If you are anything like me, getting nervous during interviews can bring out bad habits. For some it may be bouncing a leg, saying “umm” to fill silence, or rushing through answers. For me, my nerves exhibit themselves in the form of nervous laughter.
These nervous habits can be very distracting to a potential employer during an interview and take away from the outstanding credentials you have as a candidate. Due to the fact that I had to overcome these habits myself, I want to share some tricks for beating the nerves during an interview. To be certain you stand out from the competition, couple these nerve-calming tips with these and you should be successful.
One way to calm your nerves before you even step foot into the interview is to do a little bit of research on the company and/or the interviewer. The night before the interview, practice answering questions and focus your answers around your strengths. For example, if they ask ,"What is your biggest weakness?" you can answer in the following manner, "I tend to get tunnel vision when it comes to getting my projects completed. To help me balance out my other tasks, I assign time for each project in order of importance." This allows you to answer the question but also lets your interviewer know you already have thought through a solution. If you aren't sure what types of questions an interviewer may ask you, check out these . Preparing for your interview will give you confidence and lessen your nerves.
Many people feel the urge to move when they are nervous. Nervous energy can manifest in many ways, including bouncing a leg, shifting in their chair, or adjusting their clothing. One method to combat nervous energy that works for me is to place my hands on the tops of my knees during interviews. When I get anxious, I press my fingers into the tops of my knees to channel my energy.
Another strategy I've found effective is interlocking my fingers like I was holding my own hand. Then, when I get anxious, I squeeze my hands. This allows for the nervous energy to have an outlet that is not distracting and allows you to stay focused on the conversation. For additional ways to properly channel nervous energy, check out these.
Filling the Silence
Interviewees often rush into answering a question before they have fully collected their thoughts in fear of silence. Some believe that silence is a poor reflection on their capabilities to think on their feet, but this is not the case. When asked a question I try to take a few seconds to collect my thoughts before responding. Taking a pause will reduce the amount of “umms” or other filters in your responses while allowing you to have a more thorough answer. Taking a brief pause shows that you think through your responses and it reflects more confidence in your responses.
It is a natural reaction, when we are nervous, to speed talk during an important conversation and fly through answers. When in an interview, rushing through answers may cause the interviewer to not understand what you are saying or reflect a lack of confidence in your responses, hurting your chances as a candidate. To help prepare for this, practice slowing down your speech before the interview and find a good rhythm to keep while speaking. This will help the interviewer understand your responses and help you appear more confident in what you are saying. Before answering take a breath, this will help calm your nerves and slow your pace.
Being nervous is natural, but these tricks will help boost your confidence and allow you to be your best during the interview.
Once you've learned to calm your nerves and have successfully completed the interview, you're ready to take the next step.