Sweaty palms, accelerated heartbeat, relentlessly mumbling interview questions and answers to yourself as strangers stare at you in the elevator. Sound familiar? Relax, you’re not alone.
Millions of anxious job candidates suffer through the same merciless case of nerves and jitters before that all-important job interview. And it seems to be getting worse as thousands of young college grads vie for fewer and fewer available jobs in this down economy.
So how do you stay calm for a life-changing 20 minutes that can affect your career, your life and your ability to finally move out of your parents’ house? Follow these seven calming steps:
1. Avoid caffeine and sugar. No coffee or tea. Avoid energy bars, energy drinks, or donuts—they can make you jumpy and jittery. You don’t need energy for the interview. You’re already pumped up and ready to run a marathon.
2. Arrive 10 minutes early. Relax in the waiting room. Breath deeply. Make fists with your toes to ease your muscles. Shift your legs occasionally--you don’t want your foot to fall asleep when they call you in.
3. Don’t fidget. Keep your hands off your cell phone, file folders, portfolio, bragbook or pen. Don’t send emails or text messages to anyone. Turn off your cell phone and Blackberry. Leave your hair and makeup alone. Don’t pick at your clothes. You look great.
4. Don’t size up the competition. If there are other candidates in the waiting room, ignore them. They aren’t better than you.
5. Visualize a win. See yourself coming out ahead in the introduction, the questions, and the conclusion. Think about your resume and how it got you the interview. They called you for a reason. They’re interested enough to talk to you—over all the other resumes they had on their desk.
6. Mentally rehearse. To build your confidence—and to give you something to do to take your mind off the mere idea of failure—practice the answers to questions you may be asked. And go over the questions you plan to ask the interviewer.
7. Sweaty Palms? If your palms perspire, keep a handkerchief in your purse or pocket and mash it with the hand you shake hands with.
When your name is called, rise gracefully and with confidence. Be careful not to trip over your briefcase or portfolio. You’re ready. You can do this. The job is yours.
What do you do to stay calm before an interview? I welcome your suggestions.
For an added perspective, check out this video:
Alex A. Kecskes has written hundreds of published articles on health/fitness, "green" issues, TV/film entertainment, restaurant reviews and many other topics. As a former Andy/Belding/One Show ad agency copywriter, he also writes web content, ads, brochures, sales letters, mailers and scripts for national B2B and B2C clients. Please see more of his blogs and view additional job postings on Nexxt.
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