Student’s Guide to Taming Interview Nerves

Trying to pass for cool, calm and collected during an interview? Read this…

We all know the dread of the initial handshake; the first greeting. Perspiration drips from your palm and your potential employer’s hand slips; he shakes your wrist. Your voice breaks on the first word. It sounds a bit like “Goo-ood morning…”. Then what? You scramble for the next words; the silence is like a slap in the face with a piano… deadly…

Treacherous interviews stay with us for eternity, and we always cringe at the thought of another one on one setting. So, can we avoid it?

Well actually, no. Not really; according to our bodies. To say it simply, nerves are an irrevocable natural response to a situation you don’t like. Our nerves are a product of the Adrenal Gland, that sits just above our Kidneys; the gland a complex structure that secretes a diverse range of essential hormones, one of them being a little devil called adrenaline: the very thing that causes our responses to tricky situations. In other words, the trigger of awfully embarrassing oceans of sweat and sudden instants of incoherent speech.

Now this is not very assuring and perhaps, ironically, a little nerve-wracking. In fact, you might be seeping sweat right now. But take a moment because the key to nervousness is but a few words ahead from hereon. Think of nerves like a wild animal. At first, it is unpredictable but ultimately, it is tameable. The initially unforgiving glint to its sharp canines are not permanent. Those canines are in reality, little ‘toothy-pegs’ that can hardly pierce a marshmallow. And the difference is in these three achievable tips:

Have you ever cursed the name of that one girl who’s smile shouts “I am the best!”, her stride revealing nothing but utter self-assurance? Her secret? Use the principle of mind over matter. Visualising your end goal is one of the most effective methods for self-encouragement. Imagine the entire scenario; the sensation of success, the satisfaction of welcome and of course, achievement. You know how you have always wanted those rock-hard abs you see in magazines? As it turns out, motivation is one of the most essential keys to achieving the body you wanted and achieving, basically, anything you want in life… including this job. Do yourself a favour and earn a free ticket to your destination; focus on your end goal and receive the recipe to softening the jagged canines of nervousness.

Secondly; be realistic. Are you really going to fall and accidentally punch your potential boss? Calm down Silly Sally, he is across the room. But really? What is the worst that can happen? They don’t give you the job? Keep in mind that for every problem is a solution. There are other jobs, Sally.

And finally, relieve yourself through preparation. Break those awkward silences by rehearsing responses beforehand; refer to our Interview Simulator for tips and tricks and an opportunity to develop professional - let alone, intelligible, answers. Weirdly enough, your physical state is actually an important part of your mental condition. Clear and prepare your mind by getting around 9 hours’ sleep (the recommended quantity for growing teens and adults) and engage in regular exercise.

Suit up, use mind over matter, stick to rationality and prepare. Nervousness is unforgiving and seemingly invincible, but apparently, nervousness is like that that little dog that challenges Great Danes down the street. Overrated.

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