What do you think of when you hear the words “job interview”? Do you get butterflies in your stomach? Have sweaty palms? Become incredibly anxious?
You’re not alone. A job interview is a candidate’s best shot at making an impression that puts them ahead of the other candidates. And when the stakes are high, so are the nerves.
To pull it off, you’ve got to have confidence, preparation, and patience. One of the first steps on that journey is to squash those pre-interview jitters, the same way athletes need to before they hear the starting gun.
Read on to discover how you can be mentally—and physically—ready before giving that first handshake with your interviewer!
Research, study, and practice
Speaking of athletes, you know that Usain Bolt didn’t just decide to give up his day job and begin running in the Olympics, right? He practiced, practiced, and practiced some more. He and his coach studied other runners. They planned every step.
You may always check “company research” off your prep list, but don’t stop there. Start jotting down a list of questions to ask your interviewer when it’s your turn. Be ready to respond to all those super cliché interview questions such as, “What are your top strengths/weaknesses” and “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” Make sure you’re as prepared as possible to answer common (and even unusual) interview questions.
And, of course, don’t forget to practice your answers out loud with a friend (or even in front of a mirror!)
Select your outfit the night before
We know, this might seem obvious. But hold on a moment, there’s a part of this tip that most people don’t always consider. You want to look as professional as possible, but did you take a moment to explore the company’s culture from your research findings? The type of company and industry will definitely influence what you’ll select to wear for your job interview. For example, if you’re applying for a graphic designer position at a large banking institution, you’ll dress very differently than if you’re interviewing for that same position at a hip ad agency. Not to say that you shouldn’t wear professional attire, but you can adjust dressing up or down depending on the nature of the company.
Go to bed at a reasonable time
This is super important. Make sure you get your full 8 hours of sleep (or more) before your interview, because the last thing you want is to be sluggish the morning of your big day.
On that note, start your interview prep at least a couple of days before your scheduled time. If you jam pack your prep the night before, and stay up until midnight doing so, you’re more likely to feel nervous and unprepared.
Whether you’re a morning person or a night owl, find some time to squeeze in 30 (or even 15 minutes) of solid exercise before your interview. The release of endorphins will help calm those nerves and make you feel more clear headed and sharp.
Make your bed
You read that right. US Navy Admiral William McRaven gave this piece of advice in his commencement speech at University of Texas in Austin, "If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another."
Give yourself a pep talk
We know this may sound a bit strange, but reciting positive affirmations out loud will help you feel more positive and empowered. Try some of these (or make up one of your own):
- “As long as I do my best, that’s all that matters”
- “I can do this”
- “I will do great”
Giving yourself that verbal pat on the back can boost your confidence and help you feel less jittery.
Oh, one more thing: know exactly where your interview location is waaaay BEFORE you get in your car. The last thing you want is to get lost and undo all the great calming you’ve done!
What are your favorite methods for squashing those pre-interview nerves? Let us know in the comments below!