification. Providing background information and volunteering additional details might give you the competitive advantage you need to get the job. 

By doing your part to direct the course of the interview, you could even set up additional opportunities to showcase your skills and abilities, which is always an effective confidence booster.