The importance of appearing cool, calm, and collected for a job interview can’t be emphasized enough. You know that you know your stuff, but the stress of an interview can throw off even the most knowledgeable applicants. Although it’s nearly impossible to completely get rid of the nerves, there are things you can do to keep your stress and nerves to a minimum. We’ve distilled it down into 4 things you can do before your interview to fight stress.
- 1. Do your research -- It seems like a no-brainer, but do your due diligence on the company where you’re applying. Just basic information doesn’t cut it; put your social media and networking skills to good use. Find out where the company has been lately, what they’re doing to advance the industry, and other people in similar positions are talking about. The more you know, the better prepared you’ll be to answer any questions your interviewer will have.
- 2. Practice, practice, practice -- Here’s your chance to get mentally pumped up. Practice your answers in front of a mirror, in front of your friends, in front of relatives, anyone who’s willing to listen. When you know your answers inside and out, saying them to the interviewer will be automatic. There are lists upon lists floating around the internet that have common and uncommon interview questions. Have ideas for most and concrete answers for some of them. When you’re sitting before the interviewer, you’ll know the types of questions they’ll ask and can answer them easily.
- 3. Prepare ahead of time -- Before the big day arrives, get as many of the necessaries out of the way as possible so there’s no last-minute scrambling. Visit the location before your interview so you’re not struggling to find it on the all important day and have directions queued up on your phone as a back up. Try on, clean, and lay out your interview outfit well before your scheduled date. Print out multiple copies of your resume and have questions for your interviewer written down in a notebook.
- 4. Treat yourself -- You’ve done everything you can: researched, practiced, prepared. All that’s left is waiting. In the meantime, treat yourself to something that you know will relax you. Get as many good nights of sleep as you can ahead of time. Recognize that you’ve gotten to the interview stage; you impressed someone enough on paper that they want to meet you in person. That’s worth a little bit of treating yourself.
These things won’t eliminate interview stress completely. There’s always the chance that something changes last minute, that you blank on the answer you had nailed last night, or that life just gets in the way. Accept that you can’t control everything, but you’ve gotten a handle on everything you could.
If you’ve done your research, practiced and prepared, and got a little relaxation beforehand, you can walk into the interview confident that you’ve done all you could.