Embarking on a new career path should be an exciting time, but there's always an inkling of dread when it comes to the all-important interview process.
Feeling nervous before an interview is common, however, some job seekers miss their interviews entirely due to crippling anxiety.
Here at Work Wales, we have advised countless job seekers on how to write CVs, cover letters, and which roles to apply for in general. The most common theme we have noticed as recruiters, is increased anxiety and questions surrounding the interview process.
We are all too familiar with the quickened heart rate and clammy hands that like to appear before and during interviews, and we want to help dispel this so you can relax and thoroughly enjoy your interview experience. Read on to discover our top tips on how to beat those nerves when the big moment arrives!
You've heard it many times before, but preparation is key when it comes to interviews. If you rush for details the night before, or don't really do your research into the company or organisation you're having the interview with, your nerves will only become heightened on the day.
Instead, prepare for the interview the second that you know the date. You want to eat, live, and breathe everything there is to know about the company! Dive deeply into their website and social media platforms, know when they were founded and importantly, why they were founded. Do they support any organisations or charities? Remember, even though they're getting to know you, this is an opportunity for you to get to know them too.
Thoroughly read the job description beforehand, as you can predict some of the questions that will come your way through this information alone. Why did you apply to this role? What will you bring to this company? Practice these questions and your answers so that when the time comes, you'll be able to answer confidently. It's also a good idea to prepare some questions for them too. This will impress the interviewers and show them that you have done your research prior to the interview.
Create an Interview Plan:
Being organised and having a thorough plan in place ahead of your interview will make conquering that anxiety much easier. Start off by writing down the time, date, and location of the interview. If you have your own car and need to drive there, have a practice journey a few days before to familiarise yourself with the route and the traffic. This will be incredibly beneficial when it comes to arriving at your interview on time.
Prepare your essentials the night before! Whether you're having a video or telephone interview from home, or have to travel to the interview location, you'll thank yourself when you wake up with everything organised. If you're travelling, pack your bag with a few copies of your CV, a notepad, pens, and any notes you want to look over before you go in. If you're having the interview at home, lay these items out on a table so that they are easily accessible when you need them.
The above goes for your interview clothes too! Don't leave this until the night before just in case anything needs washing or ironing. As soon as you know when your interview is, think about the clothes you'll be wearing. What makes you feel your most confident? Is it appropriate interview attire? Once you've settled on an outfit, make sure you wash it, iron it and have it hanging up ready on the day. If you're an anxious person, you'll be thankful that this step is already handled, and you won't have to stress about what to wear the morning of the interview!
Fuel your body:
This handy tip starts the night before your interview. Make sure you get a good 8-hours of sleep so that you wake up feeling rested, refreshed, and ready for that interview.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but if you're feeling quite anxious it's best to go for something light, such as a small bowl of cereal or some toast. It can be tempting to drink numerous cups of coffee the day of your interview, but caffeine can actually heighten your anxiety and nerves. Instead, try sticking to water or some fresh juice for a natural spike of energy.
If your interview is in the afternoon or later in the day, try to avoid having a hearty lunchtime meal. This can leave you feeling lethargic and unfocused which might not create a good first impression. Instead, have something light to keep your energy up, and reward yourself with a nice big meal (or takeaway) after your interview.
When you're nervous, it's all too easy to speak quickly and stumble over your words. This is common with interview anxiety, and the interviewers understand that you're nervous and are probably expecting a few rushed sentences. Take a moment to collect yourself and breathe. Think about the questions when they are asked of you instead of scrambling to put together an answer you think they want to hear. Your interviewer will appreciate the consideration and thought you put into your answers if you take this extra time.
Our last bit of advice is to just be yourself! The organisation asked you for an interview because they like the look of you as a candidate and want to get to know you better. This is a huge compliment! Be proud of yourself that you have reached this stage and carry that pride and confidence into your interview.
Smiling throughout your interview, even if you're a barrel of nerves, conveys confidence and happiness to the interviewer. This can also trick your brain into thinking that you are less nervous than you are, and will work wonders in dispelling your anxiety.
You wouldn't be at the interview stage if you were not capable. The interviewers believe in you, now you just need to instil some belief in yourself too! If you address yourself with the same kindness, compassion, and encouragement as you would a friend or family member, then you will be able to walk into that interview with your head held high!
Now that you've finished your interview and your heart has stopped racing, take several deep breaths and give yourself a big pat on the back! Once you have collected your thoughts, it would be a good idea to send a follow-up email or message to the interviewers, thanking them for their time. Not only does this demonstrate that you're polite and conscientious, you'll also make a good lasting impression.
Good luck from all of us at Work Wales, we hope that these tips will help you perform your best!