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Nervous man


By David White - 14th November 2017  |  Career Management , Individuals

Every week, INS runs workshops to coach participants on how to put their best foot forward in a job interview. Inevitably at every workshop, someone asks the question “How can I feel less nervous before an interview?”

Despite what the pharmaceutical companies might claim, there is no magic bullet for curing pre-interview anxiety. But there are a range of things you can do that will both help you to calm those butterflies and be in the best shape to perform.

1. Make sure your clothing is comfortable and you like how you look

Ok, so this doesn’t mean you should arrive in your favourite tracksuit pants and a pair of slippers. Of course, it is important to dress well and in keeping with what you know about the organisation. But don’t make the mistake of choosing the shirt that pinches at the collar, the skirt with the painful waistband or those shoes that kill your feet.

Pain or discomfort can work as a distraction and make you feel even more anxious to get the interview over and done with. Feeling comfortable in your clothes and good about how you look will make you feel more confident in yourself and the outcome.

2. Be prepared

Do your homework!

Landing a great job doesn’t happen by fluke. You earn it with the preparation you do beforehand. Get to know as much as you can about the job, the organisation and what you want to say about yourself in the interview. Anxiety thrives on the unknown and if you undertake effective preparation, you will already have a good idea about what questions to expect and how you are going to answer them.

So follow the Scouts motto and BE PREPARED to reduce your nerves.

Woman holding a power pose3. Try power poses!

When you feel anxious, your palms get sweaty, your heart beats faster and your stomach churns. This in turn sends a message to your brain – “I’m nervous, there must be something wrong!”

Practice power poses in front of a mirror. Picture Wonder Woman’s hands on hips stance. This sends a message to the brain that you are feeling grounded, confident and ready to roll.

See Amy Cuddy’s TED talk for more info on Power Poses.

4. Take the pressure off yourself

Have you ever attended an interview that you weren’t super keen on and walked out feeling like you aced it?

That is the power of detachment.

Anxiety can come from putting a whole lot of pressure on the outcome of an interview. It can feel as if your whole life depends on it. But remember it’s just a job, right?

Remind yourself this is not the end of the world. Your levels of anxiety come right down and you will find the real secret to winning at a job interview. 

5. Breathe

When we are nervous, we tend to take shallow breaths. This is in preparation for running from a vicious lion. A charming hang over from our prehistoric ancestors.

Shallow chest breathing causes you to breathe out carbon dioxide too quickly. This is before your body has a chance to make more, which can cause you to feel light-headed and compounding your anxious feelings.

Deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in the body. Breathing slowly and deeply into your abdomen can help you relax. It tricks your body to feel like it does when you are actually relaxed. Get your body on your side and together you will knock ‘em dead!

For more great interview tips and other career info see the Career Chronicles blog.

by Sherryn McCarthy
Senior Facilitator

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