By Deanna Hartley, CareerBuilder writer
Getting the pre-interview jitters is perfectly normal — however, it’s in your best interest to get your nerves under control so you can focus on making a good first impression.
Here are seven ways you can calm your nerves as you get ready for your next big job interview.
1. Do your homework and be prepared. There is no substitute for interview preparation. Research the company thoroughly so you are not caught off guard by basic questions. Conduct a mock interview. Prepare for such predictable questions such as, “Why do you want THIS job?” ahead of time so you have a more thoughtful, articulate response that you can summon at will. There will usually be one or more curveballs thrown your way — and those are nearly impossible to predict — but be prepared for as much as you can.
2. Decide what to wear ahead of time. Get your power suit or power skirt or power pants ready a day or two before the interview. Research or inquire about appropriate attire for the company you’re interviewing at, check the weather, decide what you’re going to wear and let it hang in your closet pristine until you’re ready to wear it. Knowing what you’re going to wear — and feeling not only comfortable, but also confident in it — will save you time and trouble on the big day.
3. Go over your checklist the night before. You’ve probably made a handy checklist of items to take or things to do prior to your interview. Don’t wait until the morning of your interview to run through the list and make sure you’ve got everything covered. If you need to print copies of your resume, cover letter and directions, do it the night before.
4. Do whatever relaxes you. Whether it’s meditating or doing yoga or running or taking a bubble bath or listening to soothing music, try to get rid of your pre-interview jitters by doing whatever helps you relax. Also, make sure to get a good night’s sleep so you don’t have to stifle a yawn while sitting across from your interviewer.
5. Practice your power poses. Amy Cuddy, an assistant professor at Harvard Business School, immortalized the notion of power poses in a viral TED Talk about body language. Power poses, Cuddy explains, can inspire a sense of confidence in an individual and potentially influence one’s chance at success in a meeting, interview, game, etc. Even though it may feel unnatural at first, take a few minutes to test out some power poses before you head out for your interview.
6. Arrive early. One of the few things you do have control over is showing up to the interview and checking in at least 10 minutes early. This will give your potential new employer the impression that you’re punctual and respectful of others’ time. To calm your nerves, give yourself plenty of time to get there — and even consider arriving an hour early and sitting at a coffee shop where you can take a few deep breaths before going in to interview.
7. Put things in perspective. You may be interviewing for a great job, but remember that it isn’t the only opening out there and this isn’t the only shot you’ll ever have. Being cognizant of that helps to put everything in perspective and will help reassure you that nothing that happens during the interview — however seemingly grave — is the end of the world.