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Nervousness: How to Overcome it

06 Nov 2020 |

By Felicity Ambler


For most of us, interviews can be an extremely nerve-wrecking experience and can induce a feeling of panic, even at the best of times. However, with the current pandemic it is hard not to feel an extra dose of nerves before an interview, especially with the added stress of virtual interviews often being something many of us are not well practiced in. Below we discuss the VWA team’s top tips on how to overcome nerves, and even utilise them to your advantage.

1. Prepare Yourself

It is so important to prepare yourself ahead of time - good preparation will make you feel more in control and in the know immediately, and therefore less nervous. If you have a job description, or if you’ve been briefed on what the client is specifically looking for, think about how to tailor your answers to highlight your experience and strengths with this in mind. Remember to use the STAR technique and prepare some classic interview questions using this technique to make sure you are talking through your examples in a comprehensive and impressive way. Most importantly make sure you do this prep ahead of time so that you are not stressing yourself out last minute!

2. Find Your Best Positioning

One benefit of most interviews now taking place virtually is that you feel comfortable in your own home. You have the advantage of being able to position yourself in the right chair in a setting that you are familiar with. Do make sure that your interview spot is in a quiet place, ideally has a white background and has your face and torso positioned square on camera. If you’re using a phone to conduct the interview, make sure you have it propped up and you’re not holding it and moving it unnecessarily. During the interview make sure to look into the camera as eye contact will make you appear confident, even if on the inside you’re struggling with nerves.

3. Remember: Nerves Are There For a Reason

It’s important to realise and remember that nerves can be a good thing. It’s something we’ve all heard before but why? If you are able to leverage your feeling of nervousness, and not get crippled by it, you will have an engaged brain and heightened senses, allowing for you to make connections quicker and perform better due to the adrenaline produced. If you appear too calm, it can seem like you are not particularly interested in the outcome of the interview and the whole thing can become a disadvantage – you don’t want to appear ambivalent!

4. Break The Ice

There is no harm in telling your interviewer that you are feeling nervous. Nerves are a natural human response to a pressured situation, and your interviewer will have been in your situation many times before. Sometimes addressing the problem can help the nerves to disappear and suddenly seem manageable.

5. Listen and Breathe - Out!

When we are feeling stressed or fearful, a common side effect is that we struggle to listen properly, which can result in not answering the right question. To best avoid this, slow down. Take a few breaths, focus on breathing out slowly. This activates your vagus nerve which helps with calming yourself down. Before answering the question, you can repeat it back to the interviewer to make sure you’ve understood it correctly - although make sure not to do this every question!

6. Be Yourself, Enjoy Yourself

Sometimes it can be tempting to hide behind over-formality, but if you maintain your personality and sense of self you, not only will you come across more authentically and unique, it can often result in you feeling more relaxed and confident throughout the interview. You won´t be having to think about how "someone else" would respond to a question as well as everything else. Make sure you use words that are in your normal vocabulary (minus profanities!) and don’t over complicate your answers with words you wouldn’t usually use. Try to relax and mirror your interviewer´s body language - something that might happen naturally.

7. And finally: have faith!

Believe in yourself and have faith - there is a reason why you have been brought forward for interview. If you’ve gone through a recruiter, they’ve selected to send your CV forward from a number of candidates interested for a reason. After that the client has then selected your CV for an interview that will take time out of their busy day, so have faith that you’re there for a reason. The work experience and life experience you have has got you to this point, so give yourself credit and believe in yourself.

You can also always rely on us, your recruitment consultants, to coach and support you ahead of your interview. The team is always here to help and want you to succeed in every interview, so share your stress with us and we will turn it into success.

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