It’s natural to have some jitters on the day of a job interview. In fact, having some adrenaline pumping through your body on the day you’re interviewed means you want to do your best. The challenge is to keep the adrenaline – and your nerves, under control.
Everyone has his or her own way of holding stress and anxiety at bay. What works for others may not work for you. Here are some tips that have worked for job seekers preparing for interviews; and for those trying to maintain control in other pressure situations.
1. Be prepared.
The more diligently you prepare for each interview, the more confidence you’ll have on that day. If you can say to yourself before you go into an interview that you’ve done as much as you can to do your best in the interview, you’ll take some pressure off yourself. The key to preparation is to do more than simply assemble a mishmash of facts about a company. Take in the information, so that you have a clear idea of what the company does and how you fit into the picture.
2. Organize ahead of time.
Take 15 minutes or so several days before an interview to decide what you’re going to wear, and make sure that everything is cleaned and pressed. Take care of things like having an umbrella if rain is in the forecast; and having your gas tank full if you’re driving any distance to the interview site. Check your briefcase to make sure that you have extra resumes, a pad of paper, a pen, and appropriate reading material in case you have to wait in the reception area. Make sure that you have detailed instructions for checking in. Find out who you should call if, for some reason, you run into a problem.
3. Get a good night’s sleep.
Though it’s not always easy to wind down before an interview, try. Watch what you eat and drink the evening before the interview. If you have plans that evening or wish to do any final preparations, be ready for bed at a decent hour. Leave the television and your mobile devices off. Put on some soft music. Then, if you can’t sleep immediately, you’ll at least be resting.
4. Stick to your routine.
On the day of your interview, try your best to follow your usual routine. It’s usually a good idea to wake up at your normal time (or a few minutes earlier). Avoid any foods or beverages that you don’t normally eat or drink. And if you’re a coffee drinker, this is not the day to skip your morning caffeine fix.
5. Be aware of your breathing.
From the moment you get up in the morning on the day of your interview to the moment you arrive at the interview, pay attention to your breathing. When you’re nervous, your breathing becomes more shallow, which only adds to any anxiety you’re feeling. As soon as you sense that your breathing is becoming more rapid than normal, make a conscious attempt to take deeper, slower breaths.
6. Give yourself extra time for arrival.
Find out exactly how to get to the interview site. If you’ve never been there before (assuming it’s not a long distance from where you live), take a trial drive to the location a day or two beforehand to pace yourself—ideally at the same time you expect to be on the road as you head for your interview. Even then, give yourself additional time in case you run into extra traffic.
7. Slow down.
Make a conscious effort when you wake up on the day of your interview to slow the pace of everything you do. It won’t get you behind (you’re probably behaving more hyper than normal, anyway) and the fact that you’re slowing yourself down physically often sends a message to your brain that helps you relax. And remember to smile! This too encourages relaxation.
What are your thoughts on controlling the jitters before an interview? I’d love to hear from you. Please comment below!