How To Manage Your Nerves In An InterviewMarch 28th 2022
The dreaded interview is a daunting situation for everyone, even seasoned professionals. For those at the younger end of the workforce spectrum, interviews are nerve-wracking, to say the least.
The interview has come a long way in the last decade or two. There are more protections for job seekers, more balance in the hiring relationship between employer and employee, and more flexible, open forums to hold them.
But that doesn’t mean they’re not still terrifying!
Here at Youth Hub, we’ve put together a 3-stage guide on managing nerves in an interview - it’s a “cheat sheet” to understanding how to build a positive mindset and not deny the power of nerves!
Learn to own your nerves!
Stage 1 of understanding your nerves starts by admitting to yourself that, yes, you are nervous. We know this sounds basic. But it’s vitally important you do not ignore how nervous you are. We think nerves give you power.
You’re inevitably going to get nervous stepping into an interview. Everyone does! But admitting you feel nervous is the most important step to owning your nerves and using them as fuel for perfecting your interview.
Nerves serve as signposts to things you may need to prepare for, find out, or double-check: like an internal alarm system.
These are common, more than typical, and expected emotions to feel pre-interview.
The trick is: write them all down, prioritise which of them are the most important to you (or most nerve-wracking!), and then follow stage two below.
Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
Stage two of understanding your nerves is preparation.
Consider the bullet points above. How are you going to own each of these situations that cause you to feel nervous? Through preparation. Preparation takes information.
Information is how you ground your nerves in action and how you build structures of knowledge to help you understand each of the above points.Let's take “Are you nervous about what to ask your interviewer?” - how do you own these nerves?
Researching the company you’re going to interview for is a basic pre-interview task and should give you the channels of questioning to go down, such as recent growth plans, previous hiring successes, or achievements over the years.
Plus, consider our context - as we step into a post-pandemic world, opening up lines of questioning around COVID-19 and your hiring manager's reaction to it will help you build a bank of questions that are perfectly suited for any interview.
This is preparation in action - through preparing, you can make a plan. That plan should settle your nerves!
Allow yourself to make mistakes
Finally, owning your nerves also requires you to do something you may feel you shouldn’t do - make mistakes.
Making mistakes in this regard means allowing yourself to make errors, hesitate while answering questions, even answer questions wrong because it’s only through mistakes that you learn.
You will fail in interviews more than you will succeed. The irony of perfecting interviews is that you have to get it wrong before you can get it right. There is a skill to perfecting your interview. In the main, those skills are developed through experience and tenure.
This is especially relevant for younger workers entering the workforce - you’re not an expert, and you’re not expected to be, so allow yourself the time and space to learn about how to interview. Unfortunately, this takes doing a lot of interviews!
So don’t put pressure on yourself. Allow yourself to make mistakes. Your interviewer will expect a certain amount of nervousness, and good interviewers make space for hesitation, lack of surety, and nerves. Putting your mind into the right space - that interviews are learning opportunities - should also reduce nerves and create space for you to be yourself.
Interviews are inherently nerve-wracking! But the secret to owning your nerves is allowing yourself to feel them, preparing for every eventuality and letting yourself make mistakes.
Remember - your interviewer isn’t expecting you to be the perfect employee. They’re expecting you to be the most honest, open, and real version of you that you can be!
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