6 Strategies To Overcome Interview Nerves & Perform Better At Interview
Having sat on one side of the interview desk for many years, I got a taste for what it was like to be on the other side last year, when I was interviewed to be added to an international coaching panel. It was an unexpected opportunity to walk my talk, and I’m glad to say that many of my techniques worked.
I often coach people on how to prepare for interviews, and quite regularly the topic comes up about how to deal with nerves at interview, and dealing with brain fog. These are a few of my tips:
- Shift your Focus: Having sat on thousands of panel interviews with clients, let me tell you, quite often they are just as nervous as the candidate. It’s not their regular job to interview people and the pressure is on them to put you at ease, ask the right questions, make sure they get the information they need from you, and make the right decision. So get out of your head by shifting your focus off of your performance and onto the panel and remember it’s their responsibility to get it right.
2. Preparation: Do you know that we can guess what most of the interview questions are going to be, and walk in feeling like you’ve already got 80% of the interview covered? This then leaves 20% of the interview for you to perform on the spot, and even if you only do well for half of that, that still means you can set yourself up to do well for 90% of the interview!! The more you practice, practice, practice, the more confident you can be at the interview in the first place. So prepare your interview responses, record them, and listen to them. This will help the information get embedded in your subconscious, and come to the surface at interview.
3. Breathing: you’re probably picturing someone sitting in the lotus position, eyes closed, and taking deep, noise generating breaths and wondering how that could be achieved at an interview! There is a more practical way. When the interview panel are taking time to ask the question, take the opportunity to make sure you’re taking in slower, deeper breaths. Also, once the question has been asked and you’re thinking of your response, you have time to take in a couple of breaths. Thirdly, even once you start to give your response, if you hit a moment where your thoughts aren’t coming to you, pause, become aware of any tightness in the body, take a breath in and picture it flowing over that area. By the time you’ve finished, you’ll be amazed at how the words come to you after that (in WomanSpeak, we call it the caress of the breath).
4. Slow Down: I can remember years ago, being interviewed, and finding myself talking faster and faster. I made myself feel rushed and was really worked up by the end of the interview. When you slow the pace of your speech down, it can have the flow on effect of putting you in a calmer state. It also has the added benefit of giving yourself more time to think before you talk, and giving the interviewer more time to take in, and remember, your response.
5. Power Pose: I was speaking at an event once, to about 250 people, and I usually love public speaking. However, when I pulled up in the car park, I noticed that my body had the shakes. I remembered Amy Cuddy’s TedTalk on the PowerPose, and took myself off to the bathroom, stood in a cubicle, arms stretched out above my head (like Superman), and stood there for a minute. By the end of that minute, I felt more confident and the shakes had stopped (the body/mind connection). Now clearly you can’t strike this pose during an interview, however, you can do it before you go in. Then when you’re in the interview, be mindful of how you are sitting – up straight, shoulders back, not slumped forward.
6. Reframe: By the time you walk into the interview, you’ve done your preparation as best you can, and it is now up to fate and whatever events unfold in that room. I’ve spoken to thousands of people after interview and have noticed that when they come out and say “It all just flowed”, they often get the job. Have you ever heard people say that when it’s meant to be, it all just falls into place? So a great quote to remind yourself of before you go in for an interview comes from Matt Kahn and it’s “What ever is truly meant for you won’t miss you”. When I say this quote, it fives me a sense of calm and acceptance. Try it!
If you’d like to know how to prepare for an interview, check out my Make It Happen Program
(Remember to get your copy of Careers Awakening: How To Align Your Career With Your Soul Purpose here.)