January 20, 2014

Overcoming Interview Nerves

nervesDo you suffer from interview nerves? If you answered yes you’ll probably not be surprised to learn that you’re not alone. In fact, most people experience a degree of nervousness before and during an interview. Whilst some people can control their nerves and use the excess energy to their advantage others feel trapped and are unable to perform to their best. Moreover, some people completely undermine their chances of success due to out of control interview anxiety.

If you feel that your performance at interviews suffers as a result of your anxiety you’ll be pleased to learn that there are things you can do that will help you lessen those debilitating nerves. Here are five practical tips, some of which you can begin applying immediately.

Tip 1: Attend as many interviews as you can. The more you practice the better you’ll become and the better you become the less nervous you’ll be. The more interviews you attend the less strange and foreign they’ll seem to you. Also, it is likely that you will have some idea of which areas you need improving in which should make you better prepared for the next interview.

Tip 2: Prepare, prepare and prepare. The more prepared you are for the interview the more likely it is that you’ll be able to answer the questions with a high level of authority, and the better you can answer questions the more likely it is that your confidence will grow during the course of the interview. Of course, the opposite happens when you can’t answer a question properly. When you’re preparing make sure you cover all bases including the three very important questions:

• Can you do the job?
• Will you fit it in?
• Are you keen to do a good job?

Tip 3: Avoid thinking that the job you’re going for is, “The perfect job for me and if I don’t get it I’ll never be able to find a job like this one ever again!” These “all or nothing” attitudes are extreme and only serve to unnecessarily heighten anxiety levels. How do you know it’s the “perfect job” for you? Don’t forget that no one really knows what a job is like until they start it. It may seem great on paper but that doesn’t mean it is. And how do you know that there won’t be a better job for you tomorrow or next week or next month?

Tip 4: Avoid trying to give the perfect answer – you’ll only add to your anxiety. If you think about it the perfect answer is a virtual impossibility because what you may think is perfect the interviewer may not. So why not settle for a good answer that covers the important points?

Tip 5: Never belittle yourself. Too many people add to their nervousness levels by not believing that they’re good enough or that they’re as good as their competition. Rather than focusing on their strengths they focus on their weaknesses. It stands to reason that the less you believe in yourself the less confident you’ll be. Don’t think about the competition, after all there’s nothing you can do about it. Just focus on giving the best interview you can.

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