Tag Archives: Nervous

Beyond the “Nerves” in an Interview: 4 ways to deal with it

Most people get nervous when they’re being interviewed for a job. They are peppered with questions that are meant to get to the core of their technical abilities, motivation, and fit. It’s a stressful situation. This is called “getting the nerves,” and it’s natural. Most likely you feel the same way about interviews.

anxious

But what if you are unable to get past the nerves because of anxiety? What can you do that will prevent you from losing the opportunity for the job? How can you stop your hands from shaking, your voice cracking, or even breaking into tears. In this post I’ll talk about what to do if it’s more than having the “nerves” in an interview.

Admit to Yourself that You’re Anxious

You’re not alone in feeling anxious. Knowing this should give you solace. Many job seekers have told me that they felt so “anxious” that they couldn’t think straight and answer the questions entirely. A few have even told me that had to remove themselves from the situation. While this is not “normal behavior,” it does happen.

Telling others, job counselors, a therapist, or even friends, could be helpful. Talking about how you feel can relieve some of your anxiety. Hearing from those you talk with that being anxious is understandable will be of comfort. Further, talking with someone who felt anxious in interviews, but landed a job regardless will give you a better sense of hope.

Know that the interview/s are barriers to getting a job, and once you’ve overcome the barrier, you will be able to do the work required to succeed. Remember that you want the job for which you’re applying; it is the end game. This will take preparation, though.

Before an Interview

I tell my clients that being prepared for an interview will give them confidence. This means thoroughly researching the position and company. If you’re really good, you’ll research the competition. People who interview without preparing—winging it—generally perform poorly in an interview.

While it’s important to research the position and company, you will benefit also from preparing mentally for the interview. This will include getting a good night’s sleep the day before, if you can. The day of the interview, you should take a leisurely walk and rehears answering the questions you predict will be asked. Or you might prefer answering the questions while looking into a mirror.

You might benefit from participating in a taped mock interview which will show you how you respond to questions, as well as your body language. I conducted a mock interview with someone who my colleague believed to be anxious. The client’s answers were fine; however she appeared tense and fidgeted with her fingers. My suggestion to her was that she keep her hands in her lap.

Admit to the interviewers that you’re anxious

Chances are that at least one of the interviewers—if it’s a group interview—suffers from anxiety and can relate to your condition. Perhaps one or more of the interviewers know others who suffer from anxiety. They should be empathetic if they know your condition.

You can simply say before the interview begins, “I’m a bit anxious at the moment. Interviews are stressful for me. I hope you understand.” Chances are that they’ll understand your feelings.

In fact, anxiety is more prevalent than you might suspect. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 19 percent of adults suffered from anxiety.

An estimated 19.1% of U.S. adults had any anxiety disorder in the past year.

Past year prevalence of any anxiety disorder was higher for females (23.4%) than for males (14.3%).

An estimated 31.1% of U.S. adults experience any anxiety disorder at some time in their lives.

It is possible that you aren’t clinically anxious, but interviews and other social situation cause symptoms of anxiety. The most important thing is the message you deliver. Focus on expressing the value you will bring to the table. If you have to pause at times, that’s fine.

When your anxiety is debilitating

You may suffer from clinical anxiety, in which case you’re probably taking medication or attending therapy to keep it at bay. Healthy Info Daily describes the biological reasons for anxiety:

For a person with severe anxiety, their neurotransmitters are not working properly, and important messages can’t get through properly, which in turn causes the brain to work improperly, leading to anxiety, depression and other stress-induced disorders.

There are obvious signs of anxiety. Some symptoms of anxiety are excessive worrying, sleeplessness, panic attacks, fear/discomfort around crowds, and fear of speaking in public. Compound your anxiety with the pressures of an interview, it’s no wonder being interviewed is difficult. However, knowing you’re suffering from anxiety will explain the fear you experience in an interview.

In some cases, job candidates may need intervention or help from a vocational professional. This is in severe cases and usually for candidates who won’t be serving customers. Jobs that are individualistic would be best for them. If you fall under this category, it’s important that you apply for jobs appropriate for you.

Disclose your disability at some point during the interview, perhaps at the beginning. You have the ability to handle the responsibilities of the job; however you will require accommodations. It’s best to let employers know this before they hire you, as if you’re hired and then disclose your disability, your supervisor will most likely distrust you and might find reasons to let you go.


Interviews can cause mild to server anxiety for many people. If you happen to be one who gets anxious in an interview, reflect on why you are, ask for help from others, and if your anxiety is severe consider medication as a means to keep your anxiety at bay.

