Staying Calm during an Interview

We’ve all been there – the dreaded interview. If you’re anything like me, you get in your head about over-preparation and making sure that everything is as perfect as can be before an interview. We lose sleep the night before and spend all morning pouring over our note cards of sample questions with their perfectly configured answers. We eat an equal carbohydrate and protein-rich breakfast to increase our brain power and stave off hunger. We even get to the interview 20 minutes early, which is the magic number according to the internet.

You’ve done everything right up to this point. You’ve prepared as best as possible, but you can’t help to still feel extremely nervous. You’re in the hot seat, your hands are sweaty, your voice is shaky, and your mouth is dry. How do you present yourself when you’re asked tough questions? Is it poised, confident, and professional? Or timid, uneasy, and anxious? 

Let’s be honest, most times your interview will not go perfectly. There will be hiccups throughout the interview process where we are challenged to take a few deep breaths and just go with the flow. You brought your A game, but you’re not a fortune teller. There’s no way to know exactly what’s going to happen in the interview. At this point you might be tempted to ditch your appointment, but there are methods to remaining calm and collective.

Remember that your interviewer is your biggest cheerleader. They’re rooting for you to do well in the interview! If you’re visibly nervous, they will understand why. There is a lot at stake for you. Getting a job will impact your self-worth and general happiness, allows you to pay your bills, save money, have health insurance, and do something every day that you look forward to doing. Relax and know that you are supported by your interviewer.

Feel confident in your knowledge of the job description and the company you’re interviewing with. Yes, you could have spent 3 hours the night before studying everything there is to know about the job, but do you have confidence in your knowledge? Are you mentally prepared for what the interviewer may throw at you? Give yourself multiple scenarios where additional questions might be asked, and have an answer for the ready.

Think of the interview as a conversation. Imagine your interview as a conversation between two people who are trying to get to know one another. This will allow more of a fluid dialogue, making it easier to get your answers across. By thinking of this as a friendly exchange, you’re also able to be yourself. You’ll be seen as relaxed, confident and authentic. A good tip: Remember to ask questions – and be genuinely interested in the reply. By listening to their responses, you’re making them feel special and showing that you also value their opinion.

Lastly, focus on your strengths and purpose. Anxiety makes the best of us feel like we’re unqualified. Take comfort in the fact that you’ve been offered an interview. You wouldn’t be interviewing for the organization if they didn’t think you could do the job, so find courage in that! Remember what you’re capable of and put it into action. And if you don’t get the job, it’s okay! Think of it in terms of statistics: the more interviews you do, the more successes you’ll have under your belt — and the less likely failure will seem. Good luck!