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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How to Build your confidence in the legal profession

To succeed in the legal profession, confidence is key.

Whether it’s arguing an application in court, explaining to your boss why you should adopt an unorthodox approach in dealing with a client or trying to secure a client – confidence is needed to achieve success in the legal profession.

After practicing law for a while, you will have attained a certain level of confidence. The experiences you have gained in the field and the mistakes and lessons you have picked up will build your confidence.

However, a young lawyer who is just starting out in the field or who has little years of experience may struggle to gain the certain level of confidence needed to deliver results.

In my few years of practice, I have had to innovate and think of ways to build my confidence. Along the years I have picked up these 3 vital lessons:

Knowledge increases confidence and results in excellence Click To Tweet

Always be prepared

Over the years, I have come to realize that thorough preparation for any task or activity, has helped me in my few years of practice. Be it a client meeting, arguing an application in court, or going to trial and so on.

When you are thoroughly prepared to carry out a certain task, you will have the confidence to convey your point or secure a client regardless of how apprehensive you naturally are or unexpected twists that occur when carrying out the task.

For instance, if you are arguing an application in court, or pitching an idea to your boss or trying to secure a client in a novel filed that you have no real practical experience in, it is advised that you prepare extensively.

This will involve reading and practice your arguments, cases, studying in depth and any other relevant information.

Imagine you are having a conversation with your friend

I had a conversation with my boss with respect to building my confidence when addressing a Judge in court and one of the key points he told me that has stuck with me all these years is “to imagine you are having a conversation with your friend”.

I personally think this is an off-shoot of the first point discussed above.

If you’ve done your homework, it should not be difficult to convey your submissions or points. However, if the client or the Judge may be cantankerous or erratic, you would probably have some fear when addressing them.

One way to deal with this is to imagine that the person in question is your friend. Think of how you would explain the case or hold a regular argument with your friend.

This attitude will help relieve whatever fear or apprehension you have. You later realize that your points come across much more clearer and eloquently. Also, it will help you deal with whatever unexpected questions you are asked.

Believe in yourself

This is the most important point. If you are well prepared but don’t believe in yourself, it will show! The impression you will create is that you are actually not well prepared.

Take for example you are scheduled to argue an application for an injunction in court. You have studied your client’s case well and the relevant law on an injunction. If you aren’t confident and the Judge interrupts you questioning, “Why should the Court grant your Client this injunction”? Your thoughts will be jumbled up and you may end up confusing the judge.

The truth is you probably know the answer to this. You just need to apply the law to the facts explain how the law favors your client. However, if you do not believe in yourself, you may begin to overthink the question being asked. Then you’ll start talking too much till you go off point.

In summary, you have to believe in your self and your case. Even when you have a bad day or have received a bad review!  Naturally, when such events occur, your morale is down and you lose all motivation to continue working hard.

If you believe in yourself, you should not let this affect your productivity. Instead, you should use such negative comments to fuel your energy and motivate you to perform better.


Do you have career tips on how to build confidence in a given industry? Let us know here.

Interview Prep Sheet

Your resume was on point. Your cover letter showed them how passionate you are for the job. You passed the screening call. Now all you have to do is ace the interview to get that dream job right?

The interview is where so many people stumble and lose out on the job of their dreams. Those of us who are good public speakers think we can just run up in there and say whatever comes to our minds. Those of us who are a bit more reserved have a hard time coming up with the right answers to questions even though we know what to say.

So how can you avoid missing out on a great opportunity due to silly interview mistakes? PRACTICE! PRACTICE! PRACTICE!

Yep, we’re talking about practice. Not the actual interview, but practice. The best way to succeed in an interview is to do the work beforehand so you know your story top to bottom and can effectively communicate that to the hiring manager. We don’t want to see you answering questions like this:

Job Interview Meme

Girl bye. Like good bye and don’t come back again until you get your life.

Since you’re a smart woman and those smarts brought you to this page we know you’re ready to get started on some serious interview prep. The SLA Interview Prep Sheet will give you a checklist of top questions to think about in advance of your next interview and the space to work on what your top answers should be.


So how do you download this prep sheet? Easy –  just fill out the form below to join our community and get access to this guide and AWESOME weekly content.