The hiring manager calls your name, and suddenly you start to break out in a cold sweat. You can feel your shirt sticking to your back and the palms of your hands getting moist. The interviewer asks how your commute was, and your voice starts to tremble as you let out a weak reply. What can you do? How can you make your nerves settle down? We have seven handy tips for how to calm yourself and ace your job interview. Let’s take a quick look.
Take time to prepare for your interview by asking a friend or family member to go over some commonly asked job interview questions with you. Being prepared will help you feel more confident, and you’ll be less likely to be caught off guard by an interviewer’s questions.
Career coach Susan P. Joyce emphasizes that practice makes perfect. “Think about what your answers are or should be,” Joyce said. “Then, write your answers out. Read them out loud a few times. Then, say them out loud without reading them. Practice until you can comfortably say your answers out loud without reading them. It’s good to get feedback on your answers, which means saying your answers to someone else. This is great practice.”
Visualize yourself at the interview doing well and answering all of the questions correctly. You can go one step further and create a vision board to help you imagine getting the job and being successful in your new career.
Author Tess Denton said a vision board is a good way to focus on goals for both the present and the future. “A vision board is a method of goal setting and life transformation,” Denton said. “It is a visual expression of what you would like to see present in your life. The process of creating a vision board provides an opportunity to spend focused time and energy reflecting on specific items, elements, and situations you want to attract into your present and future.”
When you’re feeling nervous, your natural response is to take short breaths and breathe faster. Psychologist James Pann says it’s important to slow down and take deep breaths. When faced with a perceived threat, our bodies go into “fight or flight” mode, and this can cause us to react with sweating and increased heart rate. However, once you slow down and focus on taking deeper, controlled breaths, this will help you get back in control of your anxious feelings.
4. Hire a coach
A professional career coach can help you with interview questions, address any concerns you might have about the hiring process, and offer advice on basics, such as presentation skills. A career coach is able to offer solid advice from an object viewpoint. “A great coach can help you to achieve balance in your life, find ways to unravel your patterns, and discover new ways of thinking about who you are in work and in the world,” career coach Mathew Heggem told Monster.
5. Call a friend
Before you head into the office building, take a few moments to call a close friend or family member. He or she can give you a few encouraging words and provide some comfort. Depending on your relationship with this person, the phone call doesn’t have to be serious. You can spend a few minutes just joking around or discussing a funny memory. Laughter can help you relax and release some of your anxiety.
Tension has a way of causing your body to become stiff and tight. If you feel uptight, it will show on your face during the interview and could possibly make you feel self-conscious and even more anxious. Take a moment to stretch your arms and legs. Focus on relaxing your entire body. One way to help you relax is to engage in body scan meditation. This mindfulness technique requires you to be aware of the tension in your body and progressively relax each tension spot.
Smiling might be the last thing you feel like doing in an interview, but it can help reduce stress. This is true even if you force a smile. University of Kansas researchers found that smiling can help you feel better. The act of smiling is not only relaxing, but it can even help lower your heart rate, the researchers said. So, if you often experience a racing heart during interviews, simply smiling could help put you — and your interviewer — at ease.