Job interviews are one of those times in life when we all feel a little (or a lot) nervous. But it doesn't have to be that way. Below we have offered up 10 handy tips for beating those job interview nerves into dust.
"Fail to prepare, then prepare to fail" as Benjamin Franklin once said. Preparing for any job interview will give you confidence on the day. One way to do this is to research the company that you're applying to so that you can feel safe in the knowledge that if a question about what the company does comes up, you have an answer. Also, prepare by thinking about questions that might be asked and thinking about how best to answer them.
Rehearse in front of a family member, a friend or the mirror. Don't try to memorise the answers, but having a dry run through a few times before the interview will put you in the right frame of mind for answering tricky questions. It will also mean that you don't have to think totally on your feet, which can be stressful at the best of times, much less in a situation when answering questions delivered by people you want to work for.
Don't speak too fast
If in doubt, slow down. Speaking with a clear, slow and deliberate voice suggests you have total command of your emotions and a clear idea of what you want to say. When asked a question, rather than jumping in to answer it straight away, pause. Pausing gives the impression that you are being thoughtful about your answers, rather than trying to rush to the next question.
Stand up while you wait
They say you win or lose a job interview in the first 10 seconds. By standing up while you wait you will appear relaxed and confident. You will also greet your interviewer at their level straight away rather than having to look up to meet them, then struggle out of a chair to follow them.
It is important that you answer the questions being asked, not answer the question you thought you heard. So listen carefully to what your interviewer says. If need be ask them to repeat the question and then use their question in your first sentence. This will help you steer your answer in the right direction from the off.
QUESTION: "When did you last work well in a team?" ANSWER: "I last worked well in a team when ..."
QUESTION: "What do you feel your strengths are?" ANSWER: "I feel my strengths are ..."
Smiling is a sign that you're relaxed and that you are a people-person. So smile when greeting your interviewer. Smile again when you enter and exit the interview room. By all means smile when you have answered a question, though don't appear smug or cocky as this will not play well.
Smiling shows you're confident and that you see the interview more as a positive conversation rather than an uncomfortable grilling.
Wear something you feel confident and comfortable in
Dress appropriately for the interview. If the interview is for an office job or a managerial role, always wear a suit. If you're a plumber going to quote up a job, wear something smart and clean. First impressions count, so don't let what you wearing let you down.
That said, wear something you feel comfortable in. If you have smart clothes and like what you wear, don't go out and buy something you're not sure about. If you've never worn a pin-stripe suit before, an important job interview is not the best time to try this look out. You will feel uncomfortable, and this will show.
Look the interviewer(s) in the eye
When the interviewer is talking always look them in the eye. When you deliver your answers look them in the eye for the majority of the time. It is human nature to look away whilst thinking, but once you have retrieved what you want to say, deliver your answers with confidence, which means looking at the interviewer.
It is better to be 10 minutes early to a job interview than 2 minutes late. So plan your route to the interview location and set off in plenty of time. Arriving early shows you're keen and professional. Arriving late doesn't.
Practicing breathing techniques before the interview date and while you wait. It doesn't need to be deep breathes, but it does need to be slow and controlled. This will lower your heart rate and settle your nerves. Practice 5 slow breathes in and out while waiting and you'll enter the interview room in a relaxed and calm manner.
If you have any other tips to beat job interview nerves, we'd love to hear them. You can share them below.