You’ve just found out you’ve been invited to a first-stage interview for an awesome new job (woo!) but after the initial excitement the butterflies begin to kick in, and annoyingly don’t seem to go away until after your interview - and before we know it we're dealing with those dreaded pre-interview nerves.
Don’t worry though, you’re not alone - even the most confident of people suffer from these pre-interview nerves. But some people dread going through the interview process so much they’d prefer to stay in a job they’re not happy in than risk going through the process. So we’ve put together our top tips to guide even the most jittery of people to their dream job.
The number one thing to remember is that those interviewing you - be it the hiring manager or your potential new line manager - will have been through the recruitment process themselves and are aware of how daunting an experience it can be. Use the interview as a learning curve; if you’re not successful the first (or second or even third) time you go for an interview learn from your mistakes and work on improving your communication skills, calming your nerves and understanding what to expect from the process.
So what’s the best way to banish the butterflies, fight the nerves and subside the sickness you could be feeling prior to an interview? Here are our top tips:
- The night before – Take a relaxing bath with essential oils (if you don’t have a bath or they’re really not your thing try sitting in a calming space, light some candles and unwind), make a herbal tea or milky drink and avoid doing anything too stressful or strenuous. You need a good night’s sleep so you’re on your best form for the interview but avoid trying to go to sleep too unrealistically early – spending several hours tossing and turning because you’re not tired enough yet will leave you feeling groggy and lethargic in the morning.
- Day of the interview – Make sure to have a good, hearty breakfast (and lunch depending on what time your interview is) using foods that won’t see your sugar levels peak and drop too quickly – you don’t want to be distracted by a rumbling tummy during your interview and feeling hungry prior to it won’t help in settling any stomach sickness you may be feeling. Plan to eat a banana shortly before arriving at your destination – apparently the mix of tryptophan, potassium and beta-blockers found naturally in the fruit can help to calm shaky nerves.
- Arriving at the interview – Ideally you’ll have done a test run of the route to the interview location but that’s still not to mean you might not still face delays/issues on the actual day. So chances are you could arrive a bit hot under the collar, but don’t worry, just pop to the bathroom and run some cold water on your wrists and dab some on the back of your neck. This will help to cool the arteries close to skin while lowering your heart rate. After all, there’s nothing worse than shaking hands with a potential new manager and realising you’ve got clammy palms.
- Waiting for the interview – This is when the butterflies could really start to kick in - you’ll begin to panic about saying the wrong thing, worry you’ve not remembered correctly all the background research on the company you’ve done, and that you’ve forgotten that really important person’s name. As daft as you may feel doing it, try some deep breathing exercises while you wait. For example, try breathing in and out for counts of three while picturing yourself in your favourite, tranquil place. You may also want to use this time to think of some small talk you could have with the interviewer. You want to give off a good impression from the get go – your interview starts from this first point of contact and not from once seated in the interview room - so you don't want to spend this initial time fumbling for something to talk about.
- After the interview – Take a few minutes to assess how the interview went – call a friend or family member to debrief with them, jot down any crucial notes you weren’t able to make during the interview and reward yourself with a drink or piece of cake. Now’s also the time to remember that, at the end of the day, the interview process is as much for you to decide if you like the company/would be happy working for them, as it is for the interviewer to assess you for the role - so go in with an open mind and try not to let yourself get too worked up in advance.