Nervous About That Job Interview? 5 Tips to Help Calm the Nerves

First impressions count for a lot, particularly when it’s in the high stakes arena of the job interview. Everyone processes nervous feelings differently, but it’s definitely the one time that we want to come off confident and poised, not sweaty, jittery, stumbling or show complete discomfort.

Even if you finish off the interview strongly, even if you spent weeks preparing, neither of these things tend to help when it comes to those moments just before you walk into the interview room. Here are a few things you can do prior to your interview that will help calm your nerves and maybe even sharpen your mind.

1.    Breathe
Hopefully, you’re already doing this without thinking about it. But we mean *really* breathe, like meditating. The benefits of meditating are seemingly endless, and the good news? It doesn’t have to be chanting in a dark room to be beneficial. Arrive early before your next interview with enough time to do a 2-minute meditation (if you have a smartphone, look up Insight timer for short, guided meditations).

2.    Eat a banana
It’s rumored that the trifecta of tryptophan, potassium, and beta-blockers in bananas naturally calm the nerves. This isn’t backed by the scientific community, but there’s no harm in trying, right?

3.    Visualize
We read about athletes doing this often before games or events (even the Fab Five visualized every step of their routines prior to competition).  It’s all about getting out of your head game, the one that’s telling you that you can’t do this, you don’t deserve this. Visualize yourself in the interview, answering questions perfectly and being successful.

4.    Smile
Smiling literally tricks your brain into thinking you are happy. So just smile even if you’re not feeling it because it’s bound to imbue your words and voice with positivity.

5.    Practice
Google some common interview questions or find a coach (professional or friend) to help you become comfortable talking about your accomplishments, your weak areas, and all those other types of interview things. If you’ll be presenting a portfolio, practice talking about each piece and what you need to highlight. If you have to give a literal presentation, think about what points people might have questions on—and either build that information into the presentation or keep it in your back pocket for when the question comes up.

Overall, confidence is derived from experience and how we interpret our feelings. Next time you feel nervous, tell yourself that it’s actual excitement. Bloomberg says it works; let us know next time you try it!