Dealing with Interview nerves and boosting your confidence
Sweaty palms, forgetting your STAR answers and worrying about messing up.. We’ve all been there, but how do we cope with those nerves that creep up and take over? Don't panic. These simple techniques, good preparation and some positive thinking can do wonders to reduce your stress levels and help you shine. Even if you're naturally shy.
Interview nerves are a not as bad as you think. They keep you on your toes and in the game . If you’re really struggling to feel confident about your graduate interviews, here are some tips to help. And if you still struggle then; fake it till you make it!
The first step to interview confidence is preparation. It begins with researching the organisation and ends with choosing your outfit (preferably the night before).
Know the company’s products, mission statement, culture and locations. Scrutinise the job description for clues as to what they are looking for. Research the person who is interviewing you, it might make them appear less daunting in the actual interview. Also, it might help you to know that some recruiters get nervous before interviews too.
Use your careers service
Take advantage of the wide range of resources that the careers services can offer you to help prep you for your interviews and calm your nerves. They are there to help you, so sign up for interview times or workshops. You can even ask them for insider knowledge on how a particular employer recruits their graduates and for any feedback from other students’ experiences.
Get familiar with your CV/ application form
It has served you well, you have an interview. Now try to predict the potential questions that could be asked based on your CV. Prep some confident answers to those questions. Any poor exam results or missing sections on your CV? Be prepared to defend those.
If in doubt take a copy of your application along with you, knowing you are not relying solely on your memory can help keep you calm. And worse case scenario, holding onto a piece of paper might stop you biting your nails or fidgeting.
Phone a friend
Try running through a practice interview with a friends, roommate or careers adviser a few days before the real thing to help with your nerves. Also practice interviews are an ideal time to try out your answers and to get some feedback before it counts.
Remember to relax
Although some nerves and stress are good, they keep you performing at your peak, you want to come across as relaxed and confident rather than anxious. The night before try taking a warm bath or shower, going to the gym or doing some exercise. This can help to release natural endorphins putting you in a better frame of mind. Definitely try to get a good night’s sleep. On the day, try to have a hearty breakfast and get some fresh air. Then, before the interview, take some deep breaths and loosen the tension by having a good stretch or shake.
Timing- allow yourself a bit extra to save stress!
Figure out your route from home to the interview with time to spare (arriving a few minutes early) and prep your schedule so you are organised. Always accommodate for traffic and public transport delays, if you arrive early then you can use that time to relax and go over your notes.
Enter and exit confidently
Smile and give a firm handshake, this gives the impression you are confident and self-assured. Try asking the interviewers a few strong questions before leaving, this can give them a positive lasting impression.
Lastly, don’t stress or worry. Good impressions and coming across well is basically mind over matter, but worse case scenario; just smile, take a deep breath and think: ‘Whatever happens, it will be done soon.’