Going into an interview can be a nervous experience for many people. People experience nerves in very different ways and there isn't a one-size fits all in terms of a solution.
What there is, are different techniques that can help control your nerves when in an interview situation.
See below my top tips for controlling nerves during interviews:
When delivering presentations: Some people have tell tale signs of nerves when delivering presentations, these can range from inadvertently pacing around the room, shifting from side to side, over gesticulating or staring at the wall while delivering. Here are a variety of tips to try out to help control these nervous triggers:
1) If presenting at a lectern, place a hand on the lectern. This will prevent you from pacing around and will give you a solid touch point to keep you static.
2) If presenting in a small meeting room, you can use the same technique as above by placing a hand on the back of a chair (if in a standing position)
3) If you find that you over gesticulate, you can hold a pen (marker pen if you are writing on flip chart). This gives your body a place to focus its nervous energy.
4) Do not combat the above by holding paperwork. If you are nervous, the papers may shake in your hand which can make you more nervous as you try to control it.
5) ALWAYS take handouts of any slides/presentations you deliver at interview. This shows you are prepared. It also helps combat any concern or nerves you have about the tech not working on the day.
6) It is important to maintain eye contact with the panel. Try to be mindful not to stare at your slides (if you have them) or at the wall. Move your eye contact between the panel members and don't worry if you need to look at your notes, that is perfectly acceptable.
When answering questions: Many people can be nervous when trying to think of the best answers to interview questions. Here are a few tips to help you to prepare your response to questions and combat nerves:
1) Before the interview, make a note on some paper of key pieces of work, jobs or projects you have done that are relevant to the job you are applying for. Then, if your mind goes blank when asked to provide an example, you can glance at your paper for a prompt.
2) Before the interview, try to practice how you will structure your answers. A useful structure is to use the STAR method.
3) Interviews are not just about the organisation finding the best candidate, it's also about you finding out about the organisation and whether they are a good fit for you too. Before the interview, prepare some questions to ask at the end. This shows the interview panel that you are interested in finding out more. However, DO NOT ask questions about anything you have already been provided information about. Also, DO NOT ask questions about terms and conditions of employment. You can ask those once you are offered the job!
I hope you find these tips helpful and that they provide some things for consideration next time you are going to an interview.
Tracy Barlow provides one-to-one coaching (face-to-face and online) to support individuals with application and interview skills, please get in touch using the 'contact' form on the website for more information.
We also provide outplacement support for organisations going through change programmes, if you are interested in discussing our services in more detail, please contact us using the 'contact' form on the website.