Attending a job interview is nobody’s idea of a good time. Assuming you actually want the job at hand, interviews are generally high-pressure events with a lot at stake. A recent study by Harris Interactive and Everest College found that a massive 92% of US adults suffer from anxiety during interviews.
Even the most confident of people might find their nerves failing them in such an official setting. Regardless of how insecure you're feeling at the eleventh hour, however, it is necessary to project strength and confidence. Your interviewers want to be left with the impression that you’re a smart investment and you are certain of your strengths and skills. After all, if you’re not sure you are the right pick, how could they possibly be convinced?
So the question becomes: how do you control your nerves and appear unshakable when it matters most? By following our psychological tricks and interview tips, you'll be sure to come across as reliable and authoritative, putting you that one step closer to career success.
1. Before the big day, do exhaustive research
As soon as you get a call confirming the date of your interview, your research into the company and role in question should begin. We’re fortunate enough to live in a technological world, where information is readily shared and accessible. Finding out all you can about the organization, their culture, products, services and philosophy will not only make you appear more dedicated and knowledgeable; it will go a long way to calming your nerves, too.
The job advertisement would have made it clear what strengths and skills are needed for the role. Take time to think through how and when you have exhibited these strengths. This will mean you won’t have to panic during the interview and desperately wrack your brains for examples. If possible, get in touch with other people who have interviewed with the company, or talk to existing employees about their experiences. This will help soothe your anxiety and paint a picture of what to expect. The unknown is terrifying, but once you have more information and you’re prepared for what’s to come, you will begin to feel calmer and more assured.
2. Remember your value and your worth
Keep the following in mind at all times during the interview process: they called you in for an interview. You obviously know how to write a CV that commands attention and you clearly have a number of appealing qualities that endeared you to the organization. They see something valuable in you and this is why they have given the time and effort involved in interviewing you. Let this fuel your confidence and remember that they are not doing you a favor. They are open to the possibility of investing in you because they are aware you could be a serious asset for them. In this way, they are as hopeful as you are that you will ace the interview. Don’t labor under the misapprehension that they’re doing you a massive kindness; this will only serve to make you more nervous.
3. Don’t show up too early for the interview
We all know that turning up late for an interview is the worst thing you could possibly do. At best, it shows that you are incapable of managing your own time efficiently. At worst, it demonstrates a clear lack of respect for others. It is generally advised that you show up early for an interview, but while this is the preferred alternative, be careful about showing up too early.
When you turn up thirty minutes too early for an interview, you’ll come across as over-eager and this will lower your perceived confidence. It will also show that your time is not valuable. Instead, schedule your time so that you turn up to the building with plenty of time to spare, but instead of heading inside, find a venue nearby where you can grab a drink, unwind, and calm your nerves. Then, ten minutes before the interview is scheduled, turn up refreshed and ready to go.
4. Never forget the power of body language
You may have heard that certain people respond to positive and confident body language, but it is also true that exhibiting certain postures and stances can trick our minds and increase our own levels of confidence. When we slouch, cross our arms, and cast our gaze downward, it is clear that we feel small and uncertain. We almost appear like we’re desperately trying to take up less room. Instead, during your interview, stand tall and maintain great posture. Keep eye contact and refrain from fidgeting. This will make you come across as more reliable and honest.
One body language expert claims that nerves can actually be calmed by the use of a “power pose”. Strange though it might sound, before your interview, take some time to stand with your chest out, head high, feet shoulder-width apart, and arms on hips. This will induce calming effects that naturally lower cortisol levels. This will cause you to shake less and speak at a slower rate.
5. Keep a smile on your face
During your interview, don’t forget to smile. Smiling makes you appear warmer, more approachable and more confident. Studies have also shown that other people are more likely to remember individuals who smile at them, and being memorable is certainly something you're striving for in an interview setting! A smile is also contagious, so if you’re looking to get — and keep — your interviewers in a good mood, flash them a confident smile and let your talent speak for itself.
Kaz Osman is a software developer and director of Career Ninja UK — a career hub that delivers employment news, interview tips, and career advice. Kaz is passionate about helping people find the career of their dreams, and providing all the information necessary to climb to the top of their field.