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7 Steps to Beating Job Interview Nerves

Topics: Career Advice

Think of the worst first date you’ve ever had, then top it with the added pressure of a potential paycheck (and a distinct lack of cocktails and good lighting) and you’ve got yourself an anxiety super-storm. Before you reach for that paper bag to breathe into, take a few moments to get your head on straight, and you’ll be knocking the socks off of Tina in HR in no time.

job interview nerves

(Photo Credit: Tim Gouw/Pexels)

Step 1: Know Your Enemy, er Potential Future Employer

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The easiest thing you can do is get yourself some intel on the other side of the table. Start with the company’s website and digest their public-facing messages to know how they like to present themselves in the world. Google the company and read press releases, news stories, magazine profiles of the CEO, and so on, to get an even broader picture.

Step 2: Go for the Inside Scoop

Check out their profile on sites like LinkedIn, where they might list jobs and provide an easy path to connect with employees. This narrows down the task of finding an inside man, so to speak, and is a heck of a lot easier than stalking bars near the office complex after quitting time. If you can connect with a current employee, talk to them about the job, department, work culture … anything at all, really, that might give you a better sense of what it’s like to work there (and if you’d be successful).

Step 3: Put Your Best Foot Forward (Online)

How do you stack up on the internets? If you don’t have a personal website where you can showcase your past accomplishments, think about creating one. If your potential employer hasn’t searched for you yet, they certainly will in the future. Knowing that your digital presence speaks well for you is just one less thing for you to worry about.

Step 4: Polish Your Battle Armor

Besides a shave and a haircut, make sure you’re looking sharp when you hit the doors of the office building. Try on your potential interview outfit and make sure everything fits and is in working order. The time to replace a missing button or broken zipper isn’t five minutes before you should be heading out the door, it’s NOW. Try out everything from shoes to coats with your outfit, and if you need to make a substitution, do it mindful of the weather, the work environment, and the impression you want to make during the interview. If your clothes fit well and give you a sense of professional well-being, you’ll be more relaxed during your interview.

Step 5: Plan Your Route

Not only do you need the address for the interview location, you should also research how to get there via your mode of transit, whether it’s car, public transit, or velocipede. Make sure you know things like exits to take, potential construction, where you’re going to park, how long it should take for you to get there (with traffic), etc. Knowing how you’ll get from point A to point B can help you relax on game day, and make sure you’re not late, too.

Step 6: Practice Talking the Talk

We don’t usually spend a lot of time talking about ourselves, but at an interview, you’ll have to do just that. Make sure you take a little time to practice your “elevator pitch” about what makes you a great candidate, and why they should hire you. Look at your resume, and make sure you can talk about your past experiences in a meaningful way (including any bad times) and what you hope to get out of this new job. When you have your spiel down pat, you’ll sound polished during your interview, even if your stomach is full of butterflies.

Step 7: Know What You’re Worth

Do your homework. Knowing how much you should be paid is a great confidence booster when you’re in the interview phase. PayScale can help with our Salary Survey. Just plug in a few details, and you’ll have the full picture on what that new job should be offering you. You might be worth more than you thought!

Tell Us What You Think

What was your worst interview experience? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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