This post originally appeared on recruiter.com.

Photo: Flickr, Eduardo

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10 ways to beat the interview nerves

Nervous candidate

This post appeared on recruiter.com.

Have you been so nervous during an interview that you temporarily forget your name or what your previous title was? It happens. Have you been so nervous that the cup of water you’re holding is shaking beyond control? Sure, it happens. Or have you been so nervous that you can’t shut up? Oh yeah, it happens.

The fact is most people are nervous during an interview; some worse than the aforementioned examples. But how can you keep your nervousness under control?

First you must understand that it’s natural to be nervous before and during an interview; that nervousness can overcome anyone, even the most qualified people for the job. But even if you are qualified, expect some butterflies in your stomach, sweaty palms, and dry mouth.

As a nervous job candidate, the best you can do is accept your nerves and try to manage them. To do this, it’s important to do the following before and during the interview.

Before the interview

1. Be as prepared as you can. You’ve heard this many times; and if you’re smart you’ve done something about it. You’ve researched the job so you can recite the responsibilities. The same goes for the company. You must go beyond the cursory reading of the job description and company website. Talk with someone at the company, if possible. Also, if you’re on LinkedIn peruse the profiles of the people who will be interviewing you.

2. Practice. Professional athletes don’t go on the baseball field or soccer pitch without practicing in between games. My valued LinkedIn connection and executive coach, Greg Johnson, reminds us that mock interviews or even practicing answering questions in front of the mirror can help reduce the nerves, as it prepares you for the real thing.

3. Request a pep talk. I know, you’re stoic and don’t need others’ help. Everyone can use help for those who are willing to give it. One of my favorite things to do is pump people up before they interview the next day. Simply telling them that the interview is theirs because they’ve prepared for the meeting, they’ve practice, and they’ll be rested for the interview.

4. Get a good night’s sleep. As basic as this seems, being well rested is essential to doing well. Remember the days when you crammed for high school or college exams, trying to mash all that information into one night? Didn’t work too well, did it? Same goes for the interview—do your research over two, three, for days; as it’s easier to remember the information.

5. Take a walk. The day of the interview, I used to take walks. The reasons I did was 1) to relax my mind, clear the negative thoughts, and 2) practice answering the questions I predicted (related to number 2). I gave myself enough time to complete my walk and put on my best duds. It’s important that you feel good and look great before going off to the interview.

During the interview

6. Admit that you’re nervous. That’s correct. Make a brief statement about how you haven’t interviewed in a while and might have some jitters but are very interested in the position. This will explain a slow start until you warm up and get into high gear. This doesn’t give you the right to completely lose your nerves; eventually you’ll settle down.

7. Don’t let the questions that are very difficult get to you. There are bound to be some questions that stump you, but don’t lose your head if no answer comes to mind. Instead ask if you can think about the questions a bit longer by saying, “That’s a very good question and one I’d like to answer. Can I think about this a bit longer?” Don’t take too long, however.

Note: To make matters more difficult, interviewers are wary of answers that sound rehearsed. Take the weakness question: interviewers have heard too often the, “I work too hard” answer. It’s disingenuous and predictable. And never answer, “What is your greatest strength?” with you’re a perfectionist, an answer that carries negative connotations and is, again, predictable.

8. Use your research to your advantage. Whereas some candidates may seem naturally composed and confident, your knowledge of the job and company will be impressive and negate any nervousness you have. Your advanced research will show your interest in the position and the company, something any good interviewer will appreciate.

Note: Start an answer or two with, “Based on my research, I’ve learned that…. Simply hearing the word “research” will go over very well with the interviewers.

9. Remember you’re not the only one who’s nervous. Come on. Do you think you’re the only one in the room who’s nervous? Many interviewers will admit that they’re also nervous during the interview; there’s a lot at stake for them. They have to hire the right person, lest they cost the company someone who’s a bad fit or not capable of doing the job.

10. Lastly, have fun. Come on, Bob, you’re thinking. Seriously, don’t take yourself so seriously. Be yourself. You’ve done all you can to prepare for the interview, the research, the practice, a good night’s sleep, etc. What more can you do? Show the interviewers you are relaxed and calm…and right for the job. Have as much fun as you can.

Anyone who tells you interviews are not nerve-racking think you were born yesterday. I’ve had exactly two people in eight years tell me they enjoy interviews. Those are people who must either be ultra confident or out of their mind. Even job candidates who do well at an interview, experience some jitters and recall times when they could have done better, including keeping their hand from shaking while holding a cup of water.

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Photo by xianrendujia on Flickr