5 Relaxation Techniques To Take The Edge Off Your Next Job Interview

John Krautzel
Posted by

Just getting to a job interview means a recruiter or HR manager likes your skills, qualifications and levels of experience as described in your resume. However, actually meeting with you at a job interview means the potential employer wants to gauge your personality to see if you are the right fit for the position. Learn to stay calm before, during and after the interview to get the best possible results.

Even if you prepare thoroughly, you may still feel jittery, stressed and nervous just before you meet recruiters. Practice these five relaxation techniques before and during the interview to calm your nerves and win the day.

1. Breathe

Sometimes you just need to take a breath. Before you answer a question, pause for a moment and take a deep breath. This slow inhale and exhale lasts just a few seconds, but it's effective and relaxing. 

A deep breath does several things all at once. It focuses your body on one simple act. The breath lets you pause for five to 10 seconds while you think about your answer. This deep breath lets your interviewers know that you think about questions first before answering them, which is better than simply spouting off memorized text. Breathing helps your body to relax and keeps your voice on an even keel instead of raspy as you gasp for quick breaths.

Breathe deeply from your abdomen and not your chest. This technique also helps you gain more confidence as the interview progresses.

2. Positive Visualization

Visualize how you want your interviewers to see you. Before you step into a room full of strangers, create a visual representation of the perfect candidate for this position. Notice the person's tone of voice, mannerisms and nonverbal cues. Visualize yourself answering each interview question adeptly and without fear. The best athletes in the world utilize this technique, so put visualization to work for you, too.

3. Have a Conversation

An interview is not all about you answering questions. The people talking to you expect you to ask questions at some point. As you formulate an answer, think of a follow-up question to ask the interviewer. Asking questions keeps the HR manager and recruiter engaged and interested in you and your conversation.

4. Slow Down

If you find yourself stumbling over words, pause for a moment and slow down your pace. Feel free to say out loud that you need a moment to think of a response to an interesting question. This is where a deep breath may come into play as you formulate a response.

5. Redirect Stressful Questions

Not every question asked of you is easy to answer. Redirect a potentially negative question into a positive so you don't have to talk about a stressful topic. For instance, talk about how you learned better time management skills during a period when you had to rush through some important work. Turn a weakness into a strength using the same strategy.

Stress and anxiety do not have to rule during your job interview. Discover which relaxation techniques work best for you, and use them to guide your behavior as you land your dream job.

Photo Courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Become a member to take advantage of more features, like commenting and voting.

  • masum anwar
    masum anwar

    Hard work and strategy can bring any success

  • Laura Winzeler
    Laura Winzeler

    I seem to have great success in loosening everyone up with humor as early in the interaction as is possible and appropriate. Not corny jokes or longwinded stories, but some extemporaneous, witty quip that takes the other people by surprise, evokes a laugh, and acts as a subliminal bonding mechanism.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Mike you might try to deep breathing prior to the start of the interview. As I mentioned before, I like to do a huge yawn. Even a forced yawn is enough to get the energy level back up, breathing back to normal and make you ready for the interview. Of course - do this in private, not while sitting and waiting to go in. Try a few sips of water, too and maybe take a few minutes to glance at a picture that makes you want to smile. Then, you will be ready to go. And remember, that interviewer could be as nervous as you are so there's no reason to panic. You are just going to have a sit down chat with a new friend.

  • Mike Van de Water
    Mike Van de Water

    Can you share some tips about before the interview process actually starts to keep your body from going into panic mode? The visualization that you mention is one method that I often use, but sometimes it feels like I need a way to relax WITHOUT thinking about the stressful thing that I'm trying to get through. Thanks!

  • Jay Bowyer
    Jay Bowyer

    I think the point about having a conversation is so important. When we work in a team, we need to be able to have a multi-way conversation. We can prove our conversational prowess at interview. Plus, it makes the interviewer feel engaged and appreciated — and they're only human, after all. Overall, it's a tip that's bound to work in our favors!

  • Lydia K.
    Lydia K.

    @Tara, I agree that interviewers definitely want to learn more about you, what makes you different from other qualified candidates. I've found that interviews where I have the best conversations often lead to offers. I guess it's just important to use discretion. Some interviewers are more formal than others. So watch for cues and if the interviewer indicates it's okay to have a friendly chat then this is a good thing.

  • Jacqueline Parks
    Jacqueline Parks

    In my personal experience, I have found that redirecting stressful questions isn't always a good solution. In the past, I have worked as a hiring manager, and I liked it best when applicants tackled difficult questions head on. Another solution is to share what you are thinking respectfully. For example, the applicant can state that the question is difficult and then explain why. This gives someone time to get an honest answer together. No one is perfect. I would rather an applicant share their imperfections than cover them up. I really value that level of honesty.

  • Duncan  Maranga
    Duncan Maranga

    I like the idea of striking a conversation instead of just being on the receiving side of questions from the interviewer. However, I have a concern about when to pose my questions. Is it appropriate for me to raise a question at any moment along the interview or should I wait for a specific moment when the interviewer asks me to pose my questions?

  • Jacob T.
    Jacob T.

    Some of the best, and most successful interviews I've had came as a result of my taking a brief pause before each of my answers to gather my thoughts and take a deep breath. Having my breathing under control and my mind organized made it easier to express myself and deliver the answer in a clear and engaging fashion.

  • Erin H.
    Erin H.

    I really like the suggestion of visualization. This technique makes you more mindful of possible questions and how you might answer them. Visualizing yourself in the role of “employee” helps you to think of additional questions that you can ask during the interview. Also, I think that visualization helps to alleviate nervousness.

  • Abbey Boyd
    Abbey Boyd

    No matter what situation you find yourself in, positivity is the key to remaining calm and avoiding anxiety and unneeded stress. Thinking about how well you are going to do, and retaining the positive thinking throughout the interview will make a world of difference. Negativity does nothing for you, especially during an interview.

  • Tara Avery
    Tara Avery

    I think the importance of including conversation in an interview is really important. First, because generally people are more at ease when having a conversation versus tensely answering interview questions. Second, because a conversational tone lets your future employer see behind the curtain a little. As important as it is to be prepared and collected during an interview, showing a little humanity--be it in conversation, an icebreaker, a bit of an in-good-taste joke--lets them know what kind of person they'll be hiring.

  • William Browning
    William Browning

    I disagree that you should redirect a potentially negative question. If you try to avoid something, interviewers may think you're trying to lie or hide something. Taking a positive spin on a negative aspect of your previous employment is good, but not necessarily avoiding something altogether. As long as you're honest, you should do just fine.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    I think that the same techniques could work on both sides of the table. One thing that I found that worked for me was to sit in on an interview being conducted by someone else just so that I could see how it went and some of the pitfalls that I might encounter. Once you observe an interview you realize that it's not so bad.

  • Shannon Philpott
    Shannon Philpott

    This is very solid advice for job seekers. Stress and anxiety are often a natural part of the interview process. As a former hiring manager, I often found myself feeling anxious as well. What are some suggestions you can provide for interviewers who are just as nervous as the interviewees?

Jobs to Watch