-Julie Biber

Last week, I was coaching my sixteen year old daughter, Brooke, on how to calm her nerves before submitting her very first job application. It reminded me of how nervous candidates are when they actually make it to an interview. We’ve all been nervous – sweaty palms, light headed and rambling speech – none of which will help you pull off a great interview.

The way you present yourself and handle your emotions in a professional setting speaks to your performance capabilities. These simple strategies can help you eliminate nervousness before an interview, so you can stay calm with the confidence you need to present yourself as the best candidate:

  1. Practice – Even though you can’t predict what you’ll be asked, you can certainly practice responses to commonly asked questions. You should hone your interview skills as much as possible. This will also help avoid the “ums and ahs” that can occur when your anxiety rises.
  2. Prepare – Determine what you’ll be wearing to the interview in advance. A comfortable outfit is always better to create a more “relaxed” you. Get a good night’s rest and eat a healthy snack to nourish your brain. Avoid the latte – you don’t need the extra jolt of caffeine that will make you chattier.
  3. Research – To interview with confidence, you will need to demonstrate an understanding of the position, the company and the people you will be meeting. It’s appropriate to ask for their bios in advance and view their LinkedIn profiles. You can research a company website and read employee blogs to ensure you feel (and are) as knowledgeable as possible.
  4. Arrive early – Learn how to get to your interview location and allow ample time so you arrive at least 15 minutes early. Running late exacerbates nerves. If you arrive too early, take advantage of that time and rehearse nearby, use the restroom to check your appearance or simply relax.
  5. Just breathe – Deep, slow breathing techniques relieve anxiety and allow oxygen to your brain, which will help improve your focus during the interview.
  6. Smile – A warm smile exudes a level of confidence and is calming, even if you don’t feel it. Positivity and energy are initially conveyed through facial expressions. Smile like your future job depends on it.
  7. Visualize success – Believe in yourself. Be confident that you are the person for the job. If you don’t think you can get it, you probably won’t. Picture yourself sitting at the desk as the new hire, not the interviewee.

Finally, give yourself a reality check about why you’re even there. Take comfort in the fact that you’ve been offered an interview at all. In the majority of cases, this means you’ve already sky rocketed to the top pool of candidates. Remind yourself of your strengths and the reasons why you’re perfect for the job.

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