| Angela Ward

6 Mindset Shifts That Will Help You Before, During and After the Big Interview

The day of the interview has come.

You wake up bright and early, ready to face the day and impress the interview panel.

Despite your confidence, your stomach twists with nervous knots and worries linger in the back of your mind.

What if I freeze on a curve ball question?

Will they like me?

What if I’m not qualified enough?

Feeling nervous before an interview is normal. Interviews can be stressful situations but you don't have to let that stress control you.

Like any skill, interviewing is an ability that can be developed through practice and preparation. 

Here are 6 ways to tackle your nerves before, during and after the interview: 

Prepare but don’t over prepare 

It’s good to research the company, review the job description and practice your answers beforehand.

However, you don't want to overdo it to the point where you're coming across as robotic and rehearsed. An employer not only wants to know about your experiences and achievements, but they also want to know you. Letting your personality shine will help you build rapport with employers and make a personal connection. This is equally as important as showcasing your ability to do the job.

It's good to know the heart of your answers-- the main points--but not every single detail. Format your answers along the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) technique but keep your answers clear, concise and compelling.

Leave room for some spontaneity in your answers, don’t follow your notes word by word. When you’re present in the moment, it's easier to inject enthusiasm and a natural ease into your presentation, showing your interviewers your true self and turning your answers more into stories rather than tightly structured answers.

Remember that employers are also evaluating your soft skills and assessing how well they’d think you fit in with their team and company. Let them see your professionalism but also your authenticity.

And always look up directions, have company contact information with you (in case you run late or there's traffic delaying you), give yourself plenty of time, and find a nearby cafe if you're early and have to wait for the interview time.

If you're organized and prepared, you'll exude a confident, calm demeanour and interviewers love to see that in a candidate.

Think of it like a social event

It helps to think of interviews as a social event.

When you think about it, you’re going in to meet with them to have a chat about who you are and how you can contribute their company.

They were interested enough in your cover letter and resume to invite you in, so remember that you have valuable skills and talent to bring to the table. 

Keep in mind that they're not only interviewing you, you’re also interviewing them. It’s just as important for a company to be a good fit for you. Approaching interviews in this way evens out the playing field, putting the power back in your hands. 

Respond to negative thoughts with positive ones 

It’s natural to have doubts and fears swirling around in your mind but don’t feed into them.

Tell yourself that you’re qualified, capable and smart. You’ve been selected for a reason. Even if you don’t get the job or go through to the next round of interviews, you’ve still been successful just by virtue of being selected for an interview. An interview is a great opportunity to learn and become even better next time around. 

If you're struggling with negative thoughts, just let them come but don't dwell on them. Acknowledge that those thoughts are there but don't fight them. Turn that negative thought on its head and spin it in a positive way. You'll train your mind to move toward more positive thinking.

Remember to smile and have fun 

An interview? Fun? 

Yes, interviews can be fun! I’ve gone to many interviews where the interviewers made me feel very much at ease by laughing and joking with me. It’s okay to inject humour into your answers, where appropriate. Always conduct yourself in a professional and polite manner but don’t be afraid to show a little of your humour too. It helps to read the mood of the interviewers before deciding on humour. If it's more serious and professional, mirror their style. If it's easygoing and fun, show that side of yourself.

If making jokes doesn’t come as easily to you, just remember that a smile can go a long way. It exudes friendliness and positivity. If you do this, your interviewers will remember you as someone personable and engaging. As with humour, don’t overdo smiling either. You want your tone and facial expressions to match the subject of what you’re discussing. 

Focus on your answers, not on your nerves 

While fear can be overwhelming--sweaty palms, pounding heart, a flutter in your stomach--you don’t have to let it control you.

Take a deep breath, smile and concentrate your energy on delivering the best and most authentic presentation of yourself to your interviewers. 

Think of yourself as an expert in your field, and how you can help the company save money, time or improve its processes. Turn the focus on them and not on yourself.

If you focus on how nervous you feel, you might distract yourself from your main goal, which is to convince the interviewers why you’re the best person for the job. 

Don't see this interview as your only chance

When you're searching and interviewing for jobs it's important to remember that you have to keep moving. Don't stop looking for and applying for other jobs when you've landed interviews. Even if you think you've done a great interview and impressed the interview panel, it's not a done deal yet.

It's good to review your answers after the interview but don't become too preoccupied with that and what you think you could have done better. Give yourself a much-needed break.

If you don't get the job, go easy on yourself and be proud of yourself for getting that far.

There will be more opportunities and more interviews.

See every interview as a learning opportunity.

This will help you view interviews in the future much more positively.

So the goal is…

Prepare but don’t overdo it. Think of it as a social meetup. Think positively. Smile and have fun. Don’t let your nerves overwhelm you. See every interview as a learning opportunity.

How do you tackle interview nerves? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. We’re just as much inspired by you, as you are by Eve & Elle.

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So both in our 30's, with exciting careers including fast track to CEO positions, we met at RSM Business School during our MBA in The Netherlands. 

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