How to handle Interview Nerves

What are interview nerves?

It is not uncommon for totally competent candidates to “lose it” in the interview. All of a sudden the mouth dries up, the mind goes blank and you are certain that you are saying all the wrong things. There are few of us who haven’t been in this position at one time or another in our lives, when nerves seem to take over.

Interview nerves are primarily about fear: that we won’t do well or that we will fail. These fears can become a self fulfilling prophecy.

We fear we will fail,

because we fear we won’t perform well,

which causes us to be anxious,

which leads us to underperform......

.............which leads to failure.

One of the biggest problems with the interview process is its tendency to make people nervous. Nervous candidates don’t answer questions to their potential, and they don’t project the right impression. Both of which are damaging to the chances of success.

Everyone feels them

Going for a job interview is a big deal. So, it’s only natural to feel nerves. The real trick is how you deal with them.

Sometimes nerves can lead us to perform better, for example in sports when the adrenalin rush we get can be put to good use. However in the interview scenario the “fight or flight” mechanism is redundant. After all, starting a punch up or running away from the interviewer will do nothing for your chances of scoring the job.

“Courage is not the lack of fear. It is acting in spite of it”

(Mark Twain)

Your job is to control your nervous energy and focus on giving a great interview. The better interviewees are those who can do this consistently. Its not that they don’t feel nervous, just that they are able to cope with it. You can do this too.

This is how:

Interview preparation

The biggest antidote to nerves is preparation, knowing what to expect and having confidence in a successful outcome. As you prepare your nerves will give way to a newfound confidence.


What if you knew what the interviewer was looking for, and you were able to plan for how to deliver it? A little research to get the right job interview information will go a long way.

For more on job interview information – click here Know your enemy

Ok, so most of us aren’t used to interviewing. Even the idea can be so stressful that some people never try to move forward in their careers. The comfort zone can be a great big trap – but you can learn the skills to escape it.

What is important first and foremost is to learn to move beyond your fears about interviews. The antidote to fear is understanding. Explore this site and absorb it. As you learn about the interview process you’ll realise that in fact the interview isn’t your enemy at all.

Practice, practice, practice

Practice makes perfect. If you’ve rehearsed a situation you will find it much easier going through the real thing. Practice sample interview questions, think about how you will put together your answers. Practice your interview presentation, practice tough interview questions, practice your entrance, practice……ok, you probably get the picture.

Develop your confidence

Confidence defeats nerves. But you have to earn the right to be confident, by being ready. Use the tools on this site, and do the work you need to do to make sure that you are.

For more on developing interview confidence – click here

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