5 tactics to overcome job interview nerves
We’ve all been there. That gut-wrenching time, just before that important job interview. You put on your best clothes, polish your shoes, brush your hair to perfection, and, in my case, actually apply some make-up (an unusual event).
You leave extra early but are still oscillating somewhere between slightly flustered and high panic. After all, there might be a traffic jam or public transport malfunction of apocalyptic proportions; extending beyond the standard realms of peak hour. The possibilities of a vivid imagination are endless.
How do you avoid these feelings and overcome these extreme nerves?
Most interviews tend to be behavioural based, so most questions asked will relate to your approach to three core areas:
People: Your approach to customers/clients, managers or peers, and working in a team.
Problem solving: How you’ve handled difficult situations, solved customer/client issues, and errors you might have made.
Influence and motivation: Through overcoming conflict, disagreement or inspiring peers, managers or other stakeholders.
Prepare three key scenarios relating to these core areas. Use these to practise answering behavioural event interview (BEI) questions. You can usually tweak your scenarios to apply to almost any question asked. Visualise these, including who you spoke to, the conversations and the activities you undertook to enhance your recall at interview.
2. Practice makes perfect
Team up with a buddy who can roleplay a behavioural-based interview with you. By practising your scenarios, you’ll recall them more easily at your real interview, and be able to communicate them succinctly. You’ll also calm your nerves. Check out some standard BEI questions here.
3. It’s about the journey, not the destination
The interview is not only an opportunity for a business to learn more about you – it’s a chance for you to figure out whether the business is a fit for you too. Does the business, and the role, align with your needs, values, motivations and expectations?
4. Think positively and remember your worth
You’ve been invited in for an interview for a reason - the business believes there’s a good chance you have the skills needed to do the job. Remember this every time you imagine the interview. Imagine a scenario in which you are smiling, confident, answering questions confidently and impressing the interviewer.
5. Keep things in perspective
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. If you focus on the need to succeed, at all costs, you’re likely to cripple your chances at interview. While the job is important to you, it’s generally not a life-and-death situation. At worst, you’ll not get the job and you’ll need to continue your job search. But you’ll learn more about the types of questions asked, and how to answer them. It is not the only interview you’ll ever get, nor will it be the only job opportunity our there for you.
Also check out our top 10 do’s and don’ts for interviews. What strategies do you use to prepare for an interview?
Kym Matthews is Market Research & Insights Specialist at Telstra Careers.