Job interview nerves can often creep up and leave you anxious about how it will go. Whilst having anxiety about a job interview is normal, having the right coping mechanisms and strategies can help you prepare.
So, what are the best ways to calm your job interview nerves? We have put together this article to explore tips and tricks to keep that anxiety at bay and have a successful interview.
Ways to calm your job interview nerves before the day.
The time between accepting the interview and the morning of the chat can be nerve-wracking. To make sure you wake up on the day feeling prepared and confident, there are plenty of things to do before your job interview.
1. Research & Prepare
The main reason why people get nervous before a job interview is fear of the unknown. When you don’t know what to expect, you can think of the worst outcome, which can cause those anxious feelings. If you are well-prepared before your interview, you will be a lot more confident.
The best way to be prepared is to research! You need to make sure that you have researched your potential employer. Read up on things such as the company’s values, mission and culture. This will give you a better understand of who you will be sat in front of and help you think of questions to ask them. It’s also a great idea that you have an understanding of how you fit the job description too. This will make it easier for you to have a flowing conversation with your potential employer about your skills, qualifications and experience.
We have already covered how to prepare for a job interview in another blog, you can read that here.
TOP TIP: Don’t be afraid to practise. Ask your friends and family to do practice interviews with you. It will boost your confidence and make you feel prepared for any question.
Try Google Interview Warmup
If you don’t have anyone to practise, why not try Google Interview Warm Up? It’s an AI-powered tool that can help you practise common interview questions by text or even verbally. It gives helpful pointers at the end of your interview so that you can build on your interview technique. We’ve tried and tested Google Interview Warm up, read about our expereince here.
However, make sure your approach to your interview isn’t too rigid. If you try to learn answers like a script, you could get easily thrown off by a question you wasn’t expecting. Instead, try and think of terms, keywords or themes, plus practise answering a wide range of questions.
In addition to practising questions you may be asked by the employer, having some questions prepared to ask at the end of the interview is also a great way to feel more confident and prepared. This will good to potential employers. It shows that you have taken the initiative and are genuinely interested in the role.
Luckily, our team has put together a blog about the best questions to ask at an interview ( and which to avoid asking). This guide will help you plan some questions to ask at the end of the interview, making you even more prepared. Have a read of this here.
2. Plan your day around the job interview
Optimal Interview Timing
If possible, try to schedule your interview for the morning. Scheduling your interview in the morning can significantly reduce your anxiety levels. A morning job interview leaves less time for you to build up your nerves.
A study by Reed found that over 60% of interviewers are more likely to make a job offer to candidates they meet in the morning. This is because both the candidate and the interviewer are fresher and more alert during these hours. Additionally, having a morning job interview gives you less time for those nervous thoughts to build, leading to a more positive experience.
Importance of a Good Night’s Sleep
A good night’s sleep is important for cognitive functions like memory, attention and decision-making. These are all key to having a successful job interview. According to the Sleep Council, the average adult needs between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night for optimal mental performance. A lack of sleep can make it difficult to think clearly, which could lead to you responding ineffectively in your interview. If this isn’t a good enough reason to sleep, then we don’t know what is!
3. Make sure to eat breakfast.
Eating a good breakfast before your job interview can set you up for the day. Hunger pains will make you feel distracted or stressed, so keep the hunger at bay to feel more relaxed and prepared.
A well-balanced meal before a job interview can give you the energy to succeed. You will feel more alert and your mind will be clearer. Include whole grains or protein in your breakfast. This helps maintain your energy and focus.
Additionally, picking a breakfast with something you enjoy can brighten your mood and get your day off to a good start.
4. Positive Mental Messaging and Self-Talk
Be kind to yourself! You have secured an interview, so it’s clear that you have the skills that the employer is looking for.
Engaging in positive self-talk can impact your mood and your mindset. Use affirmations such as ‘ I am prepared for this job interview’ or ‘I have the skills to be successful in this role/ can help you build confidence. Visualising success and reminding yourself of your qualifications can also be beneficial
There are some amazing podcasts for positive mental well-being which you can listen to. Check out the ones on Apple or Google.
5. Avoid Last-Minute Cramming
On the night before the interview, avoid cramming. Instead, engage in relaxing activities that you enjoy. This can help clear your mind and reduce anxiety.
It’s crucial to understand that being well-rested is far more beneficial than trying to stuff in last-minute information.
Consider activities like reading a book, listening to calming music, or taking a leisurely walk. These activities not only help in decompressing but also assist in getting a good night’s sleep, which is essential for a fresh and alert mind during the interview. Also, try to organise your documents and outfit the evening before, so you’re not rushed on the day of the interview.
