Interviews, sadly, are an inevitable part of life. Whether you are starting out in your career or going for that all important promotion, interview nerves can rear their ugly head and turn the most confident person into a cowering mess. Even the most qualified and experienced individuals won’t get the job if they can’t keep their s**t together on the day.
I know, I’ve been there. I think I’m with the masses on this one when I say I hate interviews!! Before the interview, my mind would involuntarily start playing worst case scenarios over and over until I turned into a trembling wreck. That would, in turn, cause me to sweat profusely – yeah, because everyone wants to rock up to an interview smelling like
death. Then comes the event itself. I once walked into the room and was greeted with a smile and a handshake ‘I’m Leanne! Nice to meet you’ ‘I’m, er…………Adam. Nice to meet you too’. She looked at me as if I was some sort of sweaty ringer who’d been paid to do the interview for someone else. Great first impression!
So, as a result of my own personal shortfalls, I’ve put together 6 tried and tested techniques that will help you battle those interview nerves and take the next step in your career.
PREP, PREP AND PREP SOME MORE
The more prepared for an interview you are, the more confident you will feel. I know this because I’ve approached this from both angles before. If you go into this type of situation with the intention of ‘winging it’, you will come unstuck when presented with a difficult question and could potentially make a hash of the whole thing. So, do your homework and go in with your head held high!
USE SELF-TALK TO CALM YOURSELF DOWN
Yes, I’m suggesting that you talk to yourself in your head. Recent studies suggest that this is not actually a sign of you going mad (Woohoo! I’m not as crazy as I previously thought). You can actually use self-talk to gee yourself up and combat nerves. Now I’m not asking you to deliver a 20-minute monologue in your head right before an interview (you don’t want to cloud your mind too much). Just use positive phrases like ‘you’ve got this Phillips!’ or ‘you’ve earnt this job!’ to psych yourself up and get you mentally prepared for this all-important interview. The trick is to keep it simple.
IF THAT FAILS, LISTEN TO SOME MUSIC
Listening to a few empowering tunes before your interview can help you feel more confident and get you mentally prepared for the interview. Music helps to focus your mind and stop you thinking about the potential disaster that lies ahead.
AND IF THAT FAILS, BLOW DEEPLY ON YOUR HAND
Now you think I’m definitely crazy but there is some science in this. Blowing on your hand, or any surface for that matter, stimulates your Vagus nerve which reduces heart rate and blood pressure, especially in times of performance anxiety. I won’t go into the science but you can google it and be quietly amazed. Combine this with long, deep breaths and your brain will naturally start to calm you down. Try it next time you’re hooked up to a heart rate monitor.
Singing loudly, laughter and meditation are also ways to stimulate the nerve but I wouldn’t suggest trying these methods if you’re out in public, especially if your prospective employer is floating around.
PULL A POWER POSE
I once attended a seminar where the guy was talking about power poses. I thought it was an utter load of tosh until I tried it out. Basically, it’s where you pull a pose that makes you feel confident and powerful. It can be anything you like but I’d suggest you practise it before the day as everyone’s is different. I’ve adopted mine from the reaction I pull when Aston Villa score a goal (it’s a rare but very happy time for me), fists clenched, mouth open, loving life! I replicated this in the toilet before my last interview and I actually felt invigorated afterwards. It also works before important meetings or public speaking. Try it out! You’ll be amazed!
TAKE NOTES IN WITH YOU
Now I’m not encouraging you to whip out your notes and start reading during your interview as this can sometimes come across as a little unprofessional. However, one of people’s biggest fears (me included) when it comes to interviews is that they are going to freeze, forget everything and turn into a bumbling wreck. Use your notes as a comfort blanket. Just having them with you helps you to calm down because you know in your own mind that if it hits the fan, you’ve got your notes to bail you out.
So there you have it, my tried and tested techniques for fighting back those dreaded interview nerves. If you have any questions about my blog or you would like to be added to our mailing list, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively, you can visit our website at millennialmentoring.co.uk for more interview and career tips to get an edge on that growing competition.
Go and seize that dream job because it won’t be handed to you on a plate. And remember, you’ve got this!!