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Top tips on overcoming job interview nerves.

By on 05.11.15 in Your Job Search

Anyone who says they don't get nervous before a job interview is telling fibs. Indeed a few nerves are always a good thing - over confidence can be off-putting to prospective employers as candidates can appear arrogant. However, a gibbering wreck is equally unappealing, as it will put doubt into the minds of the interviewers as to whether you will cope with the responsibilities of the job. 

Here at Direct Recruitment, we often have to help brilliant candidates overcome their nerves before an important interview, so they can present their very best self. Here are our top tips for keeping those nerves in check on your big day. 

1.     Be prepared

It sounds obvious, but preparation is key. You need to be organised. Firstly, plan your route - allow extra time in case there is a problem with transport or the location involves a walk and might be tricky to find. Decide what you are wearing in advance - and check the weather forecast, so you can locate a raincoat or brolly ahead of time, rather than turning your house upside down two minutes before you need to leave. Get any documents together and make sure they are properly presented and lastly, do your research. We can't stress this point enough. Nerves will melt away if you know the organisation you are hoping to work for inside out. Make sure you also have examples of campaigns you admire to hand as well as the answer to the ubiquitous question 'why do you want to work for us?' - it is bound to come up, so prepare and you won't be stumped for an answer. 

2.     Be Fresh

By being fresh, we don't mean smelling nice - although a shower before an interview is always a good look. It is about having an early night and relaxing. Have a nice warm bath and watch a fun film or read a comforting book. Don't go on the lash with friends in a bid to calm yourself down ahead of your big day - a job interview with a hangover and a side order of nerves is a recipe for disaster. You want to be bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready to show them how brilliantly competent you are. 

3.     Fuel up right

Without wishing to sound like your mother, we would advise eating a good breakfast. Porridge is perfect - filling, nutritious and slow to release it's energy. Avoid anything potent - you don't want to kill the interviewers with bad breath! One cup of coffee is plenty, overdosing on caffeine will make you edgy and will exacerbate symptoms of nervousness. And while we're in the subject of nerves, don't be tempted by a quick ciggie beforehand as the smell will linger! 

4.     Don't speak too fast

Nerves tend to make us speed up, especially when you are in full fight or flight mode, so while you're waiting for your interview, breathe in through your nose very slowly for a count of three. Then breathe out through your nose for a count of three. Repeat. By doing this, you will have significantly lowered your heart rate and when you speak, you'll find you won't rush and you will be much calmer. 

5.     Stay positive

Imagine yourself at the interview in total control of the situation, everything going swimmingly and you have a big smile on your face. You are answering all the questions just as you'd hope. It sounds corny, but it works. On the day, remember that smiling releases endorphins (as does chocolate) that can instantly cheat the brain into making you feel happier - plus a smiling candidate is better than one who looks like they are about to be sick. 


So here are the main takeaways you need to remember to calm your nerves and nail that interview. 96% of job seekers find it hard to relax the night before an interview, so avoid tired eyes and try to get plenty of rest. Common interview fears include being late, not knowing how to answer certain questions and not conveying all your key skills effectively. To allay these concerns make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get to the interview, and make sure you're prepared. Stay positive - it's only a job interview, not a death sentence. And last but certainly not least, do remember to breathe and smile!