INTERVIEWS / APR. 16, 2014
version 3, draft 3

How to Overcome First Interview Fear

Stage fright seizes everyone at some time, no matter how small the "stage" may be. If you feel the jitters as you go in for your first interview, you're just like millions of others. It's just first-time nerves, and you'll find that things get better as you go.
How can you deal with and overcome those nerves so you can nail the interview?

1.  Be Comfortable

If you're wearing hot, tight, or stuffy clothing, you're going to find that the interview is FAR worse than you would expect. Remember that every sensation is multiplied when you're nervous, and you'll be sweating, itchy, and suffocating. Wear clothes that are comfortable when you go in for your interview, and it's one less thing to worry about.

2. Prepare

What's the only way to do something well? Repeat it over and over again until you've committed it to memory. Sit down with a friend or family member, and practice your interview again and again until it feels natural. If you have prepared ahead of time, you'll find it's so much easier when you actually sit down for the real deal.

3. Act at Ease

Ever heard the expression "fake it till you make it"? In this case, that's what you should be doing! Pretend that you are relaxed and at ease in the interview, and speak slowly and calmly like you're comfortable in the situation. Before you know it, you really will be.

4. Breathe

If you've ever seen an actor or guest speaker prepare to go up on stage, you'll find that their routines involve a lot of deep breathing. Breathing deeply helps to oxygenate your brain, and eliminates a lot of the stress that comes with an interview. Take a few minutes before you are called in for the interview to breathe deeply and center yourself.

5. Gauge Your Interviewer

Remember that the other person may be a bit nervous about meeting you for the first time too. When you meet the interviewer, shake their hand firmly, and spend a moment sizing them up. Match your energy to theirs, and get to know them as much as you can as you start the interview. The more familiar you are with someone, the less nervous you will be.

6. Ask Questions

Always have a couple of questions prepared before you go into the interview. Even something as simple as "What did you think of (sporting event or big piece of news)?" will be perfect. Asking questions helps to shift the focus from you, and therefore sets you at ease.

7. Relax

Even if you have to force it, relax. Sit back, with your shoulders comfortable, your hands folded, and your legs uncrossed. Make sure that your posture is attentive, but at ease. You don't want to slouch, but you don't want to sit so straight that your back muscles clench.

8. Chew gum

Definitely DO NOT chew gum during your interview, but chew it in the minutes leading up to the big moment. You'll find that it helps to relieve tension, and gives your body an outlet for all of your nervous energy. Spit it out in the minute or two before you are called in for the interview.

9. Smile

Did you know that smiling sends relaxing signals to the rest of your body? It tells your muscles to unclench, and eases the nervous tension that has your body taut as a violin string. Smiling will de-stress you like nothing else can!
These tips are incredibly simple, and yet supremely effective. Use them to help you conquer those first interview jitters.


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