How to Calm Nerves Before an Interview

Three employees interviewing possible job prospect

Experiencing some pre-interview nerves is completely normal. So, what are some common reasons for feeling stressed before a job interview?

For many candidates, feeling nervous before sitting down for any job interview is an unavoidable part of the job search. Whether it’s your first ever interview or you’ve been through many in your lifetime – they can still be just as nerve-racking.

Luckily, several strategies are available to help alleviate some of the stresses that often go hand-in-hand with job interviews. Our guide below will explain what typically causes interview nerves and give you some of our top techniques for calming yourself down.

What causes interview nerves?

There’s no doubt that job interviews can be stressful, and for some people, they can trigger our most basic fight-or-flight reactions. But what is about them that sets the butterflies in motion? Discover some of the major causes of interview nerves below…

Meeting new people

Many people feel anxious when they meet new people. When you add a level of authority into the mix, it can worsen the situation.

Interacting with new people can be challenging for even the most outgoing people. From learning new names to knowing the proper way to greet those of all levels of seniority – there’s so much to remember and contend with when meeting people for the first time at a job interview.

Being assessed

Everything is likely to be evaluated when you go into a job interview, including your demeanour. For some, this can cause feelings of stress around outfit choices, your tone, your general appearance and how you conduct yourself.

Being assessed is one thing, but being aware that you’re being assessed is an entirely different ballgame.

Talking about yourself

Not only are you required to talk about yourself in an interview situation, but you’ll also need to take a positive stance.

Selling yourself to somebody can trigger nerves and stress. Those that don’t like being the centre of attention are probably more likely to feel anxious about an interview where they’ll need to talk about themselves, including their skills, experiences and achievements.


Two females shaking hands over a meeting table


How to calm nerves before a job interview

Got an upcoming job interview that you’re feeling anxious about?

Our advice below should help shake those nerves and ensure you’re more than ready to impress your interviewers.

Positive affirmations

Confidence is often the key to a successful job interview. Repeat some confidence-boosting phrases like I can do this, and I’m the right person for this role before you arrive at the interview.

The prospect of the interview should start to feel less daunting the more you repeat phrases like these.

Convert nervous energy into excited energy

Nervous energy isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Particularly if you can leverage it in such a way as to convey your enthusiasm and excitement to the interviewer.

Candidates are expected to feel nervous, and you shouldn’t be penalised for feeling this way. However, candidates that are too relaxed and calm might miss out on the job because they don’t seem as excited about the opportunity.

So, make sure you’re putting that nervous energy to good use.

Do your research & be prepared

When you don’t feel prepared, it can cause unnecessary stress. Doing any research, preparation, and organisation beforehand can help you feel ready to take on your interview.

Whether you need to prepare some ad-hoc answers or brush up on the facts and figures of the company – give yourself as much time as possible to feel confident in your research and preparation.


Line of prospects waiting to go into the interview


If meeting new people is the most nerve-racking part for you, you could even spend some time finding out who your interviewer will be. Correspondence about your interview might give you a name to go from, but if not, you can still try to find people that work at the company on social media.

Knowing a little bit of background information about them might help alleviate some of the stress of meeting new people. Plus, it demonstrates your enthusiasm and understanding of a business, which is sure to go over well with hiring managers.

Tips for preparing the night before

Making time to adequately prepare yourself the day before an interview can help eliminate any potential stressors.

  • Gather any resources, paperwork or information you’ll need: Whether you’ve been asked to do a short presentation or just need to remember your National Insurance number – make sure to gather anything you need and keep it in a safe place the night before.
  • Plan your outfit: The last thing you want to be stressing about is your outfit. Ensure you’ve picked out something appropriate and laid it out ready for the big day.
  • Do a relaxing activity right before bed: Whether you read a book or watch TV – do something that will relax you before trying to sleep.
  • Try to get a good night’s sleep: As hard as it might be – try to get some much-needed shut-eye. You’ll want to feel well-rested for the big day.


Tips for the day of your interview

On the day of your interview, you’ll want to be as calm as possible. While you might not be able to shake all your nervous energy, we hope these tips can help keep you from spiralling out of control at your interview.

  • Eat well and stay hydrated: The last thing you want is for your stomach to start rumbling during the interview. Eat a decent meal, or at the very least, a snack beforehand.
  • Talk to a friend or family member: Before doing something new and stressful, think about who will help you calm down. If you can, call, text or see that person, or group of people, beforehand.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to get to the interview location: Nobody wants to be rushing around before an interview. Plan out your route and how you’re going to get there.
  • Take your time: If the interviewer asks you a challenging question, they probably won’t expect you to have an answer straight away. Take as much time as you need when answering questions, and try to slow down while you speak.
  • Remember, you’ve got this: You wouldn’t have been invited to interview if they didn’t think you’d be a good fit for the role and the company. Stay positive and practice affirmations beforehand to get in the right mindset.


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