Let’s face it, interviews are inherently stressful. When you feel anxious, your body releases stress hormones like epinephrine and cortisol, which can make it more difficult for you to think clearly and perform well in your interview. There are a variety of things you can do to help yourself relax leading up to an interview, which will not only help you stay calm, cool, and collected, but will also help you think more clearly, feel more confident, and give you a better chance of acing your interview questions!
EditCalming Yourself Down
- Close your eyes and try to clear your mind. Don’t think about your interview or the stress you’re under. Focus instead on how you’re feeling physically, and let your mind go as blank as possible for a few moments.
- It’s best to do this in a quiet place, although you can practice focusing on your breathing just about anywhere.
- You can even do this exercise in the waiting room just before your interview, although you may not want to close your eyes.
- Breathe slowly, in through your nose and out through your mouth. Avoid shallow breathing as much as you can, keeping your eyes closed. You don’t want to just fill your chest with air, but feel the air going in through your nose and all the way down into your belly.
- It may take several minutes for your breathing to slow down and become steady.
- If you’re having trouble breathing deeply, it can be helpful to mentally count to 5 with each inhale (making sure you’re intake of air lasts the full 5 seconds), and count another 5 with each exhale.
- Listen to your favorite music to help you calm down. Go for something soothing or uplifting to ensure you’re in a good headspace right before the interview. Avoid anything melancholy and opt for inspiring tunes that fill your head with positive energy and excitement.
- You can also listen to podcasts or speeches that inspire you.
- Stand up straight for a confidence boost. Staying aware of your posture will immediately help you appear more confident and relaxed, even if you aren’t feeling that way inside. Stand or sit up straight, lift your chin, and keep your head level to achieve a power pose. Remember to keep your arms loose and at your sides.
- Try to avoid crossing your arms, which can create a negative vibe.
- Arrive to the interview early. Being in a rush will only make you feel more frazzled, so plan to arrive early. You don’t necessarily even have to go into the building early, but it helps to already be there. Try to avoid showing up to the interview itself more than 10 minutes early, since this may cause your interviewer to feel pressured.
EditGiving Yourself a Pep Talk
- Find a quiet place where you can speak to yourself out loud. Make sure you feel confident that no one can hear you. You want to be able to speak in a confident and full voice, if possible.
- Stand in front of a mirror, if you can find one in a place where you can be alone. Looking into a mirror will allow you to speak directly to yourself.
- Address yourself by name, as if you were talking to someone else. Distance yourself from the stress and self-doubt you’re feeling about your interview by talking to yourself as you would a friend or family member.
- If you don’t feel comfortable addressing yourself by name, try to use the word “you” as opposed to “I” and “me.”
- Explain to yourself that you are prepared and qualified for the position. Remind yourself that you are capable and well-prepared. Saying this aloud to yourself will help make it real in your mind. Whether you’re interviewing for a job or other position, remind yourself why you are a good candidate, and why choosing you would be a good decision for your interviewer and their organization.
- Remember to speak aloud, in as confident and strong a voice as you can conjure.
- Remind yourself of past successes. List the things you’re proud of that you’ve done in the past, out loud. If there are any specific accomplishments that you are especially proud of, focus on those, telling yourself how well you did. Remind yourself that you are the same person who accomplished those things, and you’re just as capable now as you were during those times.
- Tell yourself that it is only an interview. Remind yourself that there will be other opportunities if you don’t get this one. Saying it out loud will help reaffirm this in your mind and give you a sense of perspective, as if someone else were saying it to you.
- It can also help to remind yourself that it’s okay to be nervous, and that most people experience stress before a job interview. Try saying “It’s only an interview, and it’s only nerves.”
- Say “I will do well” and “I can do this” to yourself. Repeat these phrases as many times as you need to in order to believe them. Remember to breathe deeply as you speak, and try to put as much strength and confidence behind your words as you can.
EditVisualizing a Successful Interview
- Get into a comfortable position, either sitting or lying still. Get situated in a quiet place where you’re not likely to be disturbed for 5-10 minutes, or even longer if possible. Allow the muscles in your body to relax.
