Being nervous before or during an interview can ruin your chances of getting a job. It can affect your body language, speech, confidence and also performance. In an already stressful situation it is an issue that has to be dealt with.

The good news is that by following some simple procedures and steps you can control and reduce your anxiety. Nervousness during an interview CAN be controlled.


Keep everything in perspective
Remind yourself that worst that can happen if you fail at the interview is that you will not get the job, nothing else. Remember that there are many other jobs that you can apply for and that you have nothing to worry about.


Go to as many interviews as you can.
The more interviews you go to the more experienced you will become and the less you will dread them.


Debrief after every interview
After each interview sit down and write down what you feel you did wrong and what you felt you did right. Then make notes on what to do in your next interview.


Research the company
Look at the companies website, their products, services and industry, the more you learn about a prospective employer the more confident you will feel.


Think happy thoughts
Just prior to the interview think about positive and happy experiences you have had, like family outings, holidays etc. This can help relax you considerably.


Sitting down during the interview
Assume a posture that is not uncomfortable and that allows you to breath deeply and slowly without straining.


During the interview take deep slow breaths to get oxygen to your brain. Also just before entering the interview room take deep breaths and hold it in for a count of five, then let it out for a count of five.


Clothes and grooming – look good…feel good
Focus on looking good, take time to wear the right clothes and to look good. Ensure you have brushed your teeth and that your breath smells fresh. All of these little points will help make you feel more confident about yourself and your ability.


Arrive early
Get there with time to spare, this will help to settle down and make you feel in control. If you arrive 3 minutes before the interview you will feel rushed and not in the right frame of mind.


Prepare for the interview
Make sure you have plenty of time to prepare and arrive for the interview. Plan and prepare what you are going to wear the day before. Also plan your travel preparations the day before.


Everyone gets nervous
Reassure yourself by remembering that you are not the only one who gets nervous at an interview. Virtually every other job applicant will feel the same.


Go for a walk before the interview
Get some fresh air and go for a 10 or 15 minute brisk walk before the interview starts.


Get a good nights sleep before the interview date. Feeling tired and irritable is the last thing you need.


Avoid energy drinks or coffee before an interview
These are stimulants and if you are nervous they may make your condition worse.


Have a calming ritual
Many people have a certain procedure or ritual that they follow which relaxes them and helps them cope with interviews. This could be anything from going for a short walk, taking a shower, having a light meal to wearing a certain pair of socks. These may sound odd but they do work for many people by physiologically making them feel more comfortable.


The symptoms of interview nerves:

  • Thumping heart
  • Sweating
  • Stammering
  • Excessive head shaking and nodding
  • Dry mouth
  • Faintness
  • Shaky hands
  • Sweaty hands


What not to do prior to an interview
Do not take any alcohol or drugs.


Related links
Establishing a rapport with a interviewer
Interview questions and answers
Interview preparation
Interview tips
Job interview tips
Typical interview questions
University interview questions
What to wear to an interview