A job interview represents the promise of a fresh start, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a stressful event. With so much on the line (and the fact some interview processes aren’t effectively streamlined), no one can blame a job seeker for getting nervous before an interview.

Knowing how to handle nerves is crucial to get through the interview and prove you can overcome obstacles on the job. In order to master your nerves and position yourself as the ideal candidate, try these calming strategies.

Be prepared

In a high-stakes environment like an interview, winging it isn’t the best move. You’re mentally juggling so much as you balance your materials, the job description, information about the company, and your answers to common questions. You’ll do better and feel more ready the more prior preparation you do.

Reviewing the job description and preparing your questions and answers will make your responses feel more organic and polished when the interview starts, but preparation doesn’t end there. Indeed says to minimize chance by planning your outfit, knowing the route to the location if physical or being familiar with the tech if not, and checking all of your materials the night before.

Take care of yourself physically

But there is a point of too much preparation. There is a lot to go over before your interview, but if you’re neglecting your physical needs, you’ll actually hurt your chances. Be sure to take care of yourself during the process.

That means, at the bare minimum, remembering to eat breakfast and getting a good night’s sleep before the interview, Having a full night’s rest and some food in your tummy will keep you alert and functioning. For a little extra help, take a walk before your interview. Not only is it a good way to clear your head, but The Guardian found that physical activity can reduce stress, improve confidence and circulation, promote clear thinking, and increase your energy.

“Remember, the quality of your health can directly affect your interview performance. When you feel your best, you’ll achieve the greatest interview success!” –AGA Solutions Group

Find a confidence-boosting ritual

Confidence is key in interviews but building confidence is tricky because different people are motivated differently. Finding a pre-game ritual can help shake those interview nerves, but it may take some trial and error to find what helps you best.

LinkedIn’s Shena Grover says that some people work best by visualizing success. Imagine yourself confidently conquering the interview and you may manifest it into reality. For others, small things like finding an empowering playlist, reciting a manta, or clearing your head do the trick. If you’re in doubt, many career coaches suggest keeping a “brag book” of all of your accomplishments. Having tangible reminders of how far you’ve come can remind you of what you’re capable of.

“People often find that having a confidence-boosting mantra to repeat to themselves is a boon, whether said out loud in private or echoing silently in your own head. Simply chanting something like “I am fully ready for this” or “I can do this brilliantly” can muster a bit of mettle and make the prospect of the interview less daunting.” –Interview Gold

Talk to an ally

Getting the jitters before an interview is a universal experience. That means if you’re struggling to overcome your nerves, you can find someone who has dealt with them before. You don’t need to face this challenge alone—you can confide in your team.

Indeed says that it’s often easier to listen to someone else’s positive encouragement over our own. Hearing uplifting comments from friends and family might be enough to change your thinking. AGA Solutions Group adds that talking to a mentor can help by either offering tangible advice, practicing questions with you, or simply adding another word of encouragement.

Think of the interview as a conversation

What makes interviews so stressful, besides how they can affect our future, is that they feel like a test. Mentally, you’ll be trying to come up with the exact right answers while physically you’re trying to look your best. It’s easy to think of the interview as a test to be passed.

But at the end of the day, an interview is a conversation. Vantage Lens’ Sanjoy Khan Choudhury says that by reframing your view of the interview and trying to engage in organic conversation with your interviewer, you’ll reduce anxiety and fall into a more natural flow. Also, don’t forget that you’re interviewing them as well. You want to use this conversation to see if this is a place you want to work.

Wrap up

Even in a worst-case scenario, you can bounce back from a bad interview. There may be a lot on the line during a job interview, but while you prepare, don’t forget to take care of yourself. Be aware of your mental state, find a calming method that works for you, talk to someone if you need to, and look over your past accomplishments. The more you practice these methods, the less your nerves will control you.

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