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8 top tips for combating interview nerves

By Rob Hayter on 08 Jun 2015

It is completely natural to feel anxious before a job interview; it is not something most people do regularly and success could lead to your dream job or a big increase in salary. Nerves can make you blank out, babble, fidget and sweat. Here are our top tips to shaking off those nerves and walking into your interview confidently.

1. Prepare, prepare and prepare some more

You will be much more confident if you have prepared for the interview, looked up practice questions and information on the company and interview panel, and thought about your strengths and weaknesses (and how you overcome these.) Know why you are the one for the job.

Have a relaxing evening the night before, plan your outfit, journey and pack your bag, including any materials, such as proof of right to work in the UK, certificates and your work.

2. Dress professionally but comfortably

New outfit for the interview? Did you know sports people never wear new kit in competitions? Be sure to wear it before the interview to check comfort etc. Make sure you feel good in what you are wearing and think about the colours. Do you sweat when you are nervous? If so don’t wear something that will show marks, as this will just make you more nervous.

3. Eat!

Have a good breakfast/ lunch before your interview. You don’t want to be distracted by a rumbly tummy during the interview. Just avoid anything smelly and maybe beans!

4. Allow enough time to relax

Be sure to leave in plenty of time to allow for transport delays. Being late will just make you flustered and more nervous. On route to the interview take time out to relax; read, listen to music, browse the web. At this stage, try not to think about the interview, it will just make you more anxious.

5. Sound confident and beat the shaky hands

If possible, stretch and jump to get the blood moving before the interview. Be sure to clear your throat before you enter the room (not in front of the panel.) You will sound more confident if you are speaking loudly and clearly. Shaky hands can also show nerves, but don’t sit on your hands, instead focus on something else, like clenching your buttocks or thigh muscles. Your hands will not be able to shake while you’re doing this!

Ask for water to help clear a dry throat during the interview. Don’t take a plastic bottle in and swig throughout!

6. Ask questions

Build rapport, sound interested, start conversation. If it feels less like an interview and more like a chat, you will feel more relaxed. Remember an interview is a time for you to ask questions and find out more too.

If you are really struggling to get your answers or questions out, there is nothing wrong in telling the interviewer you are nervous. It is fine to say something such as “This is my first interview” or “I’m sorry, I am extremely nervous, this is my first interview in many years”. Most people can relate to being nervous and, unless you are interviewing for a sales role, most interviewers are probably used to nervous candidates.

7. Listen to what they ask & take time to respond

Don’t rush to answer questions with the first thought that pops in your head; you will end up waffling and sound more anxious. Take time to think about your answer and what they are actually asking, and you will be much more confident.  If you don’t understand the question, there is nothing wrong with asking them to repeat or rephrase the question.

8. Post-interview

Don’t dwell on what you could have said. Ask the interviewer when they expect to make a decision or what the next stage is in the application process, then follow up with them or your recruitment consultant with feedback, in particular to let them know you are still keen on the job.

If you aren’t successful, remember to ask for reasons. This can help you improve at your next interview and to bag your dream job.

Good luck!