How to Ace an Interview When You are Really Nervous

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8 Tips to Calm Your Nerves and Nail Your Job Interview

Let’s face it. Nerves suck.

Having a great resume and the necessary skills and education are great, but making a good impression during an interview is important. There is only so much that a resume and cover letter can say about a potential job candidate. 

Being nervous is common and is the body’s natural response to being in a stressful or new situation. It causes your heart to race, rapid breathing, trembling, and more. While these responses are involuntary, when you get really nervous, it can really blow your chances because interviewers will see you as untrustworthy.

What can you do when you feel your nerves really starting to take over? Here are a few techniques to help you calm those nerves and ace your interview.

1 | Practice Makes Perfect

Okay so maybe an interview will never go perfectly, but it can help you feel more confident walking in if you have practiced beforehand. Start by coming up with a list of questions you’ll most likely be asked then make yourself an interview cheat sheet of points you want to for sure you cover and some questions that you want to ask, that way you don’t miss anything. 

2 | Just Stop It

Mastering your nerves is a mental trick. When you feel your nerves rising, use the S.T.O.P. Method:

  • Stop what you are doing and focus on your thoughts
  • Take a few deep breaths
  • Observe what is going on in your body, emotions, and mind plus while you’re feeling them
  • Proceed with an intention to incorporate what you observed in your actions

This technique will help you slow down and be deliberate before your nerves take over. It also reminds you that you have the power to banish your own fears, doubts and nerves. 

3 | Prepare for the Worst, Hope for the Best

Whatever you fear happening, there is almost always an answer for it. Something stuck in your teeth? Pack a compact mirror or floss. Worried about not having an answer to a question? Practice an answer ahead of time. Afraid you might be late to an interview? Give yourself plenty of extra time to get there. Thinking ahead about these things will ensure you are prepared and feeling ready to do your best. 

4 | Pep Talk Time

Don’t feel crazy about talking to yourself. Giving yourself a pep talk can really help calm your nerves and motivate you. Tell yourself all the things you need to hear and say it out loud with confidence. A good place to do this is at home or in your car before heading into the building. If you feel you can’t give yourself a pep talk, then call a positive friend who can give you the pep talk you need. 

5 | Go for a Walk

Fresh air can really do you some good. When you feel like your nerves are starting to get the better of you, take a stroll around the block. If you feel your nerves starting to get you before you walk into the building, take a few minutes to walk around and clear your head. Keeping your head clear can really boost your chances of answering questions better. 

6 | Smile

Smiling, even when you fake it, can make you feel more confident. It can even make the hiring manager like you more!

7 | Adrenaline Junkie

Okay, so don’t go skydiving just for some adrenaline–then again, if you are nervous about an interview, it’s likely you wouldn’t jump out of a plane for the kicks of it. Luckily for you, nervousness and adrenaline are highly correlated, which is why many get pumped up instead of calming down before giving a speech. So reframe your nervous energy as excited energy so that your nerves help you rather than hinder you. 

8 | Person to Person

Remember, in the end, you are just having a conversation, person to person. You aren’t battling a grizzly bear here. Think of it this way, as much as you want to work for them, they are also really hoping you are the one. And they want to make the right choice–so not all the pressure is on you.