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Good news. You’ve got an interview! But as the day approaches, the nerves start to kick in.  Not that it’s completely a bad thing to have some nerves on interview day. However, if your nerves are likely to take over the interview, then you may need some help.

You’ve researched the company, you’ve read and re-read the job role, you know your CV inside out, and you’ve pre-empted every interview question. You’re calm and prepared; then you’re asked to take a seat and suddenly you’re a nervous wreck.  Don’t worry, it’s happened to the most successful people too. So, how can you stop the interview nerves?

Get planning

Be prepared and know where you are going for your interview.  Find out exactly where and when your interview is taking place and plan your journey accordingly in advance.  If you’re not sure about how long the journey will take you, or are unsure of the area, such as where to park, do a trial run before the day.

If you need to take any documents or certificates with you, make sure you have them printed out and ready to take with you in a folder the day before the interview.

Who are you meeting?

Make sure you know the name, or names, of the people you are meeting and find out a bit about them, i.e. via LinkedIn or company profiles.  It is good to know if your interview will be one-on-one or if there will be a panel of interviewers. This will help you prepare for your interview.

What are you going to wear?

Decide in advance your outfit for the interview.  It has to be clean, it has to be ironed, not too tight or you’ll be uncomfortable and avoid wearing a brand new pair of shoes.  For men, a smart suit (no outrageous colours) with a shirt – not too tight at the neck – socks and shoes. For women, an outfit that is smart yet comfortable.

Use the S.T.O.P. method

Chris Charyk, an executive coach at The Boda Group, recommends using the S.T.O.P. approach to help calm any interview nerves.  S.T.O.P. stands for:

  • Stop what you’re doing and focus your thoughts.
  • Take some deep breaths.
  • Observe how your body is reacting; your emotions, your mind and your feelings.
  • Proceed with the intention to incorporate your observations into your actions.

The theory behind the technique is that it helps you to slow down, be deliberate in what you do and say, and empowers you to be the great person you are.

Treat it like a conversation

Before you walk into your interview, take a deep breath and remind yourself that you are sitting down to have a conversation with one, two or three people about your career.  Your interview is not just about them finding out about you, it’s also you finding out about them and the company.

If you are really suffering from anxiety before an interview, use CBT techniques (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) to calm your nerves, such as:

  • Recognise negative thoughts and turn them into positive ones.
  • Visualise your success rather than your failure.
  • Turn your negative inner dialogue into positive self-talk.

Lauren Povey, a CBT therapist, says: “Your performance is influenced by what you think you can and can’t do.  While we can’t stop our thoughts, we can change how we choose to then respond to them.”

We all get interview nerves; in fact, we’d be very surprised if you didn’t.  But there are many ways in which to stop those nerves taking over you and your interview success.