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by Peter Yang | May 24, 2017


Woman waiting nervously on a bench

You can't seem to help it: every time you go into an interview it feels like you're venturing into a lion's den. Your body stiffens and your palms begin to sweat. You tell yourself to take a deep breath, but every time your lungs take in a gulp of air, your heart ends up skipping a beat.

Sound familiar? Well you're not alone. Everyone gets a bit nervous before an interview –- it would almost be weird not to. But this doesn't mean there's nothing you can do to help manage your fear. Here are a few tips on how to keep your nerves in check so you can show up to your interviews more calm and relaxed. 

1. Don't overly prepare

This probably goes against advice you've been given in the past. Being prepared is one of the most traditional ways of helping someone keep cool and composed, but this isn't always the case.

Spending days, if not weeks preparing for one specific interview can spell doom for your mental state. Remember, as humans we focus on the things that we put the most time and effort in. Going into an interview with more information than needed and a week's worth of prep work will surely raise your own expectations of how well you'll perform. In doing so, you put way more pressure on yourself than you really need to.

Instead, simply do some research on the company before the day of the interview. Only bother yourself with learning the main essentials – the company name, job description, and interview location. Remember, your job interviewer won't expect you to know everything about the business beforehand.

2. Get there early and try to have breakfast nearby

Arriving early is a terrific way to avoid some of the nightmare situations that we all worry about in the backs of our minds. No one wants to find themselves late because they were stuck in traffic. Take it a step further though and have breakfast near the interview location. This will get your mind accustomed to the new surroundings and give yourself a chance to gather your thoughts. Better yet, it gives you something else to think about while you wait. So, instead of dreading your upcoming interview, ask yourself what you'd like to eat!

3. Initiate small talk with an employee

Consider it warmup. You don't want to head into your interview without having spoken with anyone at all for the entire day. Find an employee who's casually walking by and try engaging in a conversation with him. Ask for directions or any advice he'd be willing to offer. I'm sure that most people would be delighted to have a quick chat with you, and who knows, maybe he'll gives you some worthwhile tips for the interview!

4. Tell yourself you have nothing to lose

We generally make a bigger deal out of things than they actually are. In this scenario, there are really only two outcomes to your interview. You either get a job offer or you don't, in which case you'll never have to talk to your interviewer again. So don't go into the interview afraid of embarrassing yourself or looking like a fool. If that does happen, you can rest easy knowing you probably won't ever see these people ever again.

5. Turn the tables

Yes that's right! Don't get trapped in the typical mindset that you're the one trying to impress your interviewer. Tell yourself that it'd be a mistake for the company to NOT hire you! Don't forget, the company needs new employees just like how you need a new job. Instead of trying to impressive the interviewer, go into the interview wondering whether or not you'll be impressed by the company. Is the interviewer asking you questions you find silly? Are you excited by what you've seen? Get into the mindset of evaluating the company just as critically as it is evaluating you.

Peter Yang is the co-founder of an online resume writing service. He’s had experience as a career coach and career counselor, as well as working as a human resource manager for multiple Fortune 500 technology companies.