How to master your nerves during a job interview

  • 4 Min read

As you wait for the interviewer to arrive, you find yourself staring at the glass of water on the desk in front of you. Your hands are getting moist, you start fidgeting, your thoughts are spiraling and the adrenaline in your body pumps up.

It’s completely natural to feel nervous before a job interview. A complete stranger is about to evaluate your resume, appearance, behavior, what you say and how you say it. After all, there is a lot at stake and you want to make a good impression. Although anxiety can be proof of your authentic interest and motivation, it is important not to let the nerves take the upper hand as they could lower your chances of getting that dream job.


Here are a few tips that will help you to remain calm:

1.      Be on time

It sounds cliché but it’s oh so true: don’t be late! Find out exactly where the company is located as well as where the closest public transport or parking is. It is recommended to arrive ten minutes before the agreed time. You may have to fill in some forms before the interview and it will also help you relax. Also make sure that you have the recruiter’s telephone number, so that you can notify them if your bus does not show up or if you are stuck in traffic.


2.      Prepare

Prepare well for the interview and collect as much information as possible about the company you are applying to. That will be seen as proof of your motivation. Read their website, social channels and their latest media coverage. Also refresh your memory with information about your current and previous employers. You are expected to know a lot about a company you work for or have worked for. It is also very good to practice your job interview in advance. Try to come up with answers to some difficult questions that you think will certainly be asked. Feeling prepared will also boost your confidence, which is one of the most important features recruiters look for. 


3.      Breathe

When feeling anxious, our brain jolts into ‘fight-or-flight’ mode, causing the adrenal glands to affect our respiratory and cardiovascular systems. Originally named for its ability to enable us to physically fight or run away when faced with danger, this stress mode is now activated in situations where neither response is appropriate; like in traffic, during a stressful day at work or before a job interview. It will not only cause heart palpitations but also make you breathe faster in an effort to quickly distribute oxygen-enriched blood to your body.

Using the right breathing exercise can effectively help you to reduce the production of those stress hormones. Breathe through your nose for four seconds and then exhale warm air through your mouth for four seconds. It's that simple! Over time, you can extend the breath to six or eight counts (in and out).


4.      Remember you are also testing the employer

Prepare a number of questions that you want to ask the recruiter. Keep in mind that a job interview is a two-way street. Your interlocutor will ask questions and try to determine whether you are the suitable candidate for a specific job. In the same way, you must determine on the basis of questions whether this potential employer offers you the career opportunities you are looking for. Keeping this is mind will help you to calm down.

 5.      Train your mindset 

Why does one person become nervous during a job interview, why the other remains remarkably calm? You guessed it: it is a mental game. Candidates who remain calm do not feel that there is so much at stake. They don't put much pressure on themselves by putting all the eggs in one basket. Instead, they are positive and are aware that many other job opportunities are out there. So all in all, working on your self-image and your mindset is still the best way to curb those nerves!


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