Nerves: How do you stay calm?

Everyone is nervous before an interview. Our nervous systems are wired to make us a bit jumpy when we meet strangers. Your adrenalin is pumping because you are going to interview with someone you don’t know. In other words, being nervous is normal.

The good news is that you’re not the only person in the room who is nervous. The interviewer is nervous, too!

  • The interviewer wants you, the candidate, to do a good job.
  • The interviewer has already invested time in looking at your resume and cover letter and in arranging to meet you.
  • The interviewer wants the interview to go well. Otherwise, the interviewer has to spend more time and money finding another candidate.

The interviewer is not the enemy

  • The interviewer is not someone who is trying to keep you out of a position or program.
  • The interviewer is a human being who appreciates your interest in the organization — and in the interviewer as a human being.
  • The interviewer knows that you are nervous and will try to make you comfortable.
  • The interviewer is someone who may be your colleague one day.

How do you stay calm?

  • Prepare. The more prepared you are, the less nervous you will be.
  • Keep in mind that the interviewer is a human being, just like you.
  • As you interview, think about the interviewer as a future colleague.
  • Smile at the interviewer. Your smile will relax both of you.
  • If the interviewer gives you a hard question, say, “That’s a great question. I’d like to take a moment to think about it.” Think, and then answer.
  • If you don’t know the answer to a question, say, “That’s a great question. I don’t know the answer. Can you help me with it?” The interviewer will do so.
  • Take time to breathe.

Preparation: How do you get ready for an interview?