Controlling Jitters Before Your Interview

The prospect of sitting alone in a room with a stranger and talking about yourself can be terrifying. You certainly don’t want the stress to overwhelm you. If an interviewer’s strongest impression of you at the end of the interview is the sweat on your brow, quiver in your voice, and the twitches in your limbs, you’re in trouble. Here’s how to put things in perspective.


  • Someone at the organization likes you and thinks you have a chance to contribute. You’ve haven’t been called in to be tortured — you have a real shot at getting hired.
  • If this interview doesn’t work out, you will have another one. There are a lot of jobs out there.
  • Every interviewing experience you have will prepare you to do better in the next one.
  • The person sitting across from you was once sitting on the hot seat just like you, and they survived and got the job even though their voice trembled a bit and their knees knocked a little. Everyone’s been through the situation and knows what it’s like.
  • Just like everyone else, this person interviewing you has friends and casual acquaintances with whom they hang out. They aren’t always so formal. Try to connect with your interviewer on a human level, without being too goofy and informal.

Dealing with anxiety

It would be a shame to let something as insignificant and short-lived as an attack of nerves conceal your winning attributes. Here are some tips to prevent nervous tics and other imperfections from interfering with your best interview ever.


  • If you’re concerned with a piece of clothing in your interview ensemble — maybe the naked-lady tie is a little racy and you’re on the fence about it — change it. In addition to favorably impressing your interviewer, your clothes should do nothing but support and feed the confidence and comfort of the intelligent, sensitive creature wearing them.
  • During the interview you’ll want to look neat, clean, and well-composed. You should always wear a suit. Even if the workplace where you’re applying is business casual (or has no dress code whatsoever.) Even if the interviewer tells you that you don’t need to wear a suit. It’s always better to overdress than underdress. Stick to conservative navy, gray or black. Women, wear pantyhose and closed-toes shoes.
  • If a deficiency on your resume worries you, don’t obsess on it and let it sink your spirits. Think about this deficiency and how you will explain it before you go in for the interview. It’s there, so deal with it and move on. Remember, they’ve agreed to interview despite this flaw, so it can’t be a stopper. If there is any way of putting a positive spin on it without making it a feature of the interview, plan a short but sweet response.
  • On the day of the interview, breathing exercises can help you relax and focus your energy. Closing your eyes, imagine a peaceful place. Or, visualize yourself acing the interview. Here’s another one: place your tongue at the roof of your mouth just behind the teeth and then breath quickly and forcefully through your nose for as long as you can. If you push yourself at this, when you then inhale deeply through your mouth again, you should feel energized.


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