How to Conquer Those Interview Jitters

March 31, 2021

Kelsey Maddox, Talent Acquisition Partner

It’s here. You’ve been looking for a new opportunity and finally landed an interview with a company you’ve been wanting to work for. The job search can be a long road and interviewing can be a daunting undertaking. You know the feeling: the minutes are ticking down until your interview begins and your stomach is in knots. Those jitters are starting to set in, the interview is starting, and you can hardly catch your breath. Why is this happening? How can you best prepare yourself for success?

Why Do We Get These Jitters?

According to Dr. Sherry Benton, psychologist and founder of Tao Connect, our nervousness happens when we do something that we perceive as a performance. This is our brain’s way of telling us “get prepared!”, or “Get excited!”. This is the experience of our flight or fight instinct being activated. It is the way our body speaks to us and it should be recognized as a good thing. Dr. Benton says that having performance anxiety is good, but not too much where it can overwhelm you.

Here are some tips you can use beforehand and in the moment to help your manage jitters and nail that interview:

1. Be Prepared.

This sounds like a simple enough advice and something you probably already use. Get to know the company and study your resume. If you are going onsite to the interview, make sure you know how to get there and allow some extra time. If you are interviewing virtually, make sure your WiFi, camera, and microphone are working properly to avoid any technical issues. Being prepared can help you feel more confident going into the interview!

2. Practice Makes Perfect!

How many times have we heard this in our lives? The old saying is true for every aspect of our lives and interviewing shouldn’t be any different. It’s not possible to know everything that the interviewer is going to ask, but practice your responses to typical interview questions. Collect the talking points you want to get across in your interview and then start practicing with a friend. You may feel a little silly but practicing beforehand can help eliminate any fumbling over your words.

3. What Are You Afraid Of?

Facing our fears is something that can help when you start to feel nervous. What are you afraid will happen? Dr. Benton suggests to write down those fears so you can face them head on. Maybe you’re worried what people will think if you don’t get the job. Or maybe you think it will be a complete catastrophe if you fail. Engaging in positive self-talk can help turn that ship around. Instead of thinking, “This will be a complete catastrophe and I will never succeed” say to yourself instead “There will always be more opportunities, even if this one doesn’t work out.”

4.   Don’t Forget to Breathe.

Breathing is a relaxation strategy that can help get your body in control again. When we start to feel anxious and in a high stress situation, our heart rate increases and our breathing becomes more rapid and shallow. Making the conscious effort to take deep breath will help your body and mind to relax. Dr. Benton suggests that if you’re still feeling nervous, try the four-count breathing technique. You’ll breathe in, hold it and count 1, 2, 3, 4, then breath out, and hold your breath for 4 seconds. This will help to slow down your heart rate, reducing stress levels. Doing this will also help you sound more relaxed and confident in your answers.

It’s easy to say, “Don’t be nervous!”, or “Just try to calm down!” when we start to experience interview jitters, but do those sayings really help? Consider these tips for your next interview to make the most out of your exciting opportunity!

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