Interview nerves are something most people can relate to, whether it’s butterflies in the stomach, sweaty palms (be sure to discreetly wipe these before shaking hands!), or something else minor like that.
But sometimes, the pre-interview jitters can be serious enough to affect your interview performance.
Recently, a candidate I was working with asked me: Interviews make me really nervous, and I end up forgetting everything I want to say or ask. How can I overcome this?
It’s pretty common to be nervous during an interview. After all, it is a situation that you may not be used to. However, if your nerves are getting in the way of you being your normal, amazing self, there are a few things that might help:
1. Remember: You Are There for a Reason!
Don’t forget that when you are invited to an interview, it means the organization thinks you might be a great match for the role. The hiring managers wants to talk to you and find out more about you!
2. Make Notes
When you are doing your pre-interview research, make some notes to refer back to during the interview itself. Jot down the names and titles of the people you are meeting with, why you are interested in the company and role, the stories about your experience you want to highlight, and the questions you want to ask.
When it comes to these notes, the shorter the better. Bullet points or a few words that will jog your memory are all you need here. If you write full sentences and answers, you could end up reading off the page and miss your chance to engage with the hiring manager.
3. Practice, Practice, and Practice Some More
You know your experience and why you are a great fit better than anyone else – so practice talking about it. Write stories, talk through your resume, and answer common interview questions until you feel comfortable in what you are saying. Get a friend involved to do a mock interview, or record yourself so you can watch it back. The more comfortable you are with your stories, the easier they will be to tell during your interview.
4. See the Interview as Just Another Conversation
It really is! So ask questions, tell stories, and be yourself. A successfuly interview is not about simply answering questions and hoping they like you. You need to know if this role is a good fit for you, so really try to assess whether this is the role/organization where you want to spend eight hours a day, five days a week.
5. The Person Interviewing You Might Be Nervous, Too
Hiring managers get interview nerves, too. Maybe they don’t interview often, or maybe they just really need to fill this role and are desperate to find someone great. Furthermore, they want to make a great impression just as much as you do – after all, they want you to leave the interview wanting the job!
6. Know That Your Interviewer Wants You to Succeed
I have never met a recruiter or hiring manager who wants the candidate they are interviewing to tank it. They want to find the best candidate as quickly as possible, and the hiring process is time-consuming and costly. Before every interview, they are hoping that the candidate who walks through that door is going to be the one.
So take some deep breaths, make some notes, and be yourself! That is the person the hiring team needs to see. You are there for a reason, and you will be amazing!
Stacey Gleeson is the founder and job search/interview coach at Primed Interviews. If you have a question about your job search, send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.