This preparation can significantly reduce morning jitters and set a positive tone for the day ahead. Remember, your mental and physical well-being should be your priority, as they will greatly influence your performance in the interview.
How to calm job interview nerves during the chat
Now that you’re in the interview, there are still ways that you can manage your nerves. There are many citations you might find yourself in during the interview where you start to feel stuck or anxious. Don’t worry. This is completely normal. Here are some ways you can manage your nerves and anxiety whilst in your interview.
6. Breathing techniques to soothe job interview nerves
This is a tip which is often overlooked. Practising breathing techniques is a really good way to manage your anxiety and stress. Simple techniques like taking long, deep breaths can help slow down your heart rate and relax your muscles. Even just a few minutes of focused breathing can have a significant calming effect.
Of course, using long breathing techniques in an interview might not be something that you should do, but you can still practise calm breathing throughout the interview. If you become stuck, take a breath and collect your thoughts. Don’t rush to answer right away, you’re allowed to think before answering!
7. Have some perspective & self-compassion
It’s important to remember that interviewers are human too and may understand nervousness. Try to view the interview as a two-way conversation rather than an interrogation. Also, practice self-compassion and avoid being overly critical of yourself.
Keep in mind that the interviewer has likely been in your position before. They know what it’s like to be on the other side of the table, and most are sympathetic to a bit of nervousness. Instead of viewing the interviewer as a judge, think of them as someone interested in learning more about you and your qualifications. They want you to succeed because finding the right candidate also benefits them.
Furthermore, it’s important to remind yourself that no one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes, and it’s okay if you stumble over a word or take a moment to think about your answer. What matters is how you handle these moments. A brief pause to collect your thoughts can demonstrate your ability to remain composed under pressure.
8. Change your body language
Body language speaks volumes, especially in a job interview. Adopting certain postures and gestures can not only project confidence but also help in battling your nerves. Start with a firm handshake – it’s the first sign of confidence and sets a positive tone for the interview. Keep your posture open and upright; slouching or folding your arms can come across as defensive or disinterested.
Eye contact is crucial. It conveys engagement and sincerity. However, remember to balance it so it doesn’t become a stare, which can be off-putting. Nodding occasionally whilst your interviewer is speaking will show them that you are actively listening to them.
Smiling naturally can also be a powerful tool. It not only conveys friendliness but also has a calming effect on your nerves. It’s a simple gesture that can make both you and the interviewer feel more at ease.
9. Try the STOP method
The STOP technique is an effective mental method to manage stress. Here’s how to use it:
Stop: Halt what you’re doing and focus on your current thoughts.
Take a Deep Breath: Breathe deeply and slowly, as many times as you need.
Observe: Notice what’s occurring within your body. Pay attention to your emotions, and the thoughts in your mind, and understand why you’re feeling this way.
Proceed: Continue with the intention of incorporating your observations into your subsequent actions.
The purpose of the STOP technique is to be conscious of what you’re doing and feeling at that moment. It helps you remember that you are in charge of how you control the situation and allows you to make informed decisions.
10. Embrace the moment
Finally, understand that feeling nervous is a natural response. Instead of fighting it, acknowledge it and use it as energy to fuel your performance. Knowing that nerves are a natural survival technique can help you manage them more effectively.
Nervousness, in essence, is your body’s way of preparing you for an important event. It sharpens your senses and heightens your focus. By accepting and reframing these feelings as a form of positive anticipation, you can channel this energy for a more successful performance. Instead of letting job interview nerves overpower you, try to use them to be more alert and enthusiastic during the interview.
It’s also helpful to remember that a certain level of nerves can be beneficial. They can prompt you to prepare more thoroughly and keep you on your toes, so you don’t become complacent. Instead of viewing nerves as a hindrance, consider them a helpful aid for success.
To sum up, getting ready for a job interview can make you feel nervous, but there are many ways to calm job interview nerves. First, make sure you do your homework about the job and the company. Being prepared will make you feel more confident. Also, try to arrange your interview for the morning if you can, as you’ll be fresher and less worried.
Don’t forget the basics: get a good night’s sleep and eat a healthy breakfast. This will help your brain work better and keep you focused. It’s also important to talk to yourself in a positive way. Remember, you’ve already done well to get the interview!
While you’re in the interview, there are things you can do to stay calm. Breathing slowly can help a lot. Also, try to think of the interview as a friendly chat, not a test. Everyone makes mistakes, and it’s okay if you need a moment to think.
Lastly, remember that feeling a bit nervous is normal and can even be helpful. It shows you care about doing well. So, take a deep breath, believe in yourself, and go for it!