Interview nerves affect everybody, here is how to beat interview nerves
Key tip: Practice makes perfect – so your biggest Tip: Do more interviews!
If not controlled interview nerves can be hugely negative for you, particularly if the interviewer seems to be an Ageist. Of course, some people are just better at hiding and coping with their nerves than others, but we can all do better. This Topic will show you how to cope better so you are not disadvantaged in your interview.
Employers and recruiters often see candidates who are confident and relaxed at the first interview but who fall apart at the second.
Why the big change? Because now you know more about the job, really want it and know you have a chance of winning it. In sport we regularly see an underdog making the final and ‘choking’.
Who rarely chokes? The ‘players’ with ‘big game’ experience – practice and repetition makes perfect. So, the more interviews you go to, the more confident you will be.
Practising interviews in role-plays with friends and family also helps. As can visualisation exercises – play through in your mind how the interview will go. Visualise yourself walking in and greeting them; so you feel prepared and more confident.
When we are nervous we talk quickly and may even forget the question they asked. If this happens, there is nothing wrong with pausing and gathering your thoughts while taking a deep, very slow ‘belly breath’.
Before walking in to an interview, take 3 belly breaths – I always do at Game or Set points in my tennis comps! Try to slow down your talking, remembering you don’t have to talk constantly – you are allowed thinking time when asked a question. If you lose the thread of what you’re saying, just take a slow breath, and then go right back to answering. Every interviewer knows interviewees are nervous and they allow for that.
Interviewers Are Nervous Too
This may surprise you – surely only you are nervous, not interviewers with all the power.
What are interviewers nervous and unsure about?
About whether you’ll be able to do the job, whether you’ll get along with other staff, and whether you’ll quit after just a few months.
They are also worried about what you think of them as people. They are worried about how professional their interview style is as many line managers don’t do many. Many of them are also desperate to hire someone – you could be the 10th interview. And 5 of those rejected them! This is often because of their appalling interview skills, not necessarily that their job is a poor one.
It’s amazing how many interviewers follow theories such as I’ll ‘scare the applicant to death’, ‘interviews must be formal and follow a rigid plan’, ‘I’ll sit behind my big desk and look important’ or even that ‘interviews are a waste of time’. So, they don’t plan well and rush through interviews, with little focus on the human in the room with them.
So now you know that the interviewer is often nervous as well, you will be calmer and can focus on removing their very human fears. This is better than dwelling on how you feel yourself – just have a conversation with them. It’s not the Spanish Inquisition, and if it is, you should be No 11 to reject them!
The questions about what you’ve done, how you felt, your behaviour in the past are only seeking clues about you, in the future, with them. It’s not to be nosy or personal.