How to manage your nerves during a job interview

A women looking at document

We've all been there. Butterflies, nausea, sweaty palms, a sense of fear and dread. But what happens when job interviews make you so nervous you can barely function? And how can you control that potentially crippling mix of adrenalin and excitement so that it works in your favour?

Be well prepared

As well as researching the job you're trying to get, be sure to pay attention to less significant details too. Decide in advance what you’re going to wear, how you’re going to get there and what your contingency plan is, should there be any delays.

Practice your answers

Have you had a go at answering potential interview questions while looking in the mirror? It's a great way of making sure your body language and eye contact are spot-on, which in turn will help you come across to potential employers as honest and trustworthy, while putting everyone in the room at ease.

Get settled in

Shake hands, make pre-prepared small-talk, smile and adopt a relaxed seating position that makes you look keen and alert, but not rigid and petrified. Once settled, take a deep breath and have a quick yet subtle glance round the room, to help you get your bearings and feel comfortable with your surroundings.

Survival tactics

If your mind goes blank, or some of the questions are proving rather a challenge, pause for thought by having a sip of water. Comments like 'that's an interesting question' or ‘no one’s asked me that before' will also buy you more time, as well as indicate you’re taking a moment to prepare a thoughtful and considered answer.

Be honest

Should things get so bad you feel you’re totally freezing up, let them know. Saying something like 'this job means a lot to me, so I’m rather nervous’ is far better than sitting there in petrified silence or giving no answer at all. The interviewers are there to get the best out of you and find out whether you’re the right person for the job, so they’re sure to be understanding and helpful.

Visualise success

Psych yourself up beforehand with a spot of positive thinking. Repeat 'I can do anything' over and over in your head, preferably in front of a mirror. If you feel those butterflies getting worse during the interview itself, stave off rising panic by focusing on something in the room – like the clock or the window – and doing the same thing.

Seize control

For nerves so bad the mere thought of a job interview makes your heart race and your palms sweat, why not consider something like EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) or hypnosis? Both will teach you excellent coping techniques to help reduce anxiety

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