Interview Nerves: 7 Simple Ways to Calm Yourself Before a Job Interview

If you’re one of those people who gets nervous before a job interview, you’re definitely not alone. Interview nerves are extremely common, with more than 90% of candidates experiencing stress and anxiety before, during, and even after a job interview.

In this free guide to calm your interview nerves we will show you:

  • 7 easy methods to calm the anxiety leading up to a job interview
  • 4 must-know steps to help you overcome any stressful situation
  • 6 ways to appear more confident (even if you’re not!)

Plus, make sure to check out our interview preparation guide for more tips and tricks to help you make a standout impression on the day.

Interview nerves

#1 Interview nerves: Over-prepare

Preparation breeds confidence, and there’s no such thing as too much.

Spend a few days before the interview reading up on everything you can find about the organisation, and get familiar with the terms and jargon used in the industry.

You want to have a good understanding of the company’s values, culture, and any relevant projects they’re currently working on so that you can ask and answer questions insightfully.

Pro Tip: Make sure to also prepare a few questions to ask at the end of the interview to show that you’ve given this job opportunity some serious thought. Check out tip #5 in our interview preparation guide for some examples.

#2 Interview nerves: Do a dress rehearsal

Not only will this ensure your interview outfit is prepared in advance (which means one less thing to worry about on the day!), but it will also help ease any mounting nerves.

Ask a trusted friend or family member to play the part of the interviewer, and get them to ask you the toughest questions they can come up with. Play out the most challenging and even worst case scenarios.

This will help you overcome all the “what if’s” that keep running through your mind because you now know how to handle them, and more importantly, that you can handle them.

Pro Tip: Rehearsing is even more important when you’re doing a role play interview, which requires you to think on the spot. These types of interviews are harder to predict and practise for, but you can get some great examples to start you off in our role play interview guide.

#3 Interview nerves: Use the S.T.O.P. method

The S.T.O.P. method is an effective stress reduction technique based on mindfulness principles. You can do the four simple steps anywhere and anytime you feel stressed or anxious, and it will help calm your thoughts and bring you into the present moment.

It’s a great technique to use in the lead-up to your job interview, and especially as you’re sitting in the waiting room just before you go in, which is usually when your nerves will be at their peak.

All you have to do is:

  1. Stop what you’re doing.
  2. Take a few deep breaths.
  3. Observe what you’re thinking and feeling. Let yourself sit with whatever comes up for a few moments.
  4. Proceed with what you were doing with a more informed, conscious intent.

Practise this S.T.O.P. method a few times and you’ll soon be able to relax your body and mind, narrow your focus, and approach the stressful situation more logically without being overcome by emotions and nerves.

Interview nerves

#4 Interview nerves: Get physical

Exercise is an excellent cure for interview nerves and restless thoughts.

It’s a natural stimulant that makes you feel calm and centred (not to mention the obvious health benefits), so try and do some sort of regular physical activity in the days before your interview to get your heart pumping and endorphins flowing.

You don’t need to run a marathon to get the full effect – although a long run around the block or on a treadmill can be very effective if your nerves are making you jumpy or shaky.

But if you don’t want to break a full sweat then go for a brisk walk, do some yoga or pilates, or play tug of war with your dog. Anything that gets your heart rate up will help to energise you and clear your head so you can perform better at the interview.

#5 Interview nerves: Visualise success

Visualising your desired outcome is an extremely effective way to reframe negative thoughts, ease anxiety, and achieve your goals.

By simply visualising yourself doing something, you stimulate the same parts of your brain as when you actually do it. So the more you visualise success, the more real it becomes and the more likely you are to achieve it.

Picture yourself sailing through your job interview and making a fantastic first impression. Imagine all the details and emotions, and let yourself really feel and believe it. There truly is power in positive thinking.

Pro Tip: You might also find it helpful to give yourself a pep talk or repeat confidence-boosting mantras while you visualise. Tell yourself what you need to hear: “I can do this”, “I’m smart and qualified for this role”, and “I’m going to knock this out of the park”.

How to calm nerves before interview

#6: Adjust your body language

One of the most powerful techniques to overcome nerves is to simply act confident, even when you’re not. Your biggest enemy is your own mind, so if you can adopt confident body language, you’ll trick your brain into believing that you’re feeling confident.

Make these conscious adjustments to your body language to appear more confident at your job interview:

  • Stand up (and sit up) straight
  • Maintain eye contact
  • Give a firm handshake
  • Speak slowly and take your time answering questions
  • Keep your hands still (don’t fidget)
  • Smile!

#7: Plan something for afterwards

This is a simple step that can have a hugely positive impact on your state of mind going in to a job interview.

You’re probably not looking forward to the interview itself, but if you plan something fun for yourself afterwards that you can look forward to, it will give you more motivation to power through.

Meet up with a friend, treat yourself to a nice meal, binge watch an entire TV series without feeling guilty. Whatever it is, you deserve it! It’ll give you something pleasant to focus on rather than your nerves.

You’ve got this. Good luck!

Some more guides to help you succeed…

Got a job interview coming up? Don’t worry, be fully prepared with our interview preparation guide.

Does your interview involve some sort of role play? Check out our ultimate role play guide.

Below are some of our most popular aptitude test guides: