5 Tips for Staying Calm During a Job Interview

We all have some version of that familiar recurring nightmare.  In the middle of a recital, business proposal, presentation, or other big career-making moments our calm, collected, confident and knowledgeable personae flees only to leave us fumbling and bumbling in front of a crowd of people; typically without any pants on.

While such unclothed exaggerations are generally nightmarish products of our overactive imaginations, losing your cool during a job interview is a far more common scenario.  With the potential for losing a callback or job offer, the real-world implications of failing to keep calm during an interview can even put our bad dreams to shame.  If this sounds like an all-too-familiar scenario, never fear.  We have a few tried and true tips to help you chill out, relax and keep calm while you interview on.

Put on Your Study Caps

One of the easiest and most effective ways to combat a case of pre-interview nerves is by increasing your confidence and knowledge.  For candidates, this means you’ll need to head back to the study board and brush up on your job opening knowledge.  

Before your interview, you should review a quick refresher of your common industry trends, major issues, rules, laws or other applicable guidelines to ensure you’re brushed up on the most recent lingo.  Speaking the language of your profession will go a long way towards putting yourself at ease during the interview.  Don’t forget that all important company-based research, either.  Knowing the history and current news regarding your potential employer can help you feel prepared and will allow you to ask smarter questions and craft your answers in terms more applicable to the employer, all of which are big nerve-quelling plusses during an interview.

Avoid Procrastinating

If you’ve ever rushed out of the house last minute, snatching coffee with one hand and a danish with the other, while trying to button your shirt and fumble for your car keys, you know that few things are more destructive to a sense of calm then trying to fit tasks in last minute.  Simple tasks such as laying out your interview outfit the night before, planning your commute or prepping a simple breakfast or packing a bag, can go a long way towards helping you feel relaxed and calm on the big day.

You’re Not the Only One

Another tactic that can help worried interview applicants is the realization that your interviewer is probably also suffering from a mild bout of the nerves.  Sure, the hiring manager or another company representative may have the bargaining chips, but their decision-making abilities are also on the line when it comes to choosing just the right candidate.

At the beginning of your interview, take a deep breath, smile, and mentally visualize that your interviewer is probably feeling much the same as you are.  If you’re feeling comfortable and are good at reading the room, a small joke about interview tables reminding you of the principal’s office, or some similar comment, can often break the ice for you and your prospective employer.

Get That Beauty Sleep

One of the most tried and true methods for preparing mentally and physically for your job interview doesn’t require any extra effort.  Sleep plays a critical function in physical well-being and mental clarity.  Many studies show that sleep-deprived individuals are often more anxious, nervous and have slower reaction times.  Get a solid 8 hours the night before, and preferably for a few nights before that, to help keep nerves to a minimum come interview day.

Take it Easy on the Morning Joe

While most of us need our daily dose of coffee to ensure proper mental and physical function, overdoing it on the caffeinated goodness can be just as bad for your sense of calms as skipping out altogether.  Excessive amounts of caffeine not only cause jitteriness, it can also prompt headaches, quickened heart rate, and excessive sweating.  Keep your caffeine intake to normal, reasonable levels for increased calmness during your interview.

Early is On Time

Our final piece of advice hearkens back to words of wisdom from our mothers: early is on time, on time is late and being late is unacceptable.  Showing up late for an interview will leave you flustered and your interviewer impatient over the waste of their valuable time.  Arriving 15-20 minutes early also gives you a few moments to collect yourself, get a glass of water and mentally prepare for what’s to come.

Got another trick to staying calm on interview day?  We’d love to hear from you!  Drop us a comment, email or other helpful hint and maybe your advice will help fellow job seekers keep their chill during their next job interview.

Article Updated from the Oroginal on October 26, 2017