Can you feel your heart pounding out of your chest? Are your hands beginning to shake? Does the room suddenly feel colder than it really is? Pregame interview nerves is a real thing, so at the very least, rest assured knowing you aren’t the only one out there who’s struggling with containing them.
So what do you do? How do you pull it together and put forth your best self when you’re forced onto the hot seat? Well firstly, take a deep breathe, and take advantage of the internet, because there are lots of secret formulas and advice out there that can help make your interview nerves vanish – that way, your chances at a job offer won’t.
1. Smile your heart out
Try to be mad or sad with a smile on your face. I dare you. Rather difficult huh? Even if it’s forced, putting up a smile is like putting forth a shield that blocks away any type of negative emotion you might be feeling. It’s a psychological trick that our brains are prone to, and it’s one that can help get rid of all the icky nerves you might be feeling.
2. Strike A Power Pose
Amy Cuddy, a professor at Harvard Business School, found that similar to how smiling works, your body has control over the way you think and behave as well. By positioning your body in a stance resembling power or weakness, your behavior and mindset will shift accordingly. Pump your chest out and occupy more space with your stance and you feel more confident. At the same time, cuddle yourself up and allow your body to nervously shake and you’ll simply fuel your nerves.
Before going into an interview, try striking a power pose for two minutes. You can do it standing next to the bathroom mirror or in a place where no one’s going to question your awe-struck poses.
3. Arrive early
Sometimes it’s not even the interview itself you’re nervous about. Instead, it’s other things like being stuck in traffic or finding a parking space or even where the interview is being held for that matter. The accumulation of all these struggles can make you feel more uneasy than you really should be for your interview. The simple fix to all this is to simply leave the house early. By giving yourself enough time to easily deal with any unforeseen problems and turn of events, you’re now left only needing to worry about one thing instead of ten.
4. Eat a banana
If it works for musicians before big concerts than it can work for you too. All that potassium, beta blockers, and tryptophan can give you all the natural health benefits you need to calm yourself down. There are questions as to whether this really helps, but hey, it can’t hurt to try. Bananas taste delicious either way!
5. Preoccupy yourself while waiting
The more you think about the big moment, the bigger the moment is going to get. So don’t think about the interview at all. Look at funny pictures on your phone or bring a crossword puzzle. Just make sure you find something to pass the time while waiting for your interview besides dwelling on it.
6. Think friend, not foe
People don’t go into interviews necessarily thinking their interviewer is going to be super strict or tough on them. In fact, most of them aren’t. But due to the circumstances, it’s easy to go into the interview with the mindset of it being us against the world and as a result, we’re a bit more guarded and uptight than perhaps we should be. Instead, consider the interviewer more of a friend than an enemy. He’s actually hoping you do well. That way, he doesn’t need to go on and on conducting more rounds of interviews trying to find the right person for the job.
7. Practice, practice, practice
We’re all scared about doing things we aren’t as familiar with or aren’t as good at. It’s only natural after all. What’s there to fear if you’re going into an interview fully prepared knowing you’ll slay any question the interviewer tries to throw your way?
Practice with a friend, practice with a family member, practice with yourself, or even seek help from mock interview professionals. Part of the reason why interviews are so scary is because they’re integral to getting hired. Well, if not for the sake of curing your nerves, practice to simply get better at interviewing so you can give yourself the best chance of impressing the interviewer and getting a job offer.