5 Ways to Beat Nerves on Interview Day
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Nerves are a common reaction to new experiences. Whether you are stepping up to the free-throw line for the game winning shot, sitting down for that big, final exam, or walking into an office for the first time for an interview, everyone gets those dreaded butterflies in their stomach as the sweat starts to pour. Even though your body will try to force you into that fight or flight mode, here are some tips to combat nervousness and get you prepared for an interview or networking event so that you can sell yourself.
1. Prepare Ahead of Time.
Many times, people get nervous for an interview no matter what. However, when something unexpected pops up on interview day, our nerves can become even worse. Use these tips to prevent any unexpected mishaps.
To start, research the company and employer you are meeting with ahead of time and take notes on your discoveries. Write down any notable facts you discover or information you feel is worth remembering. There will almost always be a chance for you to ask questions, so be sure to prepare in that front as well. Many interviewers ask the question of why you should be chosen for a position over someone else. Make sure to have an answer for this question and think of any skills or hobbies that make you stand out from the pack. Make a list of your abilities and skills, so when they ask why you are the best hire, you can give a detailed reason. This can also be a great confidence booster.
Besides note-taking, here are some other quick activities to alleviate interview jitters. Plan your outfit a few days before the meeting to ensure you have everything you need. Dress for success and enjoy the fact that you look the part of a professional businessperson even if you don’t feel that way. To add to your professional persona, bring your own resume and business cards. Mints can freshen breathe and prevent dryness, so it doesn’t hurt to pop one before going in. Last, make a playlist of your favorite songs for the car ride to the interview. or networking event Nothing feels better than rolling the windows down and blasting some upbeat tunes; it is a great way to psych yourself up.
2. Take Care of Yourself.
Humans have a tendency to be happier when all of their needs are taken care of, and you can use this psychology to calm your nerves. To start, it is crucial to get a full night’s rest the days leading up to the interview. Research has shown that poor sleeping habits can lead to anxiety, depression, and other mental and physical health issues. Try to get at least 8 hours or as close to that mark as possible. Breakfast is another necessity. Even if you can’t find the time to eat an all-out big breakfast platter, try to eat something light like a bowl of cereal, some fruit, or a bagel. After all, it is said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Hunger not only adds to stress, but it is also an overall unpleasant feeling, so it’s best to avoid it when possible. Try to get some exercise leading up to the interview as well. Studies have shown that exercise can be a valuable outlet for releasing stress, and it doesn’t have to be anything strenuous. Even a 15-minute walk to clear your head can be extremely beneficial. Last, for guys, consider getting a haircut and trimming facial hair because who doesn’t feel more confident after getting a fresh cut?
- 3. Practice with a Friend.
There’s an old saying which goes “practice makes perfect,” and while there is no such thing as a perfect interview, practicing can help you prepare for your interview and learn how to sell yourself. Running through a faux scenario with a friend can decompress much of the agitation that comes from surprises during the real conversation. Questions like, “What are your biggest weaknesses?” and “Where do you see yourself in five years?” are common questions. Be sure to practice those and other common interview questions. Admittedly, sometimes a friend won’t supply substantial practice. Working with friends can lead to distractions and laughs if the two of you are not taking the process seriously. To avoid this, try role playing with a family member, trusted professor, or career service advisor at your university. Working with someone older can be beneficial as you will most likely be meeting with someone older than you during the actual interview. In addition, they have already been through presumably numerous interview experiences and networking events. They will be able to share their success stories and give helpful advice.
- 4. Meditation & Mindfulness.
Many consider meditation a niche hobby, but anyone can practice it, and it can have a huge impact on your state of mind. According to a study performed by Harvard University’s medical school, meditation can alleviate anxiety symptoms for those with anxiety disorders. Johns Hopkins University corroborated this claim by performing their own study and discovering that mindful mediation can help calm stress, depression, and even psychological pain. For beginners, try finding a comfortable location and practice regulated breathing for 5-to-10 minutes, or search for guided meditations on YouTube. Apps like Calm and Headspace host a plethora of guided meditations and are free and easy to use. Also consider searching the internet for positive affirmations and read them out loud to yourself. The act of complimenting yourself can boost confidence and works as a great reminder that you are stronger than you think. If you are afraid to walk into the building for your interview, take a deep breath and count backwards from five. This can help clear your mind and give yourself time to decompress and let out any negativity you are harboring.
Many times, nervousness comes from the preconceived notions your mind creates, rather than anything that has occurred yet. Try to remember that interviews are what you make of it, and it is all about the mindset you place yourself in. For example, instead of thinking of an interview as a time for you to be judged by an employer, consider it as a time which allows you to see if you are the right fit for a company and an opportunity to sell yourself tot hem. Instead of thinking the interviewer has power above you, remember that you too have power in asking questions and determining if you want to accept the position or not. Even the word “interview” can trigger stress. Instead, consider it as a meeting about a potential opportunity. Don’t be down on yourself because after all, they asked you to come in for a reason. You clearly show desirable skills and assets. Even if things don’t go your way, don’t think of it as, “I can’t believe I messed up.” Think of it as, “Maybe I wasn’t meant to work here in first place.” It is all a learning process, and the more interviews you do, the more comfortable you’ll become. There is limitless opportunity in the job world, so odds are you will eventually come across another offer which will better suit you.
Remember that, despite status, we are all human, and your interviewer was once in the same position as you. They too went through the interview process and they went through the same range of emotions as you did. Everyone goes through the same feelings; the difference is that some are better at managing them than others. When boiled down to the simplest form, an interview is simply a conversation with the goal of coming to a mutual agreement for both parties. They chose you for you, so try not to overthink the conversation and let it flow naturally. Just be yourself and things will work out for the better.
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