In this post, we will look at quick and effective ways to relax before an interview, whether you’ve got days, hours, or just minutes to get cool, calm, and collected.
The big day is finally here, you’ve put hours of preparation for this moment, and suddenly you’re feeling anxious and nervous.
Don’t let this feeling overcome you. Take a moment and breathe. You’re in control.
Now, firstly let’s acknowledge that the nerves and anxiety you’re feeling is a good thing. It shows you care about the interview and that you’re human! The majority of people feel nervous and anxious before a big job interview. The goal here is to channel these pre-interview nerves into something positive.
Let’s have a look at how…
Steps on how to relax before an interview
Does squeezing your buttocks before an interview really calm your nerves? Or how about singing Humpty dumpty with your tongue sticking out as far as possible? We’ve researched the web and found the most amazing tips to help calm your nerves before an interview.
Take a break the night before
If you’re feeling anxious and nervous before the big interview tomorrow, give yourself a break and take a night off from the preparation (if you’ve done amble preparation leading up to this day, that is!)
Do something fun and relaxing, but that won’t give you a hangover or feel rubbish the next day!
Laughter releases feel-good hormones, which reduces anxiety. So watch a comedy, have a good soak in the bath or hang out with a good friend- but be responsible and have an early night for a great sleep ahead.
Prepare for the worst
We know you can’t prepare for every situation, but planning with potential hiccups in mind can save you the world of a bad interview experience. I once split my pencil skirt right before a job interview, but luckily I had some safety pins in my bag (randomly), which helped secure my skirt together for the interview duration!
If I hadn’t had any quick wardrobe malfunction quick fixes, I’m not even sure I’d have been able to attend the interview. So take a spare change of clothes, some wet wipes, maybe a toothbrush or some mints. You never know what could happen.
Plan something to look forward to after the interview
Plan something that will excite or relax you after the interview. Give yourself that special something awesome to look forward to. If you’re ever feeling overwhelmed or anxious in the interview, think about the nice plans you have later and let it calm you back down. It is a great distraction method to help calm down nerves.
Have a good but normal meal prior to the interview
In the morning before your interview, don’t try out something fancy for breakfast that you’ve never tried before. Experiment with new food, but don’t try new or overindulge in food right before your interview. You don’t want to upset your tummy unnecessarily.
Call a good and uplifting friend or family member
Try to get in good spirits before your interview. If you feel your nerves taking over, call someone you love, trust, and laugh with to give you a pep talk and lessen your anxiety.
Do something that makes you feel good
If listening to music, doing a dance or singing a song gets you in a good mood and pumps you up, you should try it. Fill your mind with exciting energy that makes you confident and happy.
Carry out some mindfulness breathing exercises
When waiting for your interview, take a few moments to acknowledge the present moment with some deep breaths in for a count of 3 and drawing out the exhale for a count of 5. This will help lower your heart rate and keep you composed.
You’ll also find this is a great technique for ensuring you don’t speak too fast.
Work on your voice
Before the interview, whether in your car or head to a public restroom, you should warm up your vocal cords to avoid your voice shaking or sounding different in your interview.
One of the best ways to do this is to stick your tongue all the way out and recite Humpty Dumpty, the nursery rhyme out loud. - Just make sure all the stalls in the restroom are empty first! Notice how the back of your throat is opening more, and you can regain control over your voice.
Go for a walk
One of the best things you can do to relax nerves and increase endorphins before an interview is to go for a walk. Not only will it clear your head, but the increased flow of blood around your body from an increased heart rate will help you become more switched on and alert while also improving your appearance with added colour to your cheeks - looking healthier.
Look in the mirror and clean up
Before the interview, it may help your confidence to check how you look in the mirror. Check your teeth, don't have food stuck, or your lippy isn’t smudged. And importantly, wash your hands and fingernails, making sure your palms are dry. You don’t want the interviewer to shake your sweaty palm.
Use your stress to your advantage
Remember we mentioned channelling your nerves for positivity? Many public speakers will acknowledge their feelings of nerves and stress before going on stage. While stress and adrenaline are highly correlated, you can tell yourself “I’m excited” instead of “I’m calm”, just like those public speakers to channel the extra nerves into being pumped and energetic for the interview.
Reframe your nervous energy into excited energy- make a negative feeling positive one. This will help you perform much better.
Stand up while waiting
When waiting for your interview, you may be offered a room and a seat while waiting for your interviewer. One great tip suggests that you should stand and greet the interviewer confidently while meeting them at their level.
Otherwise, you risk your first impression of yourself fumbling to get up off a chair as they approach you from a standing position.
Make friendly conversation with staff as you wait
While waiting for your interview, make a friendly conversation with the receptionist or other people in the waiting area. This will not only lower any nerves you’re feeling, but it can also be a positive way to leave a good impression with other people other than your interviewers. Often interviewers will ask other staff, such as the reception team or doormen, what they thought of you. All the interactions you have with others will influence their decision.
