It is normal to be anxious before a job interview. No matter how much experience somebody has, it is likely that they will feel some fear or anxiety before interviewing for a role.
If you have an upcoming interview and have noticed these feelings coming up, try to be compassionate and kind towards yourself. Rather than beating yourself up for feeling this way, acknowledge these feelings and use them to inform the actions that you take next.
Eight ways to approach a job interview with confidence
You can respond to feelings of anxiety by taking some simple and supportive actions. These eight actions can help to relieve some of the anxiety and fear you’re experiencing and help you to feel more confident at a job interview.
Prepare for the interview
Preparation is one of the most important things you can do to boost your confidence before a job interview. Preparing can include researching the company and the role, preparing answers for potential interview questions, deciding what to wear and prioritising sleep and good nutrition in the lead up to the day. The more you know about the interview arrangements, the better you will be able to prepare and the more confident you will feel going into it. Feel free to ask questions beforehand such as:
- What type of interview will this be?
- How many stages will the interview process involve?
- How long will the interview take?
- Who will be interviewing me on the day?
- Do I need to bring anything to the interview?
- Do I need to prepare any presentations for the interview?
Find out more about what to prepare for a job interview.
Practice your interview answers
It is a good idea to write out sample answers to questions that you think will be asked in an interview. However, it is just as important to practice saying these answers out loud. This will allow you to hear how your answer sounds and make any changes if you need to. It will also allow you to gain confidence and practice speaking in a slow and clear manner. Ask a friend, family member or another trusted person to practice the questions with you. You can also practice in the mirror or by recording yourself speaking on your phone.
It is important to sound natural in an interview. While practicing interview answers is a good idea, memorising the answers in their entirety is not. Once you are happy with your answers, write out the main bullet points for each and review them before the interview.
It is important to remember that you can’t prepare for every possible question that the interviewer may ask so try not to get too caught up in the prep. Do what you can to prepare and then treat it like a regular conversation.
Read more about how to answer interview questions.
Arrive to the interview early
Job interviews can be challenging enough without adding more stressors to the situation. Arriving early for your interview will allow you to approach it in a calm and confident manner. If you are going to an in-person interview, it is a good idea to plan your route and travel plans the day before.
It is very likely that you will be invited to take part in your interview online. While you won’t have to travel to a virtual interview, it is still a good idea to arrive at your desk or chosen interview location early. This will give you the opportunity to adjust the lighting and backdrop, check that there aren’t any noises or distractions around you, and make sure that your technology is working properly.
Adjust your body language
When you are feeling anxious or uncomfortable, this will show in your body language. You might slouch, cross your arms over your chest, or avoid eye contact.
You can appear and, potentially feel, more confident in a job interview by adjusting your body position. Practice sitting up straight in a chair with your shoulders relaxed and hands on your lap. This is a good way to sit during an interview. It is also a good idea to get used to maintaining eye contact with an interviewer as this shows confidence and interest in the conversation. You can practice this in advance with a friend, family member or even online. When it comes to eye contact, it is important to try to avoid staring. Maintain eye contact for 50 percent of the time while speaking and 70 percent of the time while listening. If you are being interviewed by more than one person, ensure you are maintaining some eye contact with both.
Try a grounding practice
Grounding practices are short and simple exercises that can help to bring you back into the present moment. They can be particularly helpful if you are feeling worried or stressed out as they divert your attention away from what is bothering you and towards what is happening here and now. There are many types of grounding exercises, including those that you can do at home or in public. If you are preparing for an interview, it could be a good idea to try them for yourself.
Remember to breathe
If you are feeling anxious, stressed or scattered before a job interview, your breath can serve as a very useful tool. Deep breathing is one of the most effective ways to relax before an interview. It can help you to reduce any anxiety, slow down your heart rate and find focus.
Before going into an interview, take a few moments for some conscious breathing. A simple method is abdominal breathing. To do this, sit up straight in your seat and take a deep breath in through your nose. As you breathe in through your nostrils, your chest and into your stomach, notice how your stomach rises. As you exhale, notice how it falls. Keep breathing in this way for a few more breaths and notice how you feel.
If you are able to listen to something before your interview, you might like to try a guided meditation practice. Try our five minute meditation practice.
Get some perspective
A lot of the fear and anxiety you can feel before a job interview stems from not knowing what to expect. Preparing well can help to reduce some of that worry. It can also be helpful to gain some perspective.
Firstly, it is important to remind yourself that the company considers you a potential candidate for the role you applied for. They have reviewed your CV and cover letter and found it interesting. The interview is simply a conversation that gives them the opportunity to get to know you better. It is also an opportunity for you to get to know them too, so don’t be afraid to ask questions you have when prompted.
The people who interview you have likely conducted and taken part in many interviews. With that in mind, they will be aware that it is completely normal to be nervous about the interview experience.
Learn through experience
While you may find interviews challenging, try to see each one as a learning experience. You can still gain a lot from an interview, whether you are offered the job or not.
After each interview, try to reflect on what you learned and what you can take forward next time. The following questions can serve as useful prompts:
- What went well?
- What did I learn?
- What would I do differently?
The more interviews that you take part in, the more you will learn and the more your confidence will grow. Read more about how to prepare for in-person and remote job interviews.
For more information on interview prep, writing your CV and applying for jobs also take a look at our Employment section.
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