I have an interview coming up soon, and I’m struggling with trying to keep it together. What are some ways to help calm down and not be so nervous right before an interview?
Some great responses from people already:
Before an interview I do this (I’m a SWE so specific steps might vary for other fellows):
- Try to do one practice problem in 30 minutes around 1 hour before the start to get my critical thinking juices flowing (or: review a chapter in CLRS); this steps helps me to keep my confidence up
- After solving (or documenting what I could do better if I didn’t get it done) I brew a quick camomile tea and sip it slowly; it helps to calm my nerves for behavioral questions
- During the interview I focus on what they’re asking me to do and try to keep my nerves from affecting my answers too much, but usually with my confidence built and nerves soothed I don’t feel quite so jittery
My approach works for me: everyone is different, but I know I’m an anxious interviewee and I’ve used the above tactics to calm myself before every interview I’ve had so far and I’ve managed to progress w/ 2 out of 3 companies that I’ve interviewed with
My advice to come up with your own ‘pre-interview’ ritual is to think about things you feel during an interview and then figure out ways you can reduce that.
During previous interviews I felt a lack of confidence and really jittery, so before an interview I like to do things that boost my confidence and reduce my jitters that have worked before. (edited)
Deep breathing works for me. 4 seconds in, 8 seconds out.
I talk to people. It totally relaxes me
I meditate with one of my phone apps (calm, simple habit, insight timer, moodrise)
I think about what would happen if I didn’t get the job and I realize I’d still be alive and well. If anything I’ll get to practice more problems. If the company doesn’t hire me it’s to some extent their loss as well. I try not to associate my self-worth with my success at interviews. This attitude leads to no anxiety in the first place if practiced well. I have a slightly different view than most when it comes to interviews. I believe in radical honesty. It’s not just the company hiring you but you’re recruiting the company as well to work with.
I’m co-signing what @Kris said. Fantastic feedback, and generally how I try to think about these types of “career defining moments.”
For me, had this ritual of getting there 1 hour before the interview, and I hang out in a coffee shop or park nearby, then I review my resume and my stories from my behavioral matrix and write “you got this!” on a piece of paper. I head to my interview to arrive 15 mins before schedule. Not sure if this is helpful for anyone else, but I really like this tradition for myself!
This is what I do! Part of what I’m nervous about is being late, so I aim to be extremely early, then I have time to “study” my resume.
Another thing that calms my nerves is to just be really well-prepared. I see interviews the same way I saw exams, and I prepare the same. Study for them! Research the company, research your interviewers, review your resume. Look up common interview questions, practice multiple versions of answers you could give. Practice so much that no matter how nervous you are, you will do just as well in your interview as you did on your best exam.
And remember, some of the power is yours! You are also interviewing them to see if they are a good fit for you. Ask them hard questions to see if they are a good fit for your goals and personality. It may turn out that your “dream company” isn’t a great fit for you, while you are their top candidate!
Since no one has yet addressed virtual interviews, I’ll chime in here! If I find myself stressing before a phone or video call, I like to take advantage of the fact that I’m in my own space. I’ll often listen to music to amp me up until 5-10 minutes before the interview.
I also sometimes position myself in the room so that, during the interview, I’m facing something that reminds me of my value beyond the job search and the things that bring me joy - a photo of family, for example.
I threw up this morning in my hotel. Happens every time before the interview
But having a plan B and realizing that there are other things in my life that I am grateful for even if I don’t get that job helps me.
I usually keep my mind distracted by:
- Getting some fresh air
- Using that anxiety energy for a small walk or a couple push ups
- Staying hydrated with water or green tea
- Do something relaxing and take a break, everything I’ve (or you have) prepared will still be there with you and I don’t need to cramp anything last minute. Maybe watch a quick FRIENDS episode?
- Quickly go over my resume to know what all I have one there
- Not over-prepare by writing everything I’m going to say and let the conversation flow naturally during the interview
Hope that helps!
Great advices here - just want to add something else:
I take a 10 minute cold shower. It wakes me up and prevents me from over-stressing.
Did it today before an onsite interview and it really helped calm my nerves and made for a much better experience.
@isabellecharaf I know this is old but I think this tip would help a lot for ever
Hey I think the biggest advice anyone can give you in terms of getting rid of nerves, which helped me!
I think Curry said that every time he feels nervous he says that he knows something good is coming. Instead of making it a negative feeling make it a positive one. I don’t get nervous talking to people but here’s my take below:
I do a lot of fighting game tournaments and you will get nervous, and telling myself that, helped me improve my mindset during games. I literally say in my head, “Something good is about to happen” and My hands are shaking and butterflies everywhere but I’m able to perform and push through.
Consider watching stand up comedy right before the interview. It distracts you, calms you down by making you laugh, and reminds you of how we all are just basically human. Watching other people make fool of themselves on stage gives you inspiration that nothing go wrong when you are here in your best clothes, behavior and mindset. You got this!