How to overcome nervousness during interview
How to stop shaky hands
If you’ve got a nervous shake in your hands, a great tip Robin Kermode (author of Speak So Your Audience Will Listen) suggests clenching your thigh and buttocks muscles. When we focus on squeezing and tensing these muscles, we can regain control and stop our shaky hands.
This will also make you feel and appear more confident and the muscle tensing going unnoticed by the interviewer.
Sit slightly forward on your chair
Sitting slightly forward on your chair can make you appear more dynamic and feel more confident. If you recline with the back of the chair, it can easily make you lean too far back which can tighten your throat and affect your speaking voice.
Show your hands
This is a basic but reliable piece of advice I’m sure everyone has heard of. - Go figure! If you can have your hands visible either resting in your lap or clutched lightly on the table in front of you, you give off the impression you're more honest.
However, clutching your hands tightly, waving them frantically as you speak or even hiding them are all bad signs that show you’re nervous and unpredictable.
Maintaining eye contact is important during an interview. It’s one of the fastest body language signals that show you’re paying attention and you’re engaged in the conversation. - And remember, your interview is just that, a conversation.
If there are multiple interviewers, look at each of them and pay attention to the person speaking.
Smiling is one of the simplest ways to connect with another person. When appropriate, smile at your interviewers and engage in some positivity. This will make you appear more relaxed and approachable. Try to use humour and laughing to bridge connectivity with your interviewers. If they make a joke, laugh with them, and demonstrate how attentive you are.
Don’t touch your face
Touching your face is associated with negative connotations. It suggests you're dishonest and untrustworthy. Likewise, if you’re scratching your head, playing with hair or rubbing your neck, you suggest you're bored.
Mirror body language
Lastly, if you’re unsure how to compose yourself, the best technique to rely on is mirroring your interviewer.
When you mirror someone's posture, body language or sitting position, it suggests you’re on the same wavelength, and it makes the other person feel more comfortable.
But be sure not to take this too far by copying every little movement and shift exactly. You don't want them to pick up on the fact you’re mirroring them.
The language we use to talk to ourselves has a potent effect on our beliefs and actions. You may hear people preach ‘the mind over matter! And for the large part, it couldn’t be more true. Your internal voice and how you speak to yourself can completely change the way you feel. Give yourself some love and an insider pep talk on how you prepare for this interview. Take a proactive stance on your interview and take ownership of all the steps you’ll be taking prior.
Instead of saying, “I have to practice for my interview” (like someone is forcing you!) You should change your internal voice and say, “I want to practice for my interview”. It’s a subtle difference but changes the context from being forced to do something against your wishes or choosing to do them for yourself.
Is it ok to admit you are nervous at an interview?
While it can help the interviewer acknowledge your feelings of nervousness, we recommend that you avoid admitting to an interviewer that you’re nervous. Here’s why:
- Everyone gets nervous, telling the interviewer your nervousness can come off as a ‘please go easy on me’ plea that only harms your image.
- Admitting your nervousness doesn’t alleviate the tension you feel, nor does it lower your anxiety- it may actually feed it depending on the interviewer's response- which you won’t be able to predict!
- Interviewers will be able to tell if you’re nervous, admitting to it only causes you to look insecure and unconfident.
Here’s what to do instead:
- Try to reduce your nervousness before going into an interview with the tips above.
- Pause and take a moment to compose yourself before answering. It may seem like minutes to you, but only seconds would have passed in reality. It’s better to take a deep breath and think clearly on your answer rather than rushing to blurt out anything that comes to mind.
- Don’t fumble or get caught up if you think you’ve answered a question badly. Close up your answer and move on from it. Don’t try to excuse your answer with, “sorry I’m just so nervous”. It comes across as insincere and like you’re trying to shirk away responsibility for your answer.
- Fake it until you make it! Candidates who are confident, sure in themselves and take ownership of their answers are more successful than those who aren't.
- Finally, if your nerves are really impacting your performance within your interview there is a way to inform your interviewer the nerves are getting the better of you in a more positive way. Phrase it positively like this, “I’m very excited about the possibility of this position, so I’m a little nervous.”
But keep in mind that there is often no upside to stating, “I’m so nervous!” It typically won’t increase your chances of getting the role and more often comes off as you are inexperienced or unable to handle stress. This is especially important to consider depending on the type of role you’re applying for. Anything managerial level is a 100% no go! However, you may be forgiven if this is your first part-time job.
We hope this post has helped with your pre-interview nerves, and you’ve learnt some great techniques on how to relax before an interview.
For more information on preparing for an interview, you should look at our post on the STAR technique for interviewing and why you should practice it?
Good luck with your interview! If you found this post helpful, please share it on your social media page and tag us!