Get Your Zen On: The Art of Staying Interview Calm

interview calmHow do you stay interview calm?

We all have some version of that familiar recurring nightmare. In the middle of a recital, business proposal, presentation, or other career-making moments our calm sometimes disappears. Our collected, confident and knowledgeable personae flees. It seems all that leaves us fumbling and bumbling in front of a crowd of people without any pants on.

Sure, such unclothed exaggerations are generally nightmarish products of our overactive imaginations. Still, losing your cool during a job interview is a far more common scenario. In fact, failing to keep calm during an interview can put our bad dreams to shame. If this sounds like an all-too-familiar scenario, never fear.

We have a few tried and true tips to help you chill out, relax and keep your interview calm on…

Put on Your Study Caps

One of the easiest and most effective ways to combat a case of pre-interview nerves? Increasing your confidence and knowledge. For candidates, this means you’ll need to head back to the study board and brush up on your job opening knowledge.

Before your interview, review common industry trends, major issues, rules, laws, or other applicable guidelines. Your goal: ensure you’re brushed up on the most recent lingo.

Speaking the language of your profession will go a long way towards putting yourself at ease during the interview. Don’t forget that all important company-based research, either. Knowing the history and current news regarding your potential employer can help you feel prepared. It will also allow you to ask smarter questions and craft your answers in terms more applicable to the employer. Combined, these study habits are big nerve-quelling plusses during an interview.

Avoid Procrastinating

If you’ve ever rushed out of the house last minute, snatching coffee with one hand and a danish with the other, while trying to button your shirt and fumble for your car keys, you know that few things are more destructive to a sense of calm then trying to fit tasks in last minute. Simple tasks such as laying out your interview outfit the night before, planning your commute or prepping a simple breakfast or packing a bag, can go a long way towards helping you feel relaxed and calm on the big day.

You’re Not the Only One

Another tactic that can help worried interview applicants is the realization that your interviewer is probably also suffering from a mild bout of the nerves. Sure, the hiring manager or another company representative may have the bargaining chips. But their decision-making abilities are also on the line when it comes to choosing just the right candidate.

At the beginning of your interview, take a deep breath, and smile. Then mentally visualize that your interviewer is probably feeling much the same as you are.

Get That Beauty Sleep

One of the most tried and true methods for preparing mentally and physically for your job interview doesn’t require any extra effort. Sleep plays a critical function in physical well-being and mental clarity. Many studies show that sleep-deprived individuals are often more anxious, nervous and have slower reaction times. Get a solid 8 hours the night before, and preferably for a few nights before that.

Take it Easy on the Joe

Yes, most of us need our daily dose of coffee to ensure proper mental and physical function. But overdoing it on the caffeinated goodness can be just as bad as skipping out altogether. Excessive amounts of caffeine don’t just cause a case of the jitters. It can also prompt headaches, quickened heart rate, and excessive sweating. Keep your caffeine intake to normal, reasonable levels to increase your interview calm.

Early is On Time

Our final piece of advice hearkens back to words of wisdom from our mothers:

Early is on time, on time is late and being late is unacceptable.

Showing up late for an interview will leave you flustered and your interviewer impatient. On the other hand, arriving 15 to 20 minutes early also gives you a few moments to collect yourself. So go ahead: get a glass of water, take a deep breath, and mentally prepare for what’s to come.

Got another trick to staying interview calm on the big day? We’d love to hear from you!


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Simply Hired.


Simply Hired



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