You’re seconds from going into that all-important job interview when you're struck by fear and nerves. Follow these tips on how to keep calm under pressure.
You squirm in your chair, trying your best to get comfortable but you can’t. You try to swallow, but your mouth feels like sandpaper. Your crisply ironed white shirt feels like it was just dipped in a pool of water. You're torn between collapsing into tears and making a mad dash for the bathroom.
Yes, you’re seconds from going into that all-important job interview and you're struck by fear and nervousness.
Many job candidates find interviews so intimidating that they panic. Their natural grace, charisma, and otherwise bubbling personality simply disappears.
"I just want it to end" is a typical sentiment. Another jobseeker put it this way: "My biggest problem seems to be that I don’t have the nerve to ask the questions I really want answers to." If the above description fits you, then what do you do?
Displaying excessive nervousness in a job interview can easily eliminate you from further consideration. Most employers will not condemn you for a bit of nervous behaviour, after all it's only normal, but they will pay close attention to how you hold up under pressure.
People have come up with a variety of remedies for boosting self-confidence in job interviews from self-affirmation programmes such as "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and people like me" to picturing everyone in the room naked.
But there are things you can do in an interview to help you keep calm under pressure.
Firstly, avoid negative body language. The interviewer wants to see how well you react under pressure. This discomfort can manifest itself in a number of ways, from mumbling to fidgeting to staring at your shoes, and it can radically affect the image you project in the interview chair.
Avoid such signs of nervousness and tension as frequently touching your mouth or biting your lip, swinging your foot or leg, folding or crossing your arms or avoiding eye contact.
Another easy way to make yourself feel more comfortable in an interviewing situation is to start things off on your own terms. Seize control of the interview by being the first person in the room to smile and say hello.
A firm handshake is appropriate and projects confidence. Make eye contact when you shake. Show your enthusiasm by making eye contact throughout and keeping an interested expression.
Have your own agenda and know where the interview should be heading. This will give you confidence and help you move from one area of questioning to the next.
Remember that most interviewers are as uncomfortable as you are. They just want the position to be filled as fast as possible. If you can put the interviewer at ease by helping things move smoothly, you'll improve your chances of being hired.
Also, you should practice interviewing as much as you can especially with real companies. You will become more confident and your answers will become more polished with each interview you have.
If you have a terrible interview, don't let it shake your confidence. Realise that everyone has a bad interview experience sooner or later. Learn from it, work on your performance, and keep looking for other opportunities.
What you must keep in mind is that the company likes you enough to talk to you. Remember that your foot is in the door, and that's 75 per cent of the battle. If the recruiter didn't think that you were qualified, he wouldn't waste time on an interview with you.
If you think about it, when you go into an interview, everything's in your favour. The company's interested. You've got skills to offer, and if you've prepared, you should be able to explain what they are - which is why you're being interviewed in the first place.