Our Best Tips For Not Letting Nerves Get You Down Before A Job Interview

Nobody likes to be nervous, but it's a natural response to certain situations, like meeting your partner's parents, giving a public speech, or performing a solo on stage in front of hundreds of people. You want to make a good first impression, remember everything you need to remember, and give good answers to whatever questions you're asked. You want to be confident, likable, and memorable, for good reasons. But sometimes nerves can get the best of you and even cost you something you want, if you can't get them under control. 


Being interviewed for a job is another common occurrence that could cause the nerves in your body to run rampant, causing your heart rate to accelerate. If you have a job interview coming up soon and want to prevent those dreaded nerves from getting you down and costing you the job, there are a few things you can do. As is the case with managing dating anxiety, the key is to prepare well in advance and employ proven anxiety-reducing techniques. 

Do a mock interview ahead of time

Most American adults have had a job interview before, but not all interviews are the same across all industries. Some are brief and laidback and involve only one person while others are longer and involve the entire search committee. For example, you wouldn't be expected to walk into a big conference room with five other people during a fast food job interview, but you might for a position at a corporate office.


If your upcoming interview is the first you've had in a particular industry, or it's just been a while since you've had one, a mock interview can help you prepare. A mock interview is a practice interview that involves a list of commonly asked questions during a real interview. You can find dozens of YouTube videos that you can use, some of which also include tips.

As another option, you can ask a friend to find a list of commonly asked interview questions online and read the questions to you in person. If you're preparing for a phone interview, your mock interview can also be over the phone with your friend.

Make a checklist

One of the side effects of nervousness is that it can affect your memory. It's easy to remember certain things days before the interview, but once the nerves kick in on the big day, it's a different story. Make a checklist at least a week before the interview, if possible, of all the things you need to remember to do beforehand.


Your list can include reminders about what to wear to your interview, your CV, and the location of the interview. You certainly don't want to wait until the day of your interview to discover that your suit no longer fits or needs to be dry cleaned. It's also a good idea to pack several copies of your CV in a portfolio or briefcase so you won't forget them. And perhaps the most important thing is to drive to the interview site ahead of time. That way, you can be certain you know the exact location, where to park, if there are any detours, and how long it takes to get there.

You can either make a written list or create one in your phone. Or both, if you think there's a chance you'll forget one or the other. With a checklist handy, you can check the boxes as your interview day draws nearer. Then on the morning of, you'll be less likely to forget anything and have fewer things to worry about.


Do your research

Doing your research is something else that should be included in the aforementioned checklist. Research the company where you'll be interviewing. Even if the company itself isn't what led you to apply, you want to make your potential future boss think it played a role. Many employers ask interviewees why they want to work at their company or what they know about it, so doing your research can help you prepare for these questions. If you're confident in your knowledge of the company, you'll be less likely to be nervous before and during the interview.


Learn all you can about the company online and in person, if possible. Visit the website and go to Glassdoor to see what current and previous employees are saying. You might even find helpful information on social media platforms. Read, read, read until you reach the point where you can confidently talk about the company to someone else with your eyes closed.

Use the S.T.O.P. skill

"Take a deep breath." It's one of the most popular words of advice for someone in a stressful or nerve-wracking situation, and the S.T.O.P. skill involves that and more. It's an acronym that stands for stop, take a breath, observe, and proceed (via Cognitive Behavior Therapy Los Angeles). Developed by researcher Jon Kabat-Zinn, this skill can be used any time you're feeling nervous, stressed, or anxious, including before a job interview.


You don't always know when the nerves are going to start hitting you before an important event. Sometimes it's the night before or hours before. Sometimes it's minutes or seconds before. Whenever you start to feel the nerves before the interview, stop what you're doing. If you're driving, pull over (if time allows). If you're in the middle of getting dressed, stop dressing. Stop for just a few minutes so you can stop worrying. Then take a deep breath and exhale it out. Do this a few times if you need to. Observe your surroundings for a few moments. Look around you, wherever you are, and then proceed.

Do something that normally puts you in a good mood

Everyone has an activity that they enjoy, whether they're feeling stressed or not. Listening to music, taking a walk through the woods, knitting, talking with a close friend, baking, and riding a bike are a few examples. If time allows, choose whatever your mood-boosting activity is before your interview to calm your nerves.


Have a 10 a.m. interview? Listen to your favorite songs starting at 9 a.m. Or, if time allows, call your BFF a few minutes before you walk into the lobby and ask them for some encouragement, or a funny joke. You can also do a quick power walk around the block or some other physical activity since exercise can boost your endorphins.

Another option is to do absolutely nothing. Sometimes just sitting in complete silence is enough to keep the nerves at bay, as Cleveland Clinic explains. It may not necessarily put you in a happy mood, but at the very least, it can make you feel calm as your interview approaches.