YES! You just got the interview with the company of your dreams. It must be hard to process all those emotions — happiness, eagerness … nervousness. What will you do? How will you impress your potential employer?

You may be under a lot of pressure, but there are some steps you can take to ensure you’re totally prepared for the big day. Read on to find out some tips to keep your cool when interviewing with your dream company!

  1. Plan Ahead

It’s happened to the best of us. You’re confident everything will fall into place on the day of the interview. But to your dismay… your printer is out of ink so you can’t print your resume, you forgot to iron your best shirt, and you hit an absurd amount of traffic on the way there. You told yourself you would plan ahead … what happened?

Save the stress for another day. Planning ahead is the best thing you can do for the interview, because you’ll be able to save your energy for when you need it most. So buy that ink and lay your clothes out the night before.

Another important aspect of planning ahead is to practice! If you’re nervous about what to say, or you’re unsure about what questions interviewers will ask, ask a friend or family member to help you. Have them ask you possible questions, so you’ll be prepared for the real thing.

  1. Be an Active Listener

Once you get to the interview, though, you can’t be all talk. An interview isn’t just someone talking at you for an hour, and it’s not you talking at them. It’s a two-way conversation, and you should treat it like you’re having a chat with an ordinary person — but an ordinary person who deserves respect. Part of this is being a good listener.

If you take time to listen, it takes you off the hot seat so you can relax. But this isn’t a time to space out — it’s important to hear the interviewer out, because they can give you valuable information about the company and position you’re applying for.

Another part of listening is actually paying attention to the questions you’re being asked. If you just recite a prepared response, it will seem like the interview is more like an interrogation than a conversation. No one wants to hire a robot.

  1. Control Your Body

Believe it or not, potential employers notice your body language. Certain movements and positions can signal the fact that you’re nervous. Some of these movements you should keep under control are as follows:

  • Touching your face or hair
  • Fidgeting
  • Crossed arms
  • Slouching
  • Lack of eye contact or shifty eyes

Thankfully, most of the time these won’t make or break your interview, because chances are you’re a stellar person. But there are easy remedies for these nervous actions as well. Keep your hands visible and on the table. This is a sign of honesty, and it also keeps you from fidgeting with your face and hair. Take deep breaths and slow down! You have a lot of time to impress the employer.

  1. Pace Yourself and Stay Focused

Speaking of slowing down, pacing yourself is key to nailing the interview. While it’s great to enter with energy and finesse, you can’t just give up on that in the middle. You have to carry your enthusiasm until the very end. Pacing yourself will help.

In order to sustain your energy and prevent rushing, get plenty of sleep the night before and drink a lot of water. A snack right before the interview can also help. If the interview is especially long, you’ll be glad you kept up your act until the end.

  1. Smile!

Many people seem to equate an interview to being on death row. But as mentioned before, if you know how to handle yourself through the interview, it’ll be more like a casual conversation between two polite individuals.

One of the best ways to handle the interview is to smile. Even a forced smile can make you feel more relaxed and happy, which is important because a positive attitude is greatly needed in the workplace. Make the interviewer know you are a compassionate and approachable person. They will be lucky to have you!

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Sarah Landrum is the founder of Punched Clocks.

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