How to Ease Pre-Interview Nerves

You put in endless hours and effort on your application materials, and finally, you get invited to an interview. The sweaty palms, shaky arms and rapid breathing have already started. All the information swirls in your brain, and you’re afraid you won’t represent your best self.

Those feelings are entirely understandable. Take a moment to pat yourself on the back for getting an interview, then try these 10 tips to ease your pre-interview jitters before the big day.


1. Practice Mindful Breathing and Being

All you need is your breath to practice stillness in the moment — you don’t need a fancy floor pillow or big statue of the Laughing Buddha. Take two minutes the day before, or even right before you get out of the car, to clear your head.

Breathe in at a natural count of three for you, then release for a count of three. Repeat and adjust to your comfort level, focusing on the sensory details in your immediate surroundings.


2. Snack on a Banana

Bananas contain a chemical concoction that calms your jitters because your potassium levels drop and your metabolic rate rises before a big event. Eating two bananas restores your potassium, and the tryptophan and magnesium boost serotonin while the vitamin B soothes your nervous system.


3. Work Out

Release endorphins to pump up your energy pre-interview. Wake up early and head to the gym or go for a run around the block.

One intense workout gets you stress-free for a few hours and provides a window of opportunity to present your best self to the interviewers. Getting your body moving will free the hamster from the wheel in your head long enough to get it in the job-landing game. Regular exercise also helps fight chronic stress and depression.


4. Embrace the Art of Visualization for Manifestation

Embrace the art of visualization before your mind goes straight to the 101 ways you’ll bomb the interview. Head off the negativity by not letting it in — see yourself as charming as you answer every question successfully. When you appear to falter, you quickly recover. And so, it is — all you have to do is show up.


5. Strike a Power Pose

Half the battle to a successful interview is reining in your nerves, so let your body help out. Not feeling like a mad dash around the block?

Strike a power pose, instead, because your posture influences your mood and behavior. Sit up straight and tall — but naturally in an open and expansive posture. Power pose participants in one study noted feeling more powerful, took more risks and possessed higher testosterone levels. Rear your head up like a cobra about to strike. Be Wonder Woman with her hands on her hips.


6. Exercise Your Smile

Want to come across cheerful, charismatic and positive on your interview? Raise the corner of your lips in an authentic smile as possible — you can trick your brain chemistry by moving those facial muscles upward until endorphins release. Try it for 15 to 30 seconds and picture memories that make you happy. Take advantage of a free positivity pick-me-up.


7. Practice Makes Perfect

Clearing your mind and staying balanced prove essential as the basic building blocks for a successful interview, but don’t forget that practice makes perfect. Run through the scenarios in your head and practice how you will answer.

Consider your career timeline, where you are now and where you hope to be — tell your story. Write down a list of your professional accomplishments to help you answer interviews strategically and objectively. Think of times you exceeded employer expectations, won awards, succeeded under pressure and reached interpersonal resolutions. When you regularly track these accomplishments, you can update your resume in a snap.


8. Get Outdoors

Spending time in nature helps you reset, and you don’t need to wait for the results. Moving around is a good start, but the benefits increase when you do it in nature. A 20-minute walk outdoors reduces stress levels, but taking a three-day weekend in the wild resets your brain before your interview. This level intensely restores your mind and spirit, improving the way you manage stress. Can’t take a weekend? Just aim for a few minutes.


9. Take a Long Soak

Presenting your most professional self means getting squeaky clean. So, why not indulge and take a long soak in the tub?

Spoil yourself by making the bath super warm and adding bubbles, essential oils and candles. Lavender is one of the most relaxing scents. Bring along your favorite tunes and a bottle of wine. When the water cools, turn the tap back on hot and refill as needed.


10. Be Nice to Yourself

Doing small kindnesses for others make the world go around, but how often do you afford kindness to yourself?

Be kind to yourself before the interview. Greet your anxiety with a smile, and take it as a sign of your excitement. Selling yourself in an interview doesn’t mean you’re arrogant as long as you express yourself authentically. Speak to your strong points and know everyone possesses areas of improvements.

Do something nice for yourself before your interview, like buying yourself a fancy latte or new power accessory.

Feeling nervous before and during your job interview is an entirely natural response to a potentially pivotal step in your career. That means you care — so, give yourself a minute to take it all in, accept it and let yourself blow off some stress. From practicing mindfulness to kindness toward yourself, use these 10 tips to ease your pre-interview jitters and put your best foot forward.

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Sarah Landrum is the founder of Punched Clocks.

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