Controlling interview nerves

Controlling interview nerves

It is common for people to feel nervous at interviews the following tips should help you to feel more in control of these nerves.

If you follow the preparation tips you should feel confident that you can handle the most common interview questions.

There may be some questions that you haven’t prepared for, perhaps because they relate specifically to that job and company/industry. Accept that this may be the case and that all interviewees will likely be in the same situation. If need be you can ask for some time to think about your answer, and you can admit to a lack of knowledge on a particular topic, but these questions provide a good opportunity to demonstrate your enthusiasm and problem solving abilities.

Don’t try to memorise long answers
While it’s a good idea to prepare answers to common questions and STAR-formatted answers to likely competency questions, you’re unlikely to be able to remember everything you’ve prepared – especially if you’ve written pages of example answers. Trying to remember it all will increase any interview anxiety you have.

Instead use this preparation as a starting point. Move from it to using mind maps, mnemonics or brief one word bullet points.

Reframe your anxiety as excitement
Research suggests that when people reframe anxiety as excitement (e.g. saying "I am excited" out loud) it can help them to perform better in tasks that have prompted the anxiety. It is thought that this is due to the body's responses to both states as being similar on a physiological level. The reframing won't make nerves disappear, but can lead to perceiving the experience more positively, leading to better performance.

Before an interview people often get nervous through thinking about how it could go wrong. Positive mental imagery can improve motivation, confidence and self-efficacy (Psychology Today “Seeing is Believing: The Power of Visualisation”) so instead of imagining the interview not going well, try to visualise it going brilliantly. Visualise yourself walking into the room, shaking hands, smiling and confidently answering all the questions.