How to deal with pre-interview stress

If your interview nerves are always getting in the way of your job search, here are some steps you can take to make sure you impress your potential employers and get the job.

Stefanija Tenekedjieva

Stefanija Tenekedjieva

Even in job searching, practice makes perfect. As unfortunate as it sounds, interview practice will help you be less stressed further ahead in your career. But, for people who are beginners or over-thinkers, negative thoughts can stand in the way and blur out their focus on making a good impression on interviewers and hiring managers.

Here are some tips for job seekers to help them overcome the stress when they feel nervous before an interview.

Plan your day ahead to avoid stressful situations

If you’re interviewing for a job while still working for another company, or your days can get hectic because of other obligations, make sure to clear up your schedule around the job interview. Dedicate a solid amount of time before the interview, not just half an hour or so.

If a colleague might call you up, a delivery man shows up at your door with your parcel or you need to pick up the kids from school – it will be stressful. Take interviews seriously, and you probably need a piece of mind before you tune in online or show up for the meeting.

Go for a walk or do some exercise

Physical exercise before a stressful situation is underappreciated. Going for a walk or exercising will help you tune the stress out and turn the nervous energy into fuel that your body needs to perform physical activity.

And if you have greenery around your house, even better! The sounds and smells of nature will calm you down and help you focus.

Eat breakfast

Even if you suffer from a nervous stomach, you need to eat a good breakfast before your interview. Stress is one of the emotions that absorbs the most energy from us, and if you want to be able to concentrate and be at your best, a nutritious breakfast is a good idea.

Write down all the reasons why you are a good fit for the job

Some positive self-talk will put you in a good mood, but it will also help you revise all the reasons that made you apply to the job, and why you think you will be a beneficial addition to the company.

If you have researched the company, mention their values and mission, their current engagements, and relate them to your character, experience so far, and skills that are perfect for the job.

By putting all of that on a piece of paper, you will create a mental bridge to a good answer, and you will have a feel-good mantra too.

Write down why you deserve the job

I am not one to believe in universal forces, spirits, karma, and astrology, but I am definitely someone that believes that all good things come to those who work hard towards achieving them. And you should remind yourself why you deserve to get the job you are interviewing for.

Put down your reasons and wishes on a piece of paper when you have a clear mind, and read them before your interview. Give yourself a proper pep talk and motivate yourself into being a great interviewee.

Make an outline of your career development

If your career was a timeline, you are currently at the end of the line, and you’re mapping out where you want to go next from here.

Your interviewer will probably ask for details about your experience so far, why you made some career choices and how that affected your capabilities. Outline your career path to be able to easily recall all the important points you need to make at the interview.

Think about how you’d answer typical interview questions

Hopefully, it won’t come to that, but you should be able to answer even the most cliché questions. Why did you apply for the job? Why do they need to choose you? Where do you see yourself in five years’ time? Better be prepared.

Shut down social media and evade questions that raise your nervous energy

Social media can be an enormous source of distraction and negative energy, especially if people are swarming you with messages and questions about your interview. You probably don’t need all that extra stress, so turn your mobile internet off and focus on what’s important.

Talk to a friend or family member to unwind

If you’re staring at the clock stressing about the approaching interview, instead of revising the same things over and over again and putting yourself under pressure, call a friend or family member. A friendly voice and some unrelated distractions will help put your mind at ease.

Take a couple of deep breaths and go win that job

Good ol’ breathing techniques are amazing when one’s stressed. Take a couple of deep breaths – diaphragm ones – and hear your heartbeat slow down. After all, your body language and conversational abilities will also affect the outcome of your interview, and you should look like a nervous mess when you show up.