Dealing with Job Interview Jitters

Having struggled with interviews herself (but now happily employed!), Kylie is keen to share how she overcame those dreaded job interview jitters. Whether you’re attending face-to-face or online/virtual interviews, these tips should help you feel calmer and more confident.

Dealing with job interview j
Photo by Christina @ on Unsplash

One of the most important parts of any job-hunting process is the interview. From the employer’s perspective, it provides a key opportunity to judge whether a candidate will be a good fit for the role and company. But remember, it is a two-way process; interviews also provide job seekers with an avenue to examine the duties and expectations attached to the job they are applying for, as well as the salary, benefits and personal growth opportunities they entail. With so much banking on the success (or the failure) of a single interview, it’s not surprising how a lot of job seekers find it hard to keep their calm and composure. If you are one of those people, here are some of the ways you can solve, if not significantly alleviate job interview jitters.

Pace yourself

Whether you are participating in an online or offline interview, pacing yourself is extremely important. In a face-to-face meeting, this simple and straightforward tip will give you enough time to really think about the questions being directed to you and the chance to come up with the most appropriate answer. On the other hand, in a virtual meeting, pacing yourself will make it easier for the interviewer to follow what you’re saying. According to an article by the Harvard Business Review, slowing down the pace of your speech can also reduce the likelihood of you interrupting the interviewer and help you avoid filler words like ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’ that many listeners find annoying.

Breathe deeply

More often than not, when people find themselves in highly stressful situations, their hearts beat a little faster, making their breathing more rapid and more shallow. This is where deep breathing techniques can come in handy. Pain Free Working’s list of breathing exercises mention how deep breathing is not only capable of inducing calm but is also helpful in improving one’s mood, alleviating stress and getting rid of headaches. Some of the techniques you might want to try to keep jitters at bay are the Lion’s Breath and the 4-7-8 technique:


Lion’s Breath Technique

Sit up in a chair, with your shoulders relaxed and your feet flat on the floor.
Breathe in and then out for equal counts and repeat this a few times.
Then take a deep breath in through your nose, and exhale with your mouth wide open and your tongue sticking out, while making the sound “haaaah.”
Repeat this four times, before going back to deep breathing in and out for equal counts.
Do this whole breathing exercise three times.



The 4-7-8 technique

Assume the same sitting position as above.
Breathe in through your nose for 4 counts.
Hold it for 7 counts.
Then exhale forcefully for 8 counts with your tongue pressed on the ridge behind your front teeth.


Look into the interviewer’s eyes (or at the camera)

A big chunk of communication happens through non-verbal cues. If you want to get your message across and exude confidence, make it a habit to look into the eyes of your interviewer – but don’t stare. Try to maintain good eye contact in a natural and friendly manner.
For online interviews, as awkward as it may seem, try to speak to the camera. This will help you mimic eye contact virtually. Since speaking directly to the camera can be rather difficult, try scheduling a mock interview with a friend. Record and review it. Then, check if you have distracting habits that require some fixing!

Do your research

One of the things that can easily set you apart from other candidates is your dedication to thoroughly research the company and role before the interview. This will give you valuable insights into how you could sell your skills, ask pertinent questions and it will help you find a common ground with the company you are applying for, so you can demonstrate you would be a good fit.
Aside from basic information such as their mission statement, core values and company culture, it would be a good idea to look into any recent projects and form an opinion about them. As highlighted in one of our previous posts ‘The Job Search – Step Up & Stand Out’, it would also be in your best interests to try and get in touch with someone who works there, to give you the perspective of an employee and allow you to gather talking points. These will help the conversation flow and build connections during your interview.
Good Luck!


About the Author

Kylie Reid, contributor
After graduating from college, Kylie Reid found herself struggling to land a job – not because of a lack of credentials, but because she kept bombing every interview. Her inexperience was undeniable, and it showed. It wasn’t until she watched about a dozen YouTube videos and read twice as many articles that she finally solved the problem of those job interview jitters. These days, she’s happily employed as a virtual assistant to a tech startup, and spends her free time trying to help other new graduates who may be experiencing what she went through.


Find out more:

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