Navigating nerves before an interview

Being too nervous doesn't do anyone any good before or during an interview.

But even though we know interviews shouldn't make us very edgy, some of us still get scared before we attend one.

There are a number of very understandable reasons for this. One of the biggest is that you may feel a lot rides on the outcome of the occasion. It's easy to find yourself in the psychological trap where you are too focused on the idea that you have half an hour to influence what could be a massive change in your life. What happens if you make a slip-up and lose this potentially great change?

This can cause big problems, making us too scared about the event ahead to really do our best.

Other people can face more specific worries. Maybe, for example, you are usually good at talking to people, but think that you perform badly when you're under scrutiny in an interview, and so are anticipating this happening when you attend a forthcoming meeting of this sort.

It's important not to become a slave to nerves before or during an interview, so consider these tips if you think they may be a problem.

Relax yourself

Relaxation and refocusing are important tools to banish fear about an interview.

It's likely, for example, that you might feel better on the evening before your meeting if you spend time having a warm bath, listening to calming music or doing something else that you know will help you get into a calm place. Doing some exercise you enjoy could also help.

Relaxation starts before this, however, and can partly come simply from the knowledge that you have used your interview preparation time wisely.

In order to make sure that you're not feeling like time is too tight the night before an interview, it's always wise to use all the lead-up time you have appropriately for getting an outfit ready, research and all the other jobs that it can be a good idea to do before an interview, at a reasonable pace.

If you don't have much time – perhaps because the interview has come at short notice – don't panic and rush: balance preparation with relaxation, as both are important.

Calm your thoughts

Thoughts can get in the way when it comes to any interview. It's hard not to start thinking about the positive impact securing a job would have on your life – especially if it's a role you really want.

But on the other hand, thinking about this too deeply might end up making you too nervous – feeling as if the job is the be-all-and-end-all. Remind yourself that other, similar jobs are out there, perhaps even applying for one or two if you have time, so that your mind isn't fixed on the idea that this particular job is the only one for you.

You can also use preparation time to help deal with the nervousness your mind crates about particular aspects of the process.

If talking about your achievements is something you find hard, for example, arrange a practice interview where you might be able to get more used to doing this confidently. A friend could help here.

Berkeley Scott is a specialist hospitality recruitment agency.