- If time and convenience allow, it’s best to do this in comfortable clothes that are not restrictive.
- Take 5 deep breaths and close your eyes, letting your mind relax. Don’t think about the interview for a few moments, if you can. Clear your mind of all the details you’re worried about, and focus on breathing as deeply as possible.
- If it takes more than 5 deep breaths to get comfortable, take the extra time you need and focus only on your breathing for longer.
- Imagine being in the waiting room, experiencing the sights and sounds. Focus your mind on your interview once you’re comfortable and you’ve tried to empty your mind of anxiety. Keep your eyes closed, and try to experience the environment of the waiting room.
- The image of yourself in the waiting room should be as sensory as possible. Rather than thinking about your nerves and/or going over the questions you may be asked, picture the clothes you’re wearing, how you’re sitting, and the room around you. Are there other people in the room? What do they look like? Is the chair you’re sitting on comfortable?
- Picture the interviewer coming out to greet you and shaking their hand. Imagine them warmly smiling at you as you shake their hand with confidence and introduce yourself. If you know who your interviewer will be, picture their face and clothes, and the tone in their voice as they welcome you to the interview. 
- Visualize yourself walking into the room and sitting down confidently. Once again, picture the sensory details of the room. Imagine the color of the walls, the interviewer’s desk, and what position you’re sitting in.
- Try not to think of yourself as a passive observer. Don’t just picture what the interviewer will say to you as you sit down, but how you will respond, confident that you’re a good candidate and well-prepared.
- Think of the questions you’ll be asked and answer them in your mind. Visualize success. Imagine yourself confidently answering each question with a smile, as the conversation flows naturally. You feel strong, proud of your accomplishments, and prepared for each question you’re asked. 
- As you visualize your interview, think of the interviewer as an ally, rather than a foe. They’re not trying catch you with a question you’re not prepared for, and they’re engaged and interested in your answers.
- Envision yourself leaving the interview, telling yourself that it went well. Picture yourself thanking the interviewer for their time as you stand up, shake their hand, and exit the room as confidently as you walked in. You’ve done what you set out to do. The interview went well and the interviewer’s decision is out of your hands. 
- If you’re alone, saying “That went well” or “I did a good job” out loud can help your mind and body process the exercise and experience the feeling of contentment and success.
EditPreparing Yourself before the Interview
- Research the company ahead of time. You probably aren’t going to be able to relax properly before the interview until you feel prepared for it! Run a quick search online and familiarize yourself with the company. Check out their website, learn about their services and products, find out their mission statement, and read any recent press releases.
- Try to incorporate this knowledge into your answers during the interview. For example, you can talk about how you’re impressed by a certain product or the company’s overall culture.
- It can also help to reread the job listing so that you have a full understanding of what the position entails.
- Stage a practice interview and rehearse some of your answers. You can’t know for sure what you’ll be asked during the interview, but it’s safe to assume that you’ll be asked about your previous experience and why you think you’re a good fit for the position. Ask a friend or family member to help you stage a mock interview so that you can practice what you want to say and how you want to say it.
- Come up with a list of possible questions so that you can prepare for them. You can also go over your resume and try to anticipate what your potential employer will ask you about.
- Aim for a natural, conversational tone while you practice. Be sure to work on answers that feel conversational and natural. You definitely don’t want to give the impression that you’re reciting something that you’ve memorized. Try to remember that at the end of the day, you’re having a conversation with someone about your career. Look them in the eye, speak confidently, and smile.
- Remember that an interview isn’t one-sided–you should prepare some friendly questions, as well.
- Get plenty of rest the night before the interview. You don’t want to look or seem tired during a job interview, so it definitely helps to be well-rested. At the very least, get a full night’s sleep the evening before the interview. If possible, get extra rest for several days before the interview. Being well-rested ensures that you’ll be able to think clearly and be at the top of your game.
EditSources and Citations
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