Conquering nerves


Interviews can be a scary business, particularly if you haven’t been at a job interview for a while. However, interview formats have moved on since the days of Spud’s infamous scene in Trainspotting. It is now recognised that a conversational approach will work better than an interrogation and the interview process is less intimidating and designed to put you at ease. Here are a few strategies that will also help you settle the nerves and perform your best:

Prepare thoroughly for your interview:

Preparation is key to conquering nerves.

Analyse the job description and person specification and match to your skills and experience. This will help you to answer any questions fluently and ensure that you are providing the interviewers with the information they are looking for.

Practice answering questions with a friend or coach. There is no better way to improve your answers than being put on the spot and having to verbalise what is in your head.

Research the company thoroughly. The better prepared you are, the more confident you will feel.

Get organised:

Route plan and check that the sat-nav is correct. Do a dummy run, particularly if you know you will need to be there during rush hour. Get ready the day before: clothes ironed, shoes cleaned, card/cash for transport or parking, print a spare copy of your cv and make sure that you will be ready to go with minimal fuss.

Aim to arrive in good time and in a calm manner. Sometimes delays cannot be helped. Don’t panic! If you know you will be late, phone in advance and advise of the delay and the reason for it. You may be able to be rescheduled for a later interview slot or another day.

At the interview

Think about the process from the perspective of the interviewer. Remember that the interviewer also has a lot invested in the process and your cv or application form has already made a positive impact.

At interview you have an audience interested to hear about your work achievements and day to day responsibilities. Treat it as a conversation and an opportunity to share your skills and experience. Listen carefully to the questions being asked and ask for clarification if the question is a bit woolly.

Be enthusiastic, interested in the role and the company and ask lots of questions when given the opportunity (this is when your research pays off). Interviews are a two-way process and the more rapport you build with those interviewing you, the better impression you will give.

After the interview

Remember that although the selection process is very personal for you, the decisions made by the recruitment team will be based on a wide selection of criteria and can be very objective. Not getting the job may not be because someone isn’t a ‘good’ candidate but can be down to someone else having more directly relevant experience or a specific skill that you don’t have. There is nothing that you can do in interview about this so try not to worry about the other candidates. Focus only on your relevant skills and experience and what you can bring to the role.

If you are unsuccessful, try not to let it dent your confidence further. Ask for constructive feedback from your interviewer and use the experience to improve on your next one. Best of luck!


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