It was the late, great Alan Rickman who honestly said “I get stage fright and gremlins in my head saying: ‘You’re going to forget your lines’.” In other words, even incredible actors stuffer from nerves before a big performance.
It’s a concept that should be very familiar to anyone who’s gone under the inquiring eye of a recruiter before. Interviews are a type of performance of their own that can create high levels of nervousness.
If you’re struggling with an upcoming interview, here are some tips to help you calm those ruffled feathers in the days and hours beforehand, enabling you to put your best foot forward once the professional performance begins.
Mentally Prep Beforehand
One of the best ways to calm those jitters is by doing a little homework before the big event. For instance, you can:
- Research the industry and company where you’re applying: Study the corporate website like a script, analyze the company’s vision, beliefs, ethics, and mission statement, and look for current events in the industry.
- Gather and review your documentation: Go over your resume or CV and reread the job description so that everything is fresh in your mind.
- Ask yourself practice interview questions: If you’re worried about the unknown, you can rehearse by asking yourself (or getting a friend to ask you) practice questions. Try to find a list of practice questions that is specific to your job, such as asking yourself if you work well with doctors, other nurses, and staff members when interviewing for a position as an RN at a hospital.
- Prepare your own questions: You can subconsciously calm your strained mind by also coming up with your own list of questions, just in case the interviewer provides you with an opportunity to ask them.
Going into the interview with as much information as possible is always a great way to regain a sense of calm and control.
In the same way that an actor must consider how they’ll appear on camera, the way you come across in an interview is essential to success. If you look nervous, stressed, or jumpy, it won’t look good to the recruiter. With that in mind, make sure to:
- Choose what you’re going to wear ahead of time: Research company dress codes and make sure you know what you’re wearing well before it’s time to get dressed — to continue the performance analogy, costumes are important.
- Familiarize yourself with good body language for an interview: Things like leaning in while in conversation and sitting back in your seat can project confidence and help you come across positively.
- Be prepared for remote interviews, too: Even over a video chat, it’s still important to dress nicely and set up a productive workspace with a good chair, lighting, and an organized environment to help you feel pulled together.
Create Your Own Interview Day Script
If you know you’re only going to get more nervous on the day of the interview, look for ways to plan the day as much as possible, such as:
- Scheduling things out carefully: Know when you should show up, when you need to leave, and where you’re going.
- Embrace your routines: Go through your daily morning routine to help provide a sense of normalcy from the get-go.
- Feed your body: Try to eat well, get good sleep, and sneak in some exercise beforehand to help reduce the stress.
Structuring the day like this will help you retain a sense of purpose and control. It will also free up your mind to focus on the interview itself without worrying about what you might forget before the curtain goes up.
Maintain Perspective and Try to Relax
As you prepare to head to the interview, do everything you can to maintain a healthy perspective and stay relaxed, including:
- Viewing the event as a professional conversation: It’s important to remind yourself that you’re not headed to an inquisition.
- Keeping the big picture in mind: Remember, this is just one step in your professional career.
- Thinking positively: Try to see the interviewer as a friend and a possible future coworker, not your enemy.
- Trying to relax: Take deep breaths and try reading through a progressive muscle relaxation script as you wait for the interview to start.
- Arriving early: If you want to feel in control, unrushed, and ready to go, try to get to the interview as early as is reasonably possible, even if it means waiting in your car for a bit beforehand.
Equipping yourself with the tools to relax is an excellent way to ultimately kick off the show in the right mindset.
Beating Nerves to Nail Each Interview Performance
Whether you get the job or not, the ability to beat your nerves and confidently conduct an interview cannot be overstated. It’s a skill that, once learned, will continue to serve you in your professional and personal interactions throughout the rest of your life.
So refer to the above list and look for the best options to calm your fretfulness and ease the tension. It’s a process that will serve you well both now and far into the future. And remember, no matter how each interview goes, the show will always go on.