Chris Croft's Personal Blog

June 2, 2012

How to overcome nerves before and at a job interview

Filed under: Assertiveness, Careers — Tags: , , , , , , , — chriscroft @ 4:15 pm

Everyone gets nervous, and if you weren’t then you might perform less well, and the interviewers might think you didn’t care   But clearly excessive nerves would be a problem, especially if the interview is for a job requiring confidence!

I hope the following ideas help!

1 – self talk: say to yourself every day (as many times a day as possible) I deserve this job, I am well capable of getting it, in fact they would be fools not to give me it.  Saying it out loud, with exactly the same wording, is ideal.  This is like self hypnosis – though I wouldn’t discount hypnotherapy as well, it really does work, and is quite quick and not expensive

2 – also every day imagine what the interview will look and feel like – they will be smiling and nice, the questions will all be easy, it will go well

3 – just before you go in, imagine it going well

4 – prepare answers to all the key questions and possible difficult questions, like career achievements,why you want the job, why their company in particular, what  your strengths and weaknesses are, etc (there is a great book called Great answers to tough interview questions that helps with this if you need it)

5 – chat to the interviewer(s) before the interview starts, if you can.  Try to break down the formal atmosphere.  Also chat to the receptionist – this gets you warmed up and gives you a feel for the culture

6 – don’t accept biscuits, wobbly coffee cups etc just before the interview, just a glass of water.  And don’t have an alcoholic drink beforehand!  Probably not coffee either – it’ll give you the same physical feeling as being nervous.

7 – Prepare some questions to ask them.  And also, during the interview, ask them questions back so that it’s not all you talking all the time.  This gives you a break, and allows you to gauge what sort of people they are and adapt your style.  It also makes you look interested in them and their job.

8 – research the company so you know all about them; their problems, plans, the things they want and value, etc

9 – focus on their possible / probable weaknesses rather than yours. They need someone for this job, they can’t find anyone else good except for you.

10 – If there is any kind of person spec available then match up your abilities and experience with it – so have a couple of bits of real evidence that you have each quality.  This will be useful in the interview as well as helping you convince yourself that you are the best person for the job.

11 – have a run through with a friend asking you all the most horrible questions.  Do it again till you are slick.  (Not sick!)

12 – have other irons in the fire so you can be more relaxed about this one (though always tell them you really really want the job, and don’t mention any of the other jobs –  not that you’re desperate, but it’s a chance to use all your skills and really make a difference etc)  the best way to do this is to sign on with at least one good employment agency.  Much better than applying to job ads in the paper which is a real numbers game.

Good luck – not that it’s about luck!

ps Great article on this subject here:


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