5 Easy Ways to Overcome Job Interview Jitters

Nervous Woman in interview with interviewer looking at her resume

Going into a job interview, especially when you really want the job or don’t have much experience on the job market, can be a nerve-wracking few hours for many candidates. Of course, a little bit of nervousness can actually be good for you and enhance your focus and performance when you’re put on the spot, but, as with most things, too much can start to work against you. Feeling like you’re in a pressure cooker of anxiety throughout your job interview can have a cumulative effect on your performance as things can go from bad to worse in a hurry.

Here are a few tips for staying calm in a high-stakes job interview and preventing your over-active nerves from getting the best of you:

Don’t wing it

The more prepared you are for a job interview, the better you’ll feel before and during the meeting. Even if you have a moment where your nerves start to creep in and you “blank” out, if you’ve done your homework on the role and the organization and are well prepared ahead of time, you will very likely be able to recover quickly and easily with an automatic or “fall back” response, and your interviewer will be none the wiser.

Minimize same-day stresses

Take care so that there are no other “triggers” or stressful situations on the day of your interview that could make your anxiety worse. Know where you’re going, get there early, sort out your clothes beforehand, be sure to eat, get a decent night’s sleep. In short, minimize any other kind of distractions or real life problems so you’re only focused on the interview.

Bring in your notes

Who says you can’t have a notepad with you? While you may not want to set up your laptop or use your smartphone in the interview, in almost every job interview scenario it’s perfectly appropriate to come in with a notebook. In fact, taking notes at certain points in the discussion can actually give the sense that you’re very interested in the position and taking great care to use the interview as preparation for the role, not wanting to miss a thing. So, on that notepad, write down the questions that you want to ask the interviewer. Having your thoughts handy and available to look at if you lose your train of thought can make you feel safer and less anxious when the discussion swings your way.

Avoid too much caffeine

Don’t overload yourself with an excessive amount of caffeine right before you go into a job interview. You may think a few cups of coffee it will help you focus, but too much will obviously make you more appear and feel jittery and anxious.

Adopt a relaxation strategy

Not all relaxation techniques work equally for each person. Whether it’s deep breathing, power posing, meditation, body scanning, listening to gentle music, muscle relaxation… there are so many different ways you can calm your nerves, so before the interview you should know which approaches work best for your unique temperament and anxiety levels. If you need a little more guidance on the day of your interview, consider downloading an especially helpful relaxation app beforehand that will soothe you right before you go in.

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