Interview Nerves & Anxiety – 9 Tips For Staying Calm During An Interview

Interview Nerves & Anxiety – 9 Tips For Staying Calm During An Interview

By Charlotte Jackson | September 24, 2018

According to the Job Interview Anxiety Survey, 92 percent of people fear job interviews. The No. 1 reason is being too nervous during the interview. While anxiety is a common feeling among jobseekers, it can overshadow the message you’re trying to get across to prospective employers. These tips will help you stay calm during the interview – and put your best foot forward.

Prepare as much as possible

There are many aspects of the job interview that you have no control over, but this isn’t one of them. The more you prepare for the interview, the more at ease you’ll feel going in. Preparation breeds confidence. The interviewer will be able to tell you did your research – because you can answer his or her questions, and confidently so. Survey respondents cited not being well-prepared as another job interview stressor. Overcome this by setting time aside to research the employer, practice interview questions and do a dress rehearsal.

Get enough sleep the night before

According to The National Sleep Foundation, 45 percent of Americans say that poor or insufficient sleep affected their daily activities at least once in the past seven days. You definitely don’t want your lack of sleep affecting your all-important job interview. Getting a good night’s sleep the night before might be easier said than done – because your mind is probably going a mile a minute – but know this will set you up for success the next day. Try whatever typically helps you fall asleep, like chamomile tea, a warm shower or the sound of rain (if you don’t have a sound machine, try an app on your phone).

Make a checklist

 Oftentimes, if you can’t fall asleep, it’s because your mind is busy thinking about all the things you don’t want to forget to do in the morning. And in the situation of an interview, there are probably a lot of thoughts swirling. Before you go to bed at night, try jotting down a checklist of all the things that are preoccupying your mind. This works twofold: It’ll help you clear your head and prepare for a restful night as well as keep you on task in the morning, focused on your big day.

Dress comfortably

If you’re wearing a suit that’s too tight or heels that are too high, you might become uncomfortable in an interview. And why add a stressor to a situation that already heightens your nerves? Wear something that’s professional, fits well, expresses yourself and won’t distract you. You may think you’d be the only one to know you aren’t comfortable in your clothes, but your body language might give it away.

Arrive with plenty of time

Being late was another job interview fear mentioned by survey respondents. And while you may not be able to control traffic accidents or parking issues, give yourself room to deal with them should they arise. If you’re not familiar with the office location, do the drive as practice. (Pro tip: Leave about the same time as you would be for your interview to give you the closest estimation of typical travel time.) Check your favorite live traffic app before you head to the interview to make sure your planned route is still best.

Eat – and drink – right

The best plan for nourishment is to stick to your typical routine if possible. Don’t try something you’ve never eaten before or add another cup of caffeine in hopes of an energy boost. If you don’t know what kind of an effect it will have on your body, stay away! Today’s not the day to experiment. Eating something light that will keep hunger at bay and won’t be sloshing around in your stomach is ideal. And while a glass of wine might sound like a good idea to help you deal with your nerves, don’t do it.


Hopefully, you’ve arrived early enough to the interview that you can sit in your car for a few minutes, collecting your thoughts before you head in. Whether it’s for five minutes in the car or for a half-hour the morning of the interview, try meditating. Not sure how to do it? Get your body comfortable, close your eyes and focus on your breath. The slower and deeper, the better. Having a hard time controlling your breath? Try sighing. It will force out all your breath and help your body physically relax. If you’re an experienced meditator, add a positive mantra to the mix for an added confidence booster.

Channel your inner Wonder Woman

You may have seen Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk on power posing; if you haven’t, it’s a must for boosting confidence. Go in the bathroom right before checking in for your interview and try the Wonder Woman pose for two minutes in the stall. Stand with your feet apart, hands on your hips and your chin tilted upward. It may sound silly, but there is science to prove its effectivenes. To quote the famous superhero: “You are stronger than you believe. You have greater powers than you know.” If you can visualize yourself dominating the interview, that’s a bonus.

It’s a two-way street

Understand what an interview really boils down to: It’s a conversation between two people. If you can think of it like this, it may seem less intimidating. Remember, you’re going to have questions for the interviewer too. So, if you’re finding the conversation hitting a lull, pull out one of the questions you prepared to keep it going.


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About the Author
Charlotte Jackson

Charlotte is head of Talent Acquisition and Learning & Development in Sydney.

She is not only responsible for recruiting top talent for GQR’s Sydney teams, but spearheads the training of all individuals on GQR’s unique platforms and methodologies. She hires associate- through director-level individuals to carry out the company’s mission and conducts staff trainings.

Charlotte’s experience spans the development of a technology team for a large organization to recruiting highly sought-after talent for some of the world’s most elite firms.

Following her tenure in external recruitment, she decided to pursue her true passion within talent acquisition and Learning & Development. She joined GQR to follow that passion.

Charlotte lives a global lifestyle, having grown up between Canterbury, U.K., and Connecticut in the U.S. She attended King’s Canterbury, the oldest school in Europe, where she received her bachelor’s. She followed that ambitious pursuit with a master’s from the University of the West of England as a top scholar among her graduating class.

She has enjoyed many excursions throughout Africa, backpacked in Nepal, island-hopped through the Bahamas and toured Asia.

Charlotte loves going to museums and plays and has a special interest in historical architecture.

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