How to: deal with stress in an interview


So, you’ve finally landed yourself an interview for your dream job. But what now?


Chances are you’re feeling slightly apprehensive (see also: terrified) about the big day, as every nightmare scenario plays out in your head:


‘What if I forget everything I’ve ever learned in my entire life when I’m asked a question?’, ‘what if I trip on the way in and fall flat on my face’, ‘what if I get lost on the way there, lose one of my shoes and get rained on?’


Feel like you’re suffering from an irrational fear of interviews? To help you officially de-stress, here are some of the best ways to battle interview nerves and make sure you stay confident, calm and collected (and/or dry) on the big day…




Relax, breathe, and take your time


So you’ve arrived at an interview filled with nerves; your palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy – you may also have been listening to Eminem on the way, but we digress – to put it simply, interviews are a scary ordeal.

Anxiousness is inevitable, but it can be controlled with a few simple words – Breathe. Relax. And, Repeat.

Remember that you’ve been invited to an interview for a reason; you’ve obviously done something right, and good news, they already like you, so try not to dwell on the fact that you might not impress.

Slow your speech down, so you’re not speaking at a thousand words a minute, and take the time to think through your answers before you say them. Remember: pausing for thought is always a good idea.


Nail your interview answers


Many people make the mistake of trying to ’wing it’ when it comes to interviews.

However, even if you feel as though the ‘wild risk taker’ approach works best for you, struggling to respond to a question you haven’t prepared for won’t do anything for your stress levels and, more importantly, won’t get you the job.

Avoid awkward silences by preparing potential answers a few days in advance. That way you’ll have a clear, unstressed head to store all your newfound knowledge, and all you’ll have to worry about the night before will be a quick refresh and an early night.




Think of the interview as a conversation, not an interrogation


Interviews are often just as much about finding out whether you’re a good fit for the role as they are about skills and experience. And despite all the confusing questions that might come up, never underestimate the importance of compatibility.

With this in mind, try to act naturally. A professional attitude is important, but you also don’t want to come across like a robot reeling off memorised quotes. Try and remember at least five skills, or areas of experience you have that make you a right for the role, and weave them into your answers naturally. Remember: It’s a two-way conversation – not Question Time.

Just make sure you’re not too natural. A friendly chat to get to know each other is fine, but you probably shouldn’t be sharing intimate details about your soon-to-be ex just yet.

Remember that your interviewers are actually human


Forget about the formalities and remember: your interviewer/s are just human*

So, chances are, they might be nervous too. Imagining them as infallible bastions of professional perfection is often the root of a large share of interview jitters – and can be avoided.

A few mind-easing facts for you: they are able to feel human emotions (who knew?) and are often understandably aware of interviewees being slightly anxious on the day. They also understand that people sometimes make mistakes, and won’t judge you if you slip up once or twice as a result of nerves.

There will, however, be a limit. Anywhere upwards of 100 and you might be on your own…




Don’t overdo it with the caffeine intake


Downing as much coffee as you can directly before an interview might seem like a great idea at the time, but a caffeine overload will often have the opposite effect, and only end up making you shakier than ever.

Let’s face it, the last thing you want is to be frantically fidgeting in front of your interviewers, while they assume you’re simply not interested enough in the role to concentrate.

Caffeine also increases your heart rate and can add to the sweaty palm syndrome we mentioned earlier, and you definitely don’t need these things to be amplified.

Instead, get an early night before the big day and make sure you’re fully rested and energised without the overreliance on beverages to give you a buzz. Remember: energy drinks are not your friend.


Added bonus: you’ll get to spend more time in bed, and that’s what really matters.



Final thoughts


The main thing to remember about keeping calm during an interview is: don’t stress about being stressed, or you’ll just get more stressed.

As long as you’ve done enough preparation beforehand, and you follow these simple tips on the day, we have no doubt that your irrational interview fears will be a thing of the past.

If not? Hey, there are always umbrellas…


*This may vary from interview to interview