Oh!! Those nerves: 6 ways to deal with nervousness at job interviews

“I get nervous when I don’t get nervous. If I am nervous, I know I am going to put on a good show” – Beyonce Knowles.

I have (like most people) experienced nervousness at one point or another. Especially when at a place or situation that needs you to create an impression to someone or group of people you are meeting for the first time.

The feeling encountered takes on many forms. It could be a rumbling stomach, sweaty palms, distorted speech, temporary memory loss, shaky feet, rambling, fear, unable to smile, dry mouth, heart beats too fast, breathing issues and some form of tiredness to some.

Nervousness can affect the most confident and prepared person. Dealing with it takes awareness of the likely symptoms and an understanding of how to mange them so that it does not get the better of you.

Try this 6 tips to overcome the nerves

1. Prepare

A lot of what we do centers on preparedness, and an interview process isn’t left out. Take the time to practice and organize your thoughts. You can role play with a friend/partner/expert, research on the role, company, job description, practice your answers to likely questions.

You should also note down key talking points as well. Think of it this way – if you study for an exam to pass it, why do you think studying to ace an interview isn’t necessary?

2. Pause

Interviews are what they are. Have the understanding that you are in a conversation to show your eligibility for that role. And when you find yourself forgetting what was asked or you have no idea what the answer may be, because the nerves have kicked in,  just pause.

Take a minute to think things through and collect your thoughts before launching in again to answer the questions.

3. Please, breath! 

I mean this literally. Shortness of breath can also be from trying to hold your breath in so that you can just rush out those words. This can make you get more agitated.

We need you alive after the interview so please breath in and out while taking the time to respond. If you are offered a glass of water, accept it. You may need it if you experience dry mouth.

4. Ask the question again

This is a statement you should get used to. Do not feel it is a crime to request that the interviewer repeats him or herself. It does not make you look or sound dumb.

For clarity purposes, ask for the question again especially if you know you did not understand it at first. It is better to do this than to assume and ramble on or talk off the mark.

5. Your arrival matters

Following on from point number 1, get yourself ready and check you have the exact location for the interview. Have the appropriate wardrobe and grooming you need to appear presentable.

You need to have details of the office phone number (in case you need to ring in for an emergency), the method of interview, time zones (where applicable), the job/role information on who you are to meet.

Aim to arrive 10-15 mins early so that you can relax, calm down, have a chit-chat with those you see at the building or simply collect your thoughts.

6. Take notes

Summarise and note down at least 5 things you need the interviewer to know about you. List any questions you may have that needs more clarity, jot down points as they answer your questions.

This points back to preparation.

Remember that interviews are an evaluation of your suitability for that role/job at that particular point in time.

Many factors inform the decision of the recruiter so never exit an interview feeling like a failure and always put in your best at all times.


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What is your next employer looking for?

Employers have a certain type of candidate they need to join their organization. Opportunities will open up, and you will be among those seeking (and eventually chosen) for that role.

This article shares what the employer is looking for as well extra tips on what you also need to avoid or stop doing if you want to enjoy a fulfilling career.


Reliability, dependability, and trustworthiness

To succeed in your career, you need to be trustworthy. Your boss, team members, and other colleagues can depend on you to carry out agreed tasks and keep your word. You need to be a reliable member of the team. Those are the ones that get recognized and get to higher heights in their careers.

Listening

Communication as an essential skill cannot be overemphasized. Unfortunately, listening is a challenge for most people. Learn to listen attentively and go a step further to ask questions and clarify statements or comments so that you avoid making mistakes in the long run.

Do not assume that you heard one thing and then do the other. That is a career stumbling block right there. Try and re-iterate what needs to be said enough to make sure you are sure about what you have interpreted.

Know your onions

Make sure you have the ability to actually carry out the job you’ve been employed to do. No distractions or time wasting on tasks.

Let your wardrobe SLAY

Depending on the type of job it is, wardrobe co-ordination is very essential. Your day at work should be a day you can easily create a professional impression. Get your outfits suitable enough to show that you are ready, qualified and happy to be given an opportunity at the company.

I suggest you do smart and professional dressing in your first few weeks until you settle into your role and the organization’s culture.

Always be punctual

Being punctual is essential. From your work start time, to your work prioritization, you need to eliminate all forms of “African time”. Click To Tweet

Know your key strengths

You have a gift. Call it talent, skill or passion. Just know you have a gift. Figure out what it is. It is also identified as your key strength. You already have it. It may take time to discover but you will and can discover them.

Develop and learn from others

The interesting thing is that you can always find a person who also identifies with your strength and has done more in developing this key attribute.

That is why we have mentors or coaches and role models. You should have an attitude that is willing to learn. Your attitude to learning from others will determine your acceleration.

Take personal responsibility

You are what you create. Make decisions and stand by the consequences of them. Click To Tweet

Kill that entitlement mindset that blames everyone but yourself. Determine to not only grow but to also be the one going to make sure you definitely grow.

Below are some habits that employees need to really avoid.

All employers aren’t the same but you can be an exceptional employee and that attitude will take you higher. Click To Tweet 

I recommend this to everyone looking to attain a higher impact in their chosen field.

1. Taking all the credit

Working as part of a team means everyone contributes their own quota to the success of a task, goal or project. Do not take credit for anything you do. Even when you work alone on a project, it will be obvious what your contributions are but even in that, you still would have needed some input or help from someone other than yourself.

Avoid taking credit that you don’t deserve and over-estimate your participation to the achievement of a goal.

2. Talking down on others

It is totally wrong to speak to a colleague in a derogatory manner. It makes you project yourself negatively and gives off the impression that you lack confidence and possess low self-esteem.

Avoid the urge to speak of or join in, to destroy a colleague’s work reputation. It’s an epic no for your career success.

3. Expressing anger at work

To be in a position of leadership is not a walk in the park. Expression of emotions especially anger is a skill that needs mastery. No one is entitled to use anger to intimidate or communicate at work. It is not a management or leadership tool. To ensure you enjoy a successful career, do not wear your emotions on your sleeves and express emotions when you need to and appropriately.

4. Negative Personality

Another career stall is one who has a negative personality. Everything about you is negative and distasteful. Nothing good comes from your conversations, you always have negativity and spread it to anyone around you. Your contributions are always negative, your output negative, your impression or comments about colleagues are also negative. The outcome is disastrous to your career success.

5. Inability to take responsibility for actions

Avoid the need to point fingers and blame everything and everyone for the mistake or gap. It is going to stall your career if you are unable to own up to it. When you lead a team, you, as the lead, are responsible for the success or failure. Do not pass on the buck but stand tall, admit the wrong, learn, adjust and move on.

6. Hoarding Information

Withholding information from your colleagues so that you can be in competition or at an advantage over them is not a criteria for a successful career.

It shows you are not a team player neither are you a candidate for getting into higher leadership positions. Information is to be shared, not kept as a secret weapon.


What key lessons have you learned as an employee or an employer? Share your experience with us here.