Mastering Interview Nerves

Submitted on Tue 09 Nov 2021

For some people, interviewing can be a stressful experience.  Even for confident people, the thought of putting yourself on display for others to judge can cause anxiety.  Whilst being nervous in itself isnt a major issue, if it impairs your ability to land your dream job then it is an issue.  For many job seekers, the interview stage can be the trickiest part of the recruitment process. 

In this article we'll take a closer look at a few strategies for dealing with any butterflies that you might have, as well as discuss a few ways to ensure you're completely prepared.

In the lead up to the interview

if you're given a choice of time slots for your interview, it's always a good idea to select one as early in the day as possible.

In the days leading up to an interview there are things you can do to prepare yourself for those inevitable nerves and to give yourself the best chance of success.

Firstly, preparation is key. Practice answers to common questions over and over again. Know your CV inside out, research everything you can about the company and interviewer and then practice some more.  It is a good idea to practice answering questions out loud. Ideally you will practice in a mock interview scenario.  Ask your recruitment agency to help you out with some practice questions, if you don’t have a recruiter, get a friend to run some scenarios with you.  Failing both of those, practice on your own in front of a mirror or record yourself on your phone.  There are even interview practice apps you can download.  

If you're given a choice of time slots for your interview, it's always a good idea to select one as early in the day as possible. This prevents you over thinking and winding yourself up throughout the day. Better to get it done as early as possible. Similarly, there's no point lying awake in bed the night before the interview running through all the imagined different ways your interview could go wrong. Instead, go for a long walk, hit the gym, or do a big run and tire yourself out to ensure a full night's sleep. 

Finally, the power of positive thinking should never be underestimated. If you convince yourself that the interview is going to be a disaster, you'll only make yourself more worried. However, by taking a few deep breaths and focusing on the positives - such as how good you could be for the company - it's far less likely you'll walk into the room with a pit in your stomach.

If you can ask informed questions during an interview that show you've done some research, you'll come across as more confident.

When preparing for a job interview, there are two key areas to focus on. The first is practice and involves everything from what you'll wear to how you'll get to the business' office, and ‘YES’ , how you'll answer the dreaded 'what are your strengths and weaknesses?' question. Getting these small details right doesn't take a lot of time and can make an absolutely enormous impact when you're sitting in the hot seat.

The second component of preparation is research - how much do you really know about the company where you're interviewing? If you can ask informed questions during your interview that show you've done your research, not only will you come across as more confident, you'll also subtly change the atmosphere from one where you're being asked questions to something closer to a two-way conversation. This builds rapport and will help you stand out from the rest of the pack when it comes to them deciding which candidate to hire. 

On the day of the interview

Probably the simplest and most effective way to calm nerves is to master a breathing technique that does just that, calm nerves.  We recommend box breathing. Box breathing works as follows:

  • Breathe in slowly for 4 seconds
  • Hold your breath for 4 seconds
  • Breathe out slowly for 4 seconds
  • Hold your breath for 4 seconds
  • Repeat 4 times

This is a great way to quell an impending attack of the nerves.

It's important to note that nerves in an interview doesn't spell doom. You're nervous, so what?  If anything, it shows the interviewer that you care, you want the job, you are invested in the process.  The first thing to remember is that even if you get a wobbly voice or sweat a bit, it doesn’t necessarily spell disaster for the interview.

The most important thing to remember is that you have some awesome skills, and you could bring the employer a lot of value. If they don't recognise that in, you then it's their loss. Treat every interview as a learning experience. If you don't get the job then at least it’s a great practice run for the next interview. Do remember what answers worked, which answers didn't work and hone your technique for the next interview .  Good luck!


Looking for job agencies or thinking of changing jobs or aiming to expand your career then let’s start with a chat. Call us today on (02) 8346 6700 and speak to a recruitment agency that knows your market.

The Recruitment Company – Making people enjoy the recruitment experience again

Specialist Recruitment Agency within Information Technology, Project Services, IT Infrastructure, Software Development, SAP, Data and Analytics, Devops, Cloud and the Public Sector.

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