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Ten Minutes To Go: How To Settle Your Pre-Interview Nerves

Blog By Andy Robinson

‘Hi,’ you say. ‘I’m here for the three o’clock interview.’

For some people, pre-interview nerves are inevitable. You sit in reception, and you can’t keep still. Your eyes dart from here to there in a desperate search for an eleventh-hour inspiration. Your palms are clammy as you twiddle your restless fingers, and your heart plays a drumroll on your ribs as you rehearse your handshake and smile in your head: a futile attempt to cool the cauldron of trepidation and anxiety bubbling in your stomach.

We have all experienced interview nerves at some point; you are placing yourself in a situation in which you are not in control, so to feel a little uncomfortable is human. However, many people find it particularly challenging to conquer their interview fears, which usually results in an interview that does not reflect who they really are.

For this reason, we’ve compiled five simple (and undervalued) tips to apply immediately before your interview to ensure you perform at your best, and maximise the chances of getting that offer.

While you are waiting for your interviewer to greet you, take a minute to close your eyes, and breathe deeply. You cannot expect the interviewer to see the real you if you do not feel, think or act like the real you. Inhale for five seconds, pause for two, exhale for five, and repeat. During this minute, try to acknowledge your emotions and understand that they are normal and part of the process, but that, ultimately, they do not serve or define you.

Who is around? What can the receptionist tell you about your interviewer, and what advice can the businessman sat nearby give you? You will never know if you never ask. Starting a conversation not only helps you gather momentum in building rapport; your interviewer is likely to see these people daily, and may value their opinion of you.

A particularly grounding truth is that the people who are causing your anxiety are the same as you. At the start of the day, they wake up, eat and get dressed like you; during the day, they walk and talk like you; at the end of the day, they go home to their families and sleep like you. Every action you take is fuelled by one of only two driving factors: love and fear. Your interviewer is no different; there is no reason to feel alienated.

Where does this interview rank in the list of the top one-thousand most influential moments of the 21st century? Exactly. If you have built this interview up to be a life-or-death battle of the ages, you need to see it for what it is: a person sitting with another person to talk about each other. It may feel like the biggest, most important event of your life, but think about it: even if they do not hire you, you will live, and go home unscathed, with a roof over your head and a tomorrow full of new opportunities.

Anxieties originate from our minds putting a negative spin on an event which is yet to happen. These anxieties can be so powerful and crippling that they can actually have a detrimental effect on our external behaviour. So, what would happen if we practised putting a positive spin on an event which is yet to happen? Extensive psychological research suggests that envisaging your desired outcome before it happens can promote positive behaviour, which, in turn, may help you to achieve that outcome. Picture yourself and your interviewer smiling and shaking hands over a formal job offer; feeling like you’ve already done it may help you do it.

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