Keep Calm and Ace Your Interview
Getting invited for an interview is an exciting step towards landing your dream job. However, once the excitement wears off and then the nerves set in. Here are some tips to help manage your nerves before, during, and after the interview so you can shine.
Before the Interview
- Do a mock interview- Pre-interview nerves often come from the fear of not knowing what you will be asked. A mock interview allows you to get a feel for typical interview questions and try your hand at answering them. You can also get feedback from your mock interviewer to improve your answers.
- Make some notes- Writing down key points of your answers helps you commit them to memory. They also serve as a handy review tool you can look at right before the interview.
- List your qualifications- If you struggle with imposter syndrome, it can be helpful to spend some time thinking of the ways you are uniquely qualified for this job. What experiences make you a competitive candidate? This exercise not only helps you determine which qualification to highlight during the interview and but also provides a great confidence boost.
- Reduce potential stressors- Interview prep also includes preparing for the practical parts of the interview. Plan your route the day before so you know exactly where you’re going the day of the interview. Choose your outfit the day before as well so you can check that your clothes are clean and wrinkle-free. On the day of the interview make sure to head out a little early so you have plenty of extra time to get there.
- Deep breaths- If you find yourself getting anxious waiting for the interview to start, try some breathing exercises to calm your nerves. Breath in for four counts. Hold your breath for four counts. Breath out for four counts.
During the Interview
- Hit pause- Rather than stumble through an answer to a difficult question, it’s okay to ask for a moment to think about how you would like to answer. This can give you a few seconds to relax and gather your thoughts.
- Ask for clarification- If a question really stumps you it might be worth asking the interviewer to rephrase the question. If that still doesn’t clear things up, you can end your response with something like, “Does that answer your question?”
- Own up to your mistakes- Interviewers understand that people get nervous during interviews. If you stumble over your words or have a false start, you can always say, “Sorry, I’m just nervous.”
- Write it down- During the interview, the interviewer might say something that you want to come back to or elaborate on. If that happens, don’t be afraid to make a quick note to jog your memory.
After the Interview
- Get the timeline- Before you leave, ask the interviewer what the next steps are and when you can expect to hear from them. Having a timeline can help you relax during the days immediately after the interview so you won’t be obsessively checking your email. It also gives you a guideline for when to send a follow-up email.
- Focus on the positive- Take a moment to review how the interview went. Come up with three things you excelled at and three things you want to improve on for next time.