So, you finally got invited for a job interview — congratulations! It is normal to have pre-interview jitters. Even the most experienced candidates get the nerves as a result of a combination of excitement and stress. While natural, appearing too nervous may affect the result of your interview. It may make you look less capable and confident than you really are.
There are several ways to overcome pre-interview jitters or at least help you get through the first few minutes of the nerve-wracking meeting. Here are five:
1. Practice answering the usual questions
If you’ve attended interviews before, you’d know that there are common interview questions that will never go unasked. These include:
- Can you tell me something about yourself that’s not in your resume?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
Research how to best answer these questions, write down a few sentences and try reciting them in the most natural way possible. When you know that you’ve come prepared for the interview, you will feel less worried about the answers that will come out of your mouth.
There’s no need to memorize word-by-word, but make sure you know the main ideas by heart. Remember, your interviewer might sense that you memorized your answers and they will also sense if you didn’t prepare at all.
2. Practice your pitch
You need to decide what part of your experience and skills you want to highlight. It’s important that you talk a bit about your most recent job, key accomplishments, length of work experience, and a few notable personal qualities. Employers love candidates who are confident about their capabilities and qualities, so take this chance to show exactly that.
You can write down your pitch, then practice saying it in front of the mirror. Make sure you do it in a comfortable and conversational tone.
3. Research the company and job
The interviewer will most likely want to know how interested you really are about the company and the job. So, you have to do your research and learn everything you can about the company — what they do, who their competitors are, who the top executives and managers are, and what’s their history.
You should also have a basic idea of the responsibilities related to the position you’re applying to, and be able to connect it with your own skills and experience.
Having this knowledge in mind will allow you to answer questions about the company and the job with more confidence and substance.
4. Don’t slouch
The way you present yourself physically will greatly affect your confidence overall. Walk confidently, sit up straight, and smile! You should also practice some relaxation and breathing techniques to help minimize the nerves.
5. Avoid caffeine
You might think that your favorite cup of strong coffee will help you focus and stay awake. While this may be true, it can also make you feel more anxious, shaky, and jittery. It might be better to wait until after the interview before you treat yourself to your favorite brew.