Nerves are a normal part of any interview. Preparation helps, but the truth is if those butterflies are in full flight, being well prepared only does so much – so what other actions can you take to calm your farm?
Here are a list of options you can peruse and apply in the lead up to your interview to settle the jitters.
1. Listen to music. Music has been shown to impact our moods and can act as a relaxation tool depending on the track you choose. According to a study done by UK neuroscientists, participants had a 65% reduction in overall anxiety when listening to “Weightless,” by Marconi Union which was created with unique harmonies and beats that slow your heart rate, reduce blood pressure and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Alternatively, if you need to lift your energy, find your favourite track as a teenager, and rock it out.
2. Get outside in nature. Nature soothes the soul. In one study scientists compared the brain activity of healthy people after they walked for 90 minutes outside in nature versus in a city setting. The people who completed the walk in nature showed reduced activity in the prefrontal cortex – a key area contributing to negative thoughts. Another study, compared older study participants reading indoors after a stressful activity to those gardening for 30 minutes. The gardeners had reduced stress hormone (Cortisol) and were in better mood. Find your own favourite nature activity for a dose of green-inspired relaxation.
3. Pat your pets. Another great excuse to get up close with your furry pals. People who spend time playing with their pets have been shown to have higher levels of serotonin and dopamine. According to Meg Olmert, when you pat your dog your heart rate and blood pressure reduces and you release oxytocin, adrenaline, and serotonin – all helping to calm and relax you.
4. Watch a comedy skit. Everyone knows the great feeling you get after a huge belly laugh. Laughter increases oxygen to the lungs and improves blood flow to lungs, heart and muscles. According to science a good laugh can ease physical tension and relax the muscles for up to 45 minutes.
5. Review your resume achievements. It’s natural to worry you might bomb in the interview but the truth is this rarely happens. Most people perform well even if they don’t win the role, but that little voice is often there in our subconscious feeding our worries and telling us we are not good enough. Cognitive restructuring is a tool for challenging the automatic thoughts that may be associated with stress. Instead of simply accepting our thoughts as truth, we can challenge them by looking for contradictory evidence. Revising your resume achievements can be helpful as a reminder of what you offer potential hirers. You may also like to write down any worrying thoughts and reframe them with evidence. Instead of I’m feeling nervous, you may say “I’m feeling pumped for the interview” or instead of “I’m going to have a mental blank” – you might say “I’m prepared and armed with a range of achievement stories that know I can apply to different questions”.
6. Jump your jitters out. Exercise burns off stress. A super simple way of reducing nerves is simply to hit the exercise mat – jumping jacks, a run, the exercise bike or whatever takes your fancy. Exercise drops stress hormones and enhances neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine, which are known to quicken information processing.
If you want more tips on how you can kick your interview nerves, check out these 5 simple tips. Remember, nerves are a natural response created by the body to enhance your reactions in challenging situations. Accept them as part of your body’s way of helping you give a super performance.
Need help to feel completely confident in your next interview? Speak to our expert Interview Coaches at The Career Agency about individual performance coaching and take it to the next level.