Is it bad to get nervous during an interview? Absolutely not. It happens to even the most experienced of professionals. You're going to feel nervous when it's a job you really want, and that's okay. In fact, it's a good sign!
But there are ways to overcome interview anxiety and techniques you can try to calm your nerves before your interview and help you stay relaxed and level-headed during even the most challenging questions.
And when you come across as calm and confident, you'll be able to give your interviewer the impression that you know what you're doing and will be able to handle pressure well in the job.
You'll still get nervous, sure - but not nearly as nervous as you would be without implementing our top interview anxiety relief strategies. So if you'd like to learn how to get rid of or at least minimise those interview nerves, just keep reading!
Our 10 top tips for calming interview anxiety
Luckily, even if you're naturally an anxious person, there are many techniques you can try to stay calm before, during, and after your interview. Check out our tried-and-tested nerve-calming tips below to take you from interview stress to interview success.
1 Don't skip the prep
Many candidates fall down on simple questions like "what does our company do?" or "how do you fit into our culture?" because they didn't do the research. Don't let this be you. Make sure you research everything you can about the company, the interviewers, their culture, the role itself (and how your CV matches it), and any questions you want to ask them.
2 Practice questions
Write down a list of common interview questions you think the interviewer might ask and write down a few bullet points to show how you'd answer each one. Then practise answering questions with a friend or family member. The more you practise, the more confident you'll feel talking about yourself.
Bonus tip: If there's a particular topic you're nervous about answering (like why did you leave your last job?), don't put your head in the sand - practise how you'd answer it from a few angles to see what makes you feel the most comfortable.
Need help practising for your interview? Read our previous blog “How to ace your job interview: Questions & our top tips.”
3 Plan your day ahead
There's nothing like a missed bus or poorly coordinated interview outfit to send your stress levels skyrocketing the day of your interview. So don't leave your journey or outfit planning to the day of your interview. Make sure you know exactly where you're going and how to get there at least the day before, and wear something professional but comfortable.
4 Fight imposter syndrome
If you're feeling like your CV must have gotten into the interview pile by accident, give yourself a little confidence boost by looking at the situation logically. The interviewer has likely received hundreds of CVs. You made it to the top 5-20 of that pile. So from your experience and skills alone, they already like you - you're already miles ahead of others. Remember that.
5 Get some fresh air
Going for a long walk has been proven to calm the nervous system down. So even if you hate exercising, make sure you get out for some fresh air the day before and even a few hours before your interview to fill your brain with oxygen, bring a sense of clarity, and get those endorphins pumping.
6 Imagine the worst
Most interview anxiety stems from fear of the unknown. Find out what your most pressing pre-interview fears are and imagine they came true - then plan how you'll prevent them from happening. So if your biggest fear is answering questions poorly - practice how you'll sidestep an answer. If it's getting lost - consider booking a taxi to take you directly there.
7 Ask for a pep talk
We all have that friend or family member who knows just what to say to lift us up and make us feel special. In your time of pre-interview need, call upon this person to give you a pep talk to relieve you of your doubts, listen to your worries, and help you feel a little more confident going into your interview.
8 Take deep breaths
Okay, this one might be obvious when reading tips on overcoming interview anxiety, but you'd be surprised how many times you forget to breathe properly! Take long, slow, and deep breaths in and out to reduce your heart rate and instantly decrease your stress levels before your interview.
9 Do something fun
Don't spend the night before your interview cramming information into the wee hours. Make time to do something relaxing or fun by yourself or someone else. Maybe it's watching your "comfort" movie, playing Fifa with your mates, or even pampering yourself for the day.
10 Try meditating
Meditating even just for 10 minutes before your interview can hugely positively impact your interview-related anxiety. There are countless Youtube videos and apps, like Calm, out there to guide your meditation and put you into a state of relaxation before your interview - give it a try!
Bonus tip: Let our recruitment consultants make interviewing less stressful
With these anxiety-calming tips, we know you'll feel much more confident for your next interview! If interview-related anxiety is something you struggle with, why not let our experienced recruiters help?
You don't have to navigate your career or next interview alone. Our expert recruitment consultants are here to nurture you from job applications right through to interviews and onboarding.
At Buchanan Search, we help UK graduates, entry-level workers, and trainees navigate the next step in their professional journeys with helpful advice, attentive support, and ongoing access to the best job opportunities out there.
Get in touch with us today to carve out your dream career path, step by step.