Blog post

How to deal with interview nerves

Having some nerves are a good thing to keep you focussed, but if they get the better of you can find yourself not perfoming to your best.

We’ve covered general interview preparation in another blog here so this piece focuses on when it’s likely to be a second interview, probably with more senior people, when more will be demanded from you. 

Rather than spend time thinking of the worse case scenario, put time and effort into being prepared.  Follow the below tips and take the sting out of an overthinking mindset.

1.      Don’t lie on your CV.

An obvious one maybe, but at a second stage interview it might be time for your potential employers to dive into more detail based on what you’ve stated. 

If you have told a little white lie or a great big porky, best case is you’ll be pulled up which will make for a really embarrassing situation.  Worse case is you get away with it, only for your employers to find out when you’ve got the job and it leads to your dismissal for providing false information.     

2.     Remember it’s an interview not a comedy club.

However likeable you are or what a great work colleague you might be, lightening up the interview with a bunch of wise cracks is ill advised.  Take your interview seriously, you might make a humorous comment here and there, but running through your best stand-up routine isn’t going to win the interviewer(s) over.  You need to be serious and know where to draw the line, and if you are given an opportunity to talk about yourself, clear concise and focused answers will evoke professionalism, rather than jokes that skirt around the issues at hand.

3.      Keep your cool, even if the questions get tough.

It’s probably stretching it to suggest you really look forward to a tough interview or that it’s a really pleasure to go through.  You might be asked some really hard questions that you don’t really want to answer, and some interviewers will deliberately attempt to provoke a reaction out of you. 

The best thing you can do is to keep your cool.  Don’t get flustered, and don’t get angry.  Be prepared to answer the unexpected, and keep a clear and focused head.  Take your time to answer the tough questions; don’t instantly lose your cool.

4.      Don’t be too rehearsed – let your personality out.

Being prepared and ready for what comes is not the same as rehearsing every single emotion.  Do this and your ice cool demeanour will lead the interviewers to think of you as robotic and or lacking personality.  When in an interview situation you need to create a balance between answering the questions to the best of your ability but letting the interviewer see a bit of your personality come across.  Don’t reel off answers like you’ve rehearsed them religiously for hours.  Loosen up, be confident, but be yourself – if an employer can’t see any personality or warmth from a candidate it might well put them off, even if you’re the perfect package!

5.      Curb your attitude.

There’s no doubt a robust character is useful and necessary in the cutthroat business world.  However, the last thing you want to do is offend the interviewer, by being bolshie, brash and argumentative. 

If the interviewer makes a comment on your CV or a remark about your personality, accept the comment and move on.  Don’t jump down the interviewer’s throat and expect them to shower you with job offers.

And finally. 

Interviews are tough at the best of times, and high pressure interviews in which deliberate tactics are used to provoke a response or to unsettle you can be pretty rough.  The best way to survive the ordeal is to keep calm, keep focused and remember these are purposely executed to see how you react in uncomfortable situations.  

Good luck!