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How to Beat Pre-Interview Nerves


Interviews can be scary. Go online, and you won’t be hard pressed to find a plethora of blog posts, articles and studies on everything from wearing the right outfit to asking the proper questions. Well, add this to the canon. The subject: pre-interview nerves.

Job Interview Nerves 

(Photo Credit: Death to the Stock Photo)

The good news and the bad news is that it’s on you. Pre-interview nerves are the same for a job at Starbucks as they are for Goldman Sachs: in your head. These are some of the best tips that we’ve come across over the years from various articles and stories. Follow them, put your mind at ease, and get ready to rock your next interview.

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“Sing a Song. It’ll Make Your Day…”

If you love music, the best gift you can give yourself is a pre-interview song. Your favorite music, whether it’s Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major, or the most pulsating Tiesto track your ears can handle, music of all genres has been proven to calm your heart rate, relax you, and help you to sort out your emotions to a more stable level.

The point is that you’re taking time for yourself before start. Take your mind off of your stress, and get back to your neutral place.

“It’s Like You’re My Mirror. Wa-oh.”

When it comes time to sit down for the interview itself, it’s time to bring out the big guns: a technique called “mirroring.” Mirroring relies on purely subtle observations. The goal is to match your interviewer in a way that makes them feel comfortable: sit in a similar posture, use similar vocabulary, and adopt the same positive enthusiasm. As the above article notes, you should copy their unique quirks outright, or adopt negative characteristics.

If you can pull off mirroring successfully, you’ll make the interviewer feel as comfortable as they can with you.

“You’re So Vain, You Probably Think This [Interview]’s About You…”

When you’re preparing, focus on asking smart questions that will actually help you to learn more about the company any the position — and remember: it’s a conversation. Don’t force it to go in a certain direction, especially when you see a natural opening to other questions.

In this article from Business Insider, the author writes about focusing on being interested, not interesting. Sometimes you can get so inside your own head, that you get caught up in appearing a certain way, and miss many of the subtleties of the natural conversation. When you’re preparing, you want to focus as much as you can on being yourself, and presenting your best self.

At the end of the day, if you’ve been called in for an interview, they like you. You wrote the kind of cover letter and presented the kind of resume that caught their attention. That means that you need to continue to be yourself, and that means remaining calm. Fight your nerves, find your zone, and show those interviewers why they were so right about bringing you in.

Tell Us What You Think!

What’s your best tactic for calming your pre-interview nerves? Tell us your story in the comments below, or join the conversation on Twitter!

Peter Swanson
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