You’ve researched the company and rehearsed your answers to all of the most common interview questions. You’ve got some questions for the interviewer keyed up (always have questions!) and have even packed your running shoes, just in case. But despite knowing you’re prepared and have totally got this, it’s normal to still be nervous for a job interview. No one likes being judged, especially when so much rides on the outcome.
Try to remember: If a potential employer has already sifted through a stack of resumes, called you for a phone screener, and then invited you in for an interview, it means you’re qualified. But knowing you’re a good candidate isn’t always enough to quell the butterflies, sweaty palms, and cracking voice.
I spoke with experts for tips on how to exude confidence and land the job—even if you feel like a bundle of nerves.
Keep scrolling for expert-approved tips for staying Zen during a job interview.
Imagine the interview going well to increase your confidence before you set foot in the room. Carolyn Birsky, founder of the Massachusetts-based career coaching company Compass Maven, recommends taking 10 minutes to close your eyes and run-through the interview. “Envision yourself speaking confidently, having fantastic answers to their questions, and asking informed questions yourself. Envision yourself remaining calm and showing your authentic self. Envision yourself moving on to the next round or getting an offer if it’s the final round,” she says.
Walk through every detail of how you want the interview to go and how you want to feel. “Spend less time stressing and go into it with a more positive mindset,” says Birsky.
Create a mantra for yourself
Think of a mantra that you can silently repeat if you get nervous during the interview. It could be something like, “I am calm,” or “I am confident,” or even “I’ll impress them,” says Birsky, noting that your mantra should always be in the present tense. “Structuring your mantra like this helps your brain and body to internalize it as true in the present moment, even if you don’t feel calm in the moment,” she says. Your body will catch up.
Practice deep, mindful breathing
There’s a reason people say to take a deep breath when you’re feeling overwhelmed—it works! Arrive at the interview location early and take a few minutes to do this simple breathing exercise before it’s game time, says Nancy Range Anderson, a career coach and founder of the New Jersey-based coaching company Blackbird Learning Associates.
Place a hand on your lower stomach, inhale deeply through your nose, feel your stomach rise, and exhale through your mouth. Anderson recommends counting to three during each inhale and exhale or silently saying the words “I am” with each inhale and “confident” which each exhale. (I’ve started doing this every day, TBH.)
Give your acupuncture points some TLC
You don’t need to pay your acupuncturist a visit to benefit from from the practice. Anderson suggests rubbing the third eye between your eyebrows as well as your ears and earlobes for a few minutes before the interview. Doing so will decrease stress and help you to feel more relaxed, she says.
Focus on your body language
Body language has the power of affecting both yourself and those around you. Your confidence goes up if you exude it physically, and if you appear self-assured to others, they will believe it. “Sitting up straight signals to you and the interviewer that you are engaged,” says Anderson.
Instead of sitting with crossed arms, which can signal insecurity or guardedness, keep your arms in your lap, says Logan Jones, PsyD. a New York City-based licensed clinical psychologist. “Take calming breaths to combat an awkward smile, sweaty hands, a trembly voice, or butterflies in your stomach,” Dr. Jones says. “Controlled breathing will help center you on the present.” Stay focused on the here and now, and you’ll be one step closer to the future you’ve always wanted.
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