Nerves at interview

I've got an interview coming up and I have to make a short presentation about why I'm a good choice for the job. I'm okay with interviews generally, but I get really nervous when it gets even more formal and I'm more exposed on something like giving a presentation. Does anyone know anything that might help me? Magic bullets welcome!

Hello Gillie,

If it's any consolation, very many people feel the same way. There is no magic bullet I'm afraid BUT there are some very effective things you can do which will build your confidence and loosen the grip that adrenalin can sometimes get. Try these 5 steps:

  1. Firstly, accept that some nerves are very useful to you because you can channel that sense of fear into higher motivation and improved performance. Without them, you risk being too laid back and relaxed, presenting yourself as insufficiently committed.
  2. Familiarity breeds contempt - accept also that frequency of performing in front of people plays a big part in your subconscious deciding that it can control the nerves to a useful and manageable level, or not. Believe that if you do it often enough, you will conquer the nerves. So, rehearsal is also the key - this will strongly build your confidence. Do it as often as possible.
  3. Ask yourself two questions - "Is what I've got to say valuable and are the people who're hearing it receptive?" The answer to both is obviously 'yes' because you wouldn't have been invited in if you were'nt already in the frame. Use that to bolster you confidence.
  4. Use the ABC technique: 'A': Attend a meeting, not an interview. It reduces the pressure. 'B': Be an actor. Think of playing a part for a while. Imagine that any criticism will be for that character, not for you. 'C': See a benefit. Think about why you're doing this and what you hope to achieve for yourself, just before you go in. Here's a link to more detail on this - ABC technique
  5. Breathe! Breathe strongly and really deeply in a steady way for about a minute (or as long as you can) just before going in - it really helps to burn up that adrenalin. Also do it if you suddenly find adrenalin kicking in during an interview.

All of those will help you, especially if taken together and with belief and determination. If others can do it, why not you?

I wish you the best of luck - Go for it! Let me know how it goes.



By Jon